Loire Valley: 14 - 20 July 2019
Our journey will start with a big BANG – Bastille Day (14th July French National day)! From morning to night, celebrate France’s national day as only the French can do. In every town throughout France there will be a fireworks display, or one can dance the night away, there is something for all tastes and ages on this program. We will share this day in the Loire Valley - the cradle of French history. Their kings, their mistresses, their magnificent chateaux, their parties etc... And of course no parties nor mistresses without wine! The variety of climates and wine styles make it an exciting place for oenophiles to visit, the choice is enormous! Included in this journey is a trip to the Cadre Noir - A corps of ecuyers, or instructors, at the French military riding academy École Nationale d'Équitation at Saumur - a fabulous experience.
TOURS - CHENONCEAU, Sunday 14
Today in France is Bastille Day and we’ll meet our guide in Tours. He will have an excellent knowledge of local wines, and the history and people that produce them. The first afternoon is spent driving towards our accommodation in Chenonceau. A top evening awaits us at the ‘Tasting under the Stars’ event which unites all of the Touraine producers for a celebratory evening at the world famous chateau de Chenonceau, a beautiful castle spanning the Loire river.
CHENONCEAU - AMBOISE - CHENONCEAU, Monday 15
Day 2 allows a small sleep-in before a day at a top local market in Amboise and two of the best chateaux in the area - Chateau d’Amboise and Chateau de Clos Lucé (the latter is linked to the life of Leonardo de Vinci, as he spent the last three years of his life here).
CHENONCEAU - TOURS, Tuesday 16
Today we will be concentrating on tasting in Vouvray, the largest wine producing area in the Loire Valley. Good Vouvray Chenin Blanc is charming, firm, and delicate, exhibiting a nutty, floral, honeyed character whose rich flavours are balanced by palpable acidity and bracing minerality. The best cuvees from the best vintages are producing some of the most hauntingly, complex, long-lived white wines. We will be visiting and tasting at Champalou in the morning and Château Moncontour in the afternoon.
TOURS, Wednesday 17
We’ll start the day fully refreshed and ready to visit the only museum of its kind in the world, ‘The journeyman museum’. You’ll learn about the customs of trade guild journeyman, a strong tradition in Touraine. France.
We’ll have lunch somewhere around the "Tours-sur-Loire" guinguette café. This temporary scene takes over the docks in the town centre over summer. We’ll taste at Angelique Leon in the afternoon near Chinon, and take a short traditional boat trip.
TOURS - SAUMUR, Thursday 18
We’ll drive West onward towards the ocean and after a tasting and visit ‘en route’ we’ll arrive in Saumur. We’ll visit what is known as the Cadre Noir, the 400 year old National Equestrian School in Saumur and see the horses in training. Horses are a passion that are also found everywhere in the local economy, and they are present in many sectors such as tourism, trade and crafts.
SAUMUR - PUY DE FOU - SAUMUR, Friday 19
We will start the day with a tasting in the Coteaux de Layon – famous for their sweet wines.
The afternoon and evening will be spent at the renowned theme park ‘Puy de Fou’. There are several shows each night - the most recent addition (from 2016) le Dernier Panache is an incredible show that literally emerges from the ground. It follows the glorious destiny of a French naval officer, a hero from the American War of Independence, whose life will change dramatically in 1793, in a last fight for freedom!
SAUMUR - NANTES, Saturday 20
After breakfast we’ll drive to Nantes, at the river mouth of the Loire, and the birthplace of French author Jules Verne. After checking into our hotel, we will visit the interactive museum, the ‘Machine de l’Ile’ which is based on Verne’s works of fiction. At the end of the afternoon we will say goodbye to our guide.