France·October 11 - 17 2024

The Châteaux, Gardens & Wines of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is legendary for its magnificent chateaux, gorgeous gardens, charming villages, incomparable wine and regional cuisine.

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Overview

If it's French splendor, style, and gastronomy you seek, the Loire Valley will surpass all your expectations. Beyond visiting iconic chateaux like Blois, Chambord, and Chenonceau, we’ll explore historic towns, enchanting villages, and gardens more beautiful than you could imagine. We're in France, so no trip would be complete without stops to savor spring produce and the spectacular wines produced here. Chinon’s Cabernet Franc is among our founder’s favorites. Sancerre and Vouvray are world-renowned. Plus, you’ll discover light reds such as Saumur Champigny, which marries perfectly with fish or can be enjoyed chilled in summer. October is an ideal time to visit the Loire Valley - 65 °F (18 °C) during the day and 50 °F (10 °C) at night, with low humidity.

Highlights

Wander the legendary terraced gardens of Villandry.

Wander the legendary terraced gardens of Villandry.

Tour a Chinon chateau estate and sample its wines

Tour a Chinon chateau estate and sample its wines

Wake up in a vast enclosed park overlooking magnificent Chambord, France’s largest Renaissance chateau

Wake up in a vast enclosed park overlooking magnificent Chambord, France’s largest Renaissance chateau

Treasure hunt at the Loire’s premiere flea market in one of its

Treasure hunt at the Loire’s premiere flea market in one of its "Plus Beaux Villages"

Discover the contemporary art installations and international garden festival at Domaine de Chaumont

Discover the contemporary art installations and international garden festival at Domaine de Chaumont

Experience Chenonceau, the most romantic chateau and learn about its female-focused history

Experience Chenonceau, the most romantic chateau and learn about its female-focused history

Visit a 1000-year-old Royal Abbey with a new modern art museum

Visit a 1000-year-old Royal Abbey with a new modern art museum

Explore the Royal City of Blois while shopping its chic boutiques

Explore the Royal City of Blois while shopping its chic boutiques

Itinerary

Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip

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Paris

Day 0: Thursday, October 10th, 2024

The trip officially starts tomorrow, October 11, but If you're flying overnight to get to Paris, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to rest, relax and get acclimated to the local time. There's an option for Arrive 1 Day Early in the add-ons section. 

Either way, you should fly into Paris (Charles de Gaulle or Orly Airport). If you're arriving a day early, grab a taxi at the airport (they are clean, plentiful and safe) and have him whisk you to the Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs in the 6th arrondissement.

Enjoy a stroll through the beautiful streets of Paris, sit in a cafe and watch the people, stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens - there's so much to do!


chateauvillandry

Day 1: Friday, October 11th, 2024

We'll meet together in the lobby of the Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs and take a short (5 min) taxi ride to Gare Montparnasse where we'll catch a 09:57am train to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours) - about an hour from Paris. Don't worry about booking the train. We'll take care of that for you. If you are arriving in Paris today, please arrive no later than 8:00 am.

Our Loire adventure begins with a gastronomic lunch at  Pom'Poire, a rural auberge nestled in an apple orchard. Young chef Bastien Gillet, has a Michelin Star for his sustainable, locally sourced cuisine. Next, we'll discover Château de Villandry - famous for its six magnificent gardens, including intricate Renaissance ornamental flower gardens and incomparable vegetable gardens. It’s truly magical.

We'll then head to “the pearl of Anjou” – the lovely town of Saumur founded in 845. We'll check into our hotel - Anne d’Anjou - . overlooking the Loire in the historic center.

After free time to unwind or stroll along the quay, we’ll convene for a sparkling welcome toast, followed by dinner at l’Essentiel, the adjoining bistronomique restaurant.

