The Loire is famous for its chateaux with over 300 in total to discover. This easy paced, gentle walking holiday balances peaceful, off-the-beaten-track discoveries, with the splendour and opulence of some of the finest Renaissance chateaux in France. There's no tough climbing but you're still rewarded with beautifully unspoilt landscapes..You follow a linear route from Blois, passing quiet hamlets and wine villages, before continuing alongside the River Cher through Montrichard, Chenonceaux and Montlouis. Then, you'll enjoy wonderful walks through open fields and and on to Leonardo da Vinci's bustling town of Amboise. Along the way you'll take in some of France's most impressive chateaux: Chenonceau mesmerises with its iconic arches over the River Cher the majestic Chateau d'Amboise is a former royal residence and also houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci; while Chateau de Chambord is set in a majestic nature reserve.The places you'll stay in have been hand-picked for their superb locations, atmospheric charm, excellent cuisine and warm, friendly owners. As well as chateaux, and wine and we've included 2 evening meals - given the fantastic variety of restaurants on your doorstep, we thought you'd appreciate us leaving the choice to you.
Gentle, off-the-beaten-track walking on relaxing flat routes through sunflowers fields, forest, vineyards and along the Loire and Cher rivers
France's finest chateaux including Blois, Chambord, Amboise and Chenonceau
Sleepy wine villages; regal Amboise with its boutique-lined streets and esplanades enjoying excellent views over the Loire River.
Hotel Le Monarque
Explore the cobbled streets, arcaded squares and impressive chateau of this
pretty riverside town before dinner.
Blois / Chambord To Chitenay
Blois, Chambord, Chitenay
Auberge du Centre
Transfer to Chambord, the largest Chateau of the Loire Valley. Then walk
through the estate’s forest before heading across open countryside via
sleepy wine villages to Chitenay. Dinner is included on this night.
Chitenay To Chenonceaux
Hotel de la Roseraie
Today a 20-minute transfer takes you to Bourre, where you'll begin your walk
alongside the River Cher. You have the chance to visit the Caves des Roches -
or 'mushroom caves' - on the way, a vast network of underground caves and
tunnels which were formerly limestone mines. You'll also pass La Magnanerie
de Bourre, the site of traditional cave dwellings and a silk-worm farm.
Continue your walk alongside the River Cher to Montrichard, a traditional
French town with its own riverside beach and a number of good restaurants to
choose from for lunch, before heading along the GR41 to Chenonceaux.
Then, you can marvel at the impressive Chateau de Chenonceau, one of the
best-known of the Loire chateaux with its iconic arches over the river. This
fairytale chateau has seen some famous figures from history, notably Diane de
Poitiers and Catherine de'Medici - rivals for Henry II's affections - and
Mary, Queen of Scots.
Chenoneaux To Amboise
Hotel Clos d'Amboise
We take you from Chenonceaux to Montlouis and from there follow the back
roads of the GR3 which run parallel to the River Loire. From Montlouis you'll
walk through the Loire's sprawling vineyards, with the chance to stop and
taste delicious wines on the way. Continue your walk alongside the Loire and
you'll arrive in the bustling market town of Amboise.
Amboise has a charming mediaeval feel, with historical links to the French
Royal Family and also connections to Leonardo da Vinci who spent his last few
years at Clos Luce, now a museum which houses displays of some of the
artist's original work. Da Vinci's tomb is housed in the majestic Chateau
d'Amboise which also hosts the impressive Son et Lumiere display. Amboise
offers plenty of restaurants and cafes in which to relax and sample the local
wines and produce.
Depart Amboise after breakfast
All breakfasts and 2 evening meals are included
The Loire prides itself on it's cuisine. It is refined country cooking, not
heavy but rich in flavours and textures, drawing on the great garden of the
Loire valley. Fruit and vegetables abound. Asparagus, artichokes, button
mushrooms, cherries and strawberries from the Loire are transported to
kitchens throughout France, which demonstrates the quality of the produce.
These all provide delicious accompaniments to the duck, venison and wild boar
dishes (all hunted locally) and served in sauces using wines from the local
vineyards. Fish also features in abundance. With three wide, gently flowing
rivers passing through the region, freshwater fish appear on most menus.
'Sandre' (pikeperch) and breme (bream) are especially popular and are usually
served in a beurre blanc sauce - made with shallots, butter, dry white wine
and vinegar. The majority of the cheese found in the region is goat's cheese.
We suggest trying Selles-sur-Cher from the neighbouring Blesois region.
Desserts are often based on the fruit from the local orchards. They include
'tarte tatin', a yummy caramelised upside-down apple pie - the invention of
two absent-minded sisters in their attempt to salvage a dessert they had
dropped on the floor.
The Loire is undoubtedly one of Europe's finest wine producing regions with
many of the separate wine areas producing red, white, rose and sparkling
wines. Distinctive whites include Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Vouvray and
Muscadet; for reds, try Chinin, Bourgueil and Saumur. Anjou is by far the
most popular rose.
HOTEL LE MONARQUE, BLOISOne of our bestsellers in Blois! Located in Blois, 400 m from Blois Castle, Hôtel Restaurant LE MONARQUE boasts a restaurant, bar and free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking is available on site, subject to availability. Every room is fitted with a flat-screen TV. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom with a hairdryer. You will find room service at the property. A buffet breakfast including cold meats, eggs and hot drinks is served every morning.Extra nights: Please contact us for details. AUBERGE DU CENTRE, CHITENAYTucked away in the elegant little village of Chitenay is the lovely ivy-clad Auberge du Centre, run by the charming Martinet family. Dinner is served either in the pretty dining room, or on the terrace.The hotel has a pleasant terrace overlooking its pretty gardens and swimming pool (pool towels are provided; ask at reception), which are a real treat on a summer's day, as well as an attractive sitting area inside, complete with wooden beams and comfy chairs.Access to the Spa area is payable locally at 15€ per person per day. Access is free to those staying in a 'Balneo' room. HOTEL LA ROSERAIE, CHENONCEAUXIdeally situated in the centre of Chenonceaux and just a 400m from the chateau, the Hotel La Roseraie, built in the 18th century offers comfortable rooms and a wonderful place to relax after a day walking or sightseeing with its garden and pool. HOTEL LE CLOS D, AMBOISELocated near the pedestrian area of Amboise, the Hotel Le Clos d'Amboise was built in the 17th century and was once a doctor's mansion. Renovated over the years it has still retained a number of original features.Extra nights: Please contact us for details.