Loire Valley in 7 Days


LOIRE VALLEY

IN SEVEN DAYS

Enchanting Loire Valley: A 7-Day Tour of Majestic Châteaux, Historic Towns, and Premier Vineyards

Day 1: Arrival in Tours

Upon your arrival in Tours, the capital of the Loire Valley, take a moment to soak in the charm of this historic city. Check into your chosen accommodation and begin your exploration with a leisurely stroll through the old town. Marvel at the well-preserved medieval buildings lining the cobblestone streets, and don’t miss the iconic Place Plumereau, a picturesque square surrounded by timber-framed houses, perfect for sipping a coffee and people-watching.

In the afternoon, delve into the city’s rich cultural heritage with a visit to the Cathedral of Saint-Gatien. Admire its stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows, which date back to the 13th century. Nearby, the Musée des Beaux-Arts houses an impressive collection of art, including works by renowned artists such as Rubens, Delacroix, and Rembrandt.

As evening descends, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at one of Tours’ many excellent restaurants, where you can sample traditional Touraine cuisine. Be sure to try local specialties like “rillettes” (a type of pork pâté) and “tourteau fromager” (a unique goat cheese cake). Savor the flavors of the region accompanied by a glass of Loire Valley wine, and toast to the adventures that await you in the days ahead.

Day 2: Château de Villandry and Château de Langeais

Embark on a scenic drive through the rolling countryside to Château de Villandry, renowned for its magnificent Renaissance gardens. Upon arrival, wander through the meticulously manicured grounds, taking in the beauty of the ornamental flower gardens, aromatic herb gardens, and the iconic water garden with its serene ponds and fountains. Marvel at the symmetrical patterns and vibrant colors that make these gardens a true masterpiece of French horticulture.

After exploring Villandry, continue your journey to Château de Langeais, a medieval fortress steeped in history. Step back in time as you wander through the imposing keep and discover the furnished rooms, which offer a glimpse into daily life during the Middle Ages. Don’t miss the chance to stroll through the recreated medieval garden, where aromatic herbs and medicinal plants grow amidst ancient stone walls.

As the day draws to a close, return to Tours and unwind with a relaxing evening in the city. Whether you choose to dine at a cozy bistro or indulge in a wine tasting experience, take the time to savor the flavors of the Loire Valley and reflect on the memories you’ve made so far.

France Loire Chateau Villandry

Day 3: Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord

Venture deeper into the heart of the Loire Valley as you set out to explore two of its most iconic châteaux. Your first stop is Château de Chenonceau, often referred to as the “Ladies’ Château” due to the prominent women who shaped its history. Spanning the tranquil waters of the River Cher, this elegant castle is renowned for its graceful architecture and exquisite interiors. Marvel at the ornate furnishings, intricate tapestries, and priceless artworks that adorn the rooms as you wander through its hallowed halls.

After immersing yourself in the splendor of Chenonceau, journey onward to Château de Chambord, the largest château in the Loire Valley. This architectural marvel, with its distinctive French Renaissance style, is sure to leave you in awe. Explore the grandiose rooms, climb the double-helix staircase attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, and wander through the sprawling grounds, which are home to roaming deer and other wildlife.

As evening falls, return to Tours or your chosen accommodation for a well-deserved rest. Reflect on the beauty and grandeur of the châteaux you’ve visited today, and perhaps plan your next adventure over a delicious meal paired with a glass of local wine.

France Loire - Chateau Chambord

Day 4: Wine Tasting and Amboise

Immerse yourself in the rich viticultural heritage of the Loire Valley as you spend the day exploring its renowned wine-producing regions. Begin your journey with a visit to the vineyards around Vouvray, where you’ll have the opportunity to taste some of the finest wines the region has to offer. From crisp and refreshing whites to elegant sparkling varieties, there’s something to delight every palate. Learn about the winemaking process from knowledgeable vintners, and gain insight into the unique terroir that gives Loire Valley wines their distinct character.

After indulging in a leisurely wine tasting session, continue your exploration with a visit to the historic town of Amboise. Perched on the banks of the Loire River, this charming town is steeped in history and boasts a wealth of cultural attractions. Explore the royal Château d’Amboise, where French kings once resided, and pay your respects at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, where Leonardo da Vinci is buried.

As the day draws to a close, take some time to wander through the quaint streets of Amboise, soaking in its timeless beauty. Dine at one of the town’s inviting restaurants, where you can savor delicious regional cuisine paired with a glass of local wine. Relax and unwind as you reflect on the day’s adventures, surrounded by the tranquil ambiance of this enchanting town.

France Loire Amboise

Day 5: Château de Saumur

Embark on a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside to Château de Saumur, a majestic fortress perched high above the Loire River. As you approach the castle, marvel at its striking white façade and imposing towers, which offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Step inside to explore the castle’s rich history, from its origins as a medieval fortress to its later role as a prestigious residence for French nobility.

Wander through the elegantly furnished rooms, adorned with antique furniture, tapestries, and works of art that offer a glimpse into the castle’s illustrious past. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Musée des Blindés (tank museum) located within the castle grounds, where you can discover an impressive collection of armored vehicles from various periods of history.

After immersing yourself in the history of Château de Saumur, take some time to explore the charming town that lies at its feet. Stroll along the picturesque streets, browse the local shops for souvenirs, and perhaps enjoy a leisurely lunch at a traditional bistro.

 

Day 6: Blois and Cheverny

Start your day in the historic city of Blois, a vibrant hub on the banks of the Loire River. Your first destination is the Château de Blois, a unique example of four architectural styles: Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical. Tour the château and explore its fascinating history as the residence of several French kings and the site of the infamous murder of the Duke of Guise. The château also offers a stunning view of the town and river, a perfect photo opportunity.

Spend the afternoon at the Château de Cheverny, renowned for its sumptuous interior and its role as the inspiration for Marlinspike Hall in the Tintin comics. Cheverny has been owned by the same family for over six centuries, and its continuity provides a deep insight into French aristocratic life. The estate is also known for its commitment to sustainability and its beautiful, dog-friendly grounds.

In the evening, return to Blois. Take a leisurely stroll through the old town, enjoying the ambiance and perhaps dining at a local restaurant. Blois is a great place to experience the nightlife of the Loire Valley, with its assortment of intimate wine bars and lively taverns.

Day 7: Fontevraud Abbey and Chinon

Your final full day in the Loire Valley takes you to the imposing Fontevraud Abbey, one of the largest surviving monastic cities from the Middle Ages and the burial site of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, and other Plantagenets. Explore the Romanesque architecture and learn about the abbey’s transformation from a religious site to a prison and now a cultural center. Don’t miss the modern art installations that contrast with the ancient stones.

In the afternoon, travel to the town of Chinon, nestled on the banks of the Vienne River. Visit the Château de Chinon, a fortress with deep ties to English and French history, famously where Joan of Arc met King Charles VII. Spend the rest of the day exploring the medieval streets, sampling local wines like the robust reds made from Cabernet Franc, and enjoying regional specialties such as “rillettes” or “poires tapées” (dried pears).

As your journey through the Loire Valley comes to a close, reflect on the rich tapestry of history, culture, and gastronomy that you’ve experienced. Enjoy a farewell dinner in Chinon, perhaps at one of the riverside restaurants, celebrating a week well spent in one of France’s most enchanting regions.

 
 
 
 
France Fontevrand Abbey