Included

Lunch

Dinner

Not Included

Breakfast

FontevraudAbbeykitchen

Day 2: Saturday, October 12th, 2024

Our morning begins with a tour of Saumur’s historic quarter and an organic market in Place Saint Pierre. We then drive east through the pastoral Anjou countryside to Fontevraud. Europe’s largest Abbey, dates back to the 11th Century. Run by a succession of abbesses, it played a pivotal role in French and European history and houses the tombs of Henry Plantagenet, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his son, Richard the Lionheart. The complex of buildings and courtyards have been exquisitely restored. The recent opening of a modern art museum confirms its reputation as a regional cultural center.

An afternoon private tour of a Chinon chateau estate winery begins with a casual buffet featuring regional specialties. Our host Sébastien’s family, has owned the chateau since 1636! He will guide us through the vineyards and wine cellar, explaining how the wines are crafted. Then, you'll taste the Chinon AOC cépages - from sparkling brut to chenin blanc and cabernet franc rouge. 

This evening, we’ll enjoy a cozy dinner at a wine-focused Saumur bistro.

We'll stay overnight at Anne d’Anjou.

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Wine Tasting

Not Included

Dinner

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Day 3: Sunday, October 13th, 2024

This morning, we’ll journey upriver to the Loire’s best flea market – Les Puces de Montsoreau. The market convenes on the 2nd Sunday of each month along the quay of one of Frances’s “Plus Beaux Villages.” The 30-year institution draws 80 dealers and crowds of “chineurs” to browse their treasures. We’ll have lunch amid Bourgeuil vineyards at Vincent Cuisinier de Campagne, a Michelin "green star" farm-to-table restaurant in a traditional winegrower’s house.  

Our afternoon destination is the beguiling town of Amboise, where we settle into the newly refurbished Le Manoir les Minimesan elegant 5-star hotel overlooking the Loire. Leonardo da Vinci lived in Amboise at the end of his life as a guest of Francois 1st at the Chateau du Clos Lucé, the king’s childhood home. We will stroll the historic pedestrian quarter and visit the fascinating Clos Lucé, dedicated to the Renaissance genius. Dinner tonight will be at your leisure in Amboise. 

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Not Included

Dinner

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Day 4: Monday, October 14th, 2024

Today, we’ll visit the fabled and enchanting Château of Chenonceau. Its history was intrinsically influenced by a succession of remarkable women, including iconic rivals Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers. The chateau’s furnishings, painting collection, and gardens are exceptional. We’ll begin with a flower-arranging demonstration by Jean-Francois Boucher, who has been honored as a meilleur ouvrier de France and is responsible for the château’s magnificent floral installations. 

We'll enjoy a casual lunch at the chateau’s informal eatery. French fries are finally on the menu! The afternoon is dedicated to immersion in French "l’art de vivre" at Le Clos de la Richardière, where you will learn about the diverse range of wines produced throughout the Loire Valley. Christophe Galland, founder of a renowned gourmet epicure in Amboise, will guide the tasting and share his extensive knowledge of the region’s appellations and gastronomic marvels.  

What better way to conclude the day than dining at La Cave, located in a cavernous limestone wine cellar on the banks of the Loire?  

Overnight Stay at Manoir les Minimes.

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Cookingschoolkitchengarden

Day 5: Tuesday, October 15th, 2024

We'll set off early for a highlight experience at the Grange aux Savoir Faire cooking school. Here, we'll prepare a healthy lunch of savory and sweet in-season cuisine made with fresh organic produce from their marvelous kitchen garden. 

The Loire’s hottest cultural ticket is our afternoon destination. Our tour of Domaine de Chaumont Arts and Nature Center begins in the furnished Renaissance chateau and stable complex filled with creations by major international contemporary artists. The visit continues with the garden festival, sculpture park, and permanent gardens created by leading horticultural designers.  

It's time to head to our hotel, Le Relais de Chambord, overlooking the majestic Château de Chambord, the region’s crown jewel. You’ll want to savor a cocktail on the terrace as the sun sets behind the chateau before we enjoy Sologne country cuisine in neighboring Bracieux.  

We stay overnight at Le Relais de Chambord.

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Cooking Class

Not Included

Lunch

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Day 6: Wednesday, October 16th, 2024

This morning, we’ll explore the imposing Château de Chambord, built by François I as a hunting lodge intended to awe rival monarchs with its sheer scale and the originality of its architectural features. We’ll also visit the chateau’s recently installed formal gardens.  

You will have the afternoon free to explore the Royal City of Blois, the Renaissance capital of France. After lunch on your own in this charming historic center, you can shop its chic boutiques for Loire mementos and original gifts or visit the château. 

Back at the Relais, we’ll have time to rest or enjoy the spa before a celebratory dinner at the hotel’s delightful restaurant, where we’ll toast the experiences and laughs we’ve had and lasting friendships made. 

Included

Breakfast

Dinner

Not Included

Lunch

SaumurLoireRiver

Day 7: Thursday, October 17th, 2024

After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll sadly have to say our goodbyes. We will return to Paris via TGV train from Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. If you are flying out today, please make sure your departure flight is in the evening.

Included

Breakfast

You'll Be Staying Here

Anne d’Anjou

Anne d’Anjou

Anne d’Anjou is close to the center of the city with view of the river or the castle above.

Le Manoir Les Minimes

Le Manoir Les Minimes

Manoir Les Minimes, a 5 stars hotel at the heart of the Châteaux de la Loire country, offers an unparalleled view of both the Château Royal and the Loire.

 Le Relais de Chambord

Le Relais de Chambord

Le Relais de Chambord is nestled amid an amazing 5440-acre estate. Click on the link, and you'll be WOWED! 

Hosts

Casey O’Brien Blondes

Casey O’Brien Blondes

This trip will be led by Casey O’Brien Blondes, a GG2P Colleague based in the Loire Valley since 1992. A dual-national and author of two travel and lifestyle books about France, Casey knows the Loire Valley, its history and vibrant culture intimately. Her insider connections offer a privileged entrée to this fabled region. Casey receives rave reviews from GG2P clients!  

Price

Private Room

Private Room

Everyone gets their own fabulous room!

FROM$7,535

Add Ons

Arrive on night early in Paris

Includes one night and breakfast at the Hotel Des Grands Voyageurs

PRICE$420.00

ADD THIS

Arrive one day early in the Loire Valley

Includes one night and breakfast at the Hotel Anne d' Anjou

PRICE$135.00

ADD THIS

The garden of France

The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is famous for its world-class wines. The Valley is laced with vineyards from Sancerre to the ocean, and it offers wines to suit every palate from sparkling vouvrays to vibrant Sancerres.

The Loire Valley

What's Included

What's Included

Everything stated in the itinerary above including all meals plus wine with dinner.

Lodging at 4* (or more) unique Hotels, Chateaux or Abbey’s

Welcome drinks

All guides, experts and entry fees

Roundtrip airfare to France

Any spa treatment desired

Any personal souvenirs or purchases.

Meals on your own

Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.

Travel and Medical Insurance (required)

FAQs

Fly into Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris and catch the train to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. We will tell you what take. Train and air fares are at a cost to you.

The trip officially starts on the afternoon of October 11th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Paris, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone before catching the train the next day. On our website we have a list of fabulous hotels in Paris under Hotels we love. If you have any questions or need help booking a hotel, please let us know.

We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.

October is an ideal time to visit the Loire Valley - 65 °F (18 °C) during the day and 50 °F (10 °C) at night, with low humidity. The average temperature is      58 °F.

This trip will be led by Casey O’Brien Blondes, a GG2P Colleague based in the Loire Valley since 1992. A dual-national and author of two travel and lifestyle books about France, Casey knows the Loire Valley, its history and vibrant culture intimately. Her insider connections offer a privileged entrée to this fabled region. Casey receives rave reviews from GG2P clients!  

Inquire about this trip

The Châteaux, Gardens & Wines of the Loire Valley

France· October 11 - 17 2024· 6 nights

FROM$7,535/pp