Into The Loire - The Lavish Life

Sprinkled with hundreds of France's most opulent aristocratic estates, the fertile Loire Valley redefines French splendour, style and gastronomy with the lavish life in sophisticated enamor, attest to over a thousand years of rich architectural and artistic creativity. This is a sojourn to soak in the rich life with the most incredible panache.

HIGHLIGHTS

Witness stunning medieval towns and cities of the Loire Valley

Savour exquisite gastronomy and exquisite wines

Stay in refined boutique hotels 

Enjoy an insightful experience with the local characters

ITINERARY

DAY 1: PARIS / CHAMBORD / BLOIS / CHEVERNY

We depart from Paris today for a comfortable drive to the village of Chambord as we get our first glimpse of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Loire Valley. Visit the impressive Chateau de Chambord, commissioned by King Francis I and imagined by the great Leonardo da Vinci, the Chateau de Chambord is the largest and most majestic castle of the Loire. Much more than a castle, Chambord has captured the imagination of visitors and francophiles alike for centuries. It is a symbol of the French Renaissance and of the power of a passionate ruler who revered the arts. 

Thereafter, continue to the noble city of Blois, situated on the banks of the Loire River exuding an impeccable medieval charm at the height of King Louis XII's reign. We visit the stunning Chateau de Blois, one of the earliest Renaissance chateaux of the Loire Valley, and a favourite residence of many of the medieval and renaissance kings. Start our visit from the state hall, one of the most important remains of the medieval period. From wing to wing, from Louis 12 to Francis 1st, we discover life in the royal chateau. In each room, lays in front of our eyes, different centuries with their own customs, traditions and hobbies. 

From here, a short drive takes us to the Chateau de la Sistiere, a magnificent chateau nestled in Cheverny and home to the production of the renowned Chambord liqueur, the revered spirit made from wild raspberries. On an exclusive behind the scenes visit, understand and gain insights into the production and bottling process of Chambord from the perspective of the master blender. Finally, we arrive at the stunning all-new Les Sources de Cheverny - a revitalized hospitality chateau from the historic Chateau de Cheverny - reimagined by the owners of Les Sources de Caudalie in the Grand Cru vineyards of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux. 

Overnight: Les Sources de Cheverny, Cheverny

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: CHEVERNY (EXCURSION TO BOURGES & SANCERRE)

We begin the day with an excursion to the medieval city of Bourges, historic capital of the Province of Berry and an important trade centre in medieval times in the Loire Valley, made renowned by Jacques Coeur, a merchant who traveled far and wide and worked his way into the court of King Charles VII. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral Saint Etienne de Bourges, built between the late 12th and 13th centuries, one of the great masterpieces of gothic art and its striking design and stained-glass windows, attesting to the power of Christianity in medieval France. We also visit the Palais Jacques Coeur, dedicated to Jacques Coeur who rose to the top of the social ladder as the finance minister to King Charles VII from being a trading merchant. Explore the striking architecture of the palace that combines gothic principles with Gallo-Roman character where we learn about the life and tribulations of this important merchant, adventurer and master of the mint. 

From here, continue to the lesser-known eastern edge of the Loire Valley where we arrive to the medieval hilltop town of Sancerre. Tuck into an exciting lunch at the Michelin-starred Restaurant La Tour where Chef Baptiste Fournier allows you an important introduction into the local cuisine with locally-sourced ingredients. Thereafter, we take a walk up to the Tower of the Fiefs, the last vestige of the Sancerre castle which included 6 towers.dating from the end of the 14th Century which belonged to the  Counts of Sancerre and had the reputation of being an impregnable stronghold in the Middle Age. This dungeon, called the Tower of Fiefs, was built at the request of John III, Count of Sancerre from 1348 to 1398 rising to 40m high and proudly dominates the vineyards of Sancerre and the Loire that winds at the foot of the peak. 

OPTION:

We have the option to visit the Domaine Etienne et Sebastien Riffault for an understanding of the stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines that defied traditions and throw Sancerre into the limelight.  

Overnight: Les Sources de Cheverny, Cheverny

Meals: Breakfast & Michelin Lunch

DAY 3: CHEVERNY / CHENONCEAU / AMBOISE / VOUVRAY / ROCHECORBON

We leave the Les Sources de Cheverny today for probably the most iconic image of the Loire Valley in the form of the Chateau de Chenonceau. Described as the "ladies chateau", the photogenic chateau spans across the River Cher serving as the royal residence during the 16th century but unlike others, it served as residence – in succession – to both the mistress (Diane de Poitiers) and wife (Catherine de Medici) of French King Henri II. Thereafter, continue to the charming town of Amboise, one of the most attractive towns in France with interesting mix of pretty half-timbered and Renaissance-styled houses. Visit the unmistakable Chateau d'Amboise, perched high on a promontory over looking the Loire - seat of the Court of Kings Charles VIII and François I. We will also explore the Chateau du Clos Luce where at the Francois I, Leonardo da Vinci came to live at the Chateau du Clos Luce and stayed here for the last three years of his life, devoting himself to perfecting his inventions. 

From here, a scenic drive takes us into the exceptional Vouvray wine region renowned for the largest white wine appellation in the wider Touraine region and some of the finest white wines produced anywhere in France. Enjoy a visit to the Domaine Huet - the standard bearer for great age-worthy Chenin Blanc since 1928. On an insightful visit and understanding of the production facilities, indulge in sampling of varied wines while chatting over the trials and tribulations of the Huet family during WWI and WWII. Finally, we arrive at the beautiful environments of Les Hautes Roches - carved into the rocks with stunning views of the Loire. 

Overnight: Les Hautes Roches, Rochecorbon

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 4: ROCHECORBON (CASTLES OF THE MIDDLE LOIRE)

An exceptional day as we uncover the gems of the Middle Loire, blessed with beautiful towns and stunning chateaux. Our first stop of the day is the fairytale-like Chateau d'Arzay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River under the patronage of King Francois I. A subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor, it is an icon of the new art of building in the Loire Valley in the 16th century. Next, we continue to the charming town of Langeais on the banks of the Loire, dominated by the Chateau d'Langeais with its iconic drawbridge and medieval towers providing the enchantment lauded by all. Not far away, we then visit the ornate and unmissable Chateau d'Villandry, famed for its incredible gardens and maze, which combine flowers and vegetables, courtesy of a Spaniard, Dr.Joachim Carvallo who purchased them in 1906, giving a spectacular perspective when viewed from the top of the tower. 

We return to Les Hautes Roches where this evening, tuck into a sensational Michelin starred dinner by Chef Didier Edon who proposes a traditional, whilst at the same time bold, cuisine, inspired by seafood. His talents since 1989 as Chef at the Hautes Roches Hotel were rewarded with a star in the Michelin guide in 1990.

Overnight: Les Hautes Roches, Rochecorbon

Meals: Breakfast & Michelin Dinner

DAY 5: ROCHECORBON / SAUMUR / BRISSAC / BRIOLLAY

We leave Les Hautes Roches today with a scenic drive past the confluence of the Loire to the expansive Fontevraud Abbey, founded in 1100 as a double monastery where monks and nuns lived side by side as well as the home to the tombs of King Henry II and King Richard the Lionheart. In the 12th Century, Fontevraud Abbey was located in an area of France that was then in the possession of the King of England, and the British rulers of the time were great benefactors of the abbey. Eleanor of Aquitaine made Fontevraud Abbey her place of residence following the deaths of her husband, King Henry II, and son, the legendary King Richard the Lionheart, and all three were buried at the abbey, as were several other British royals. 

We continue next to the heart of the Saumur wine region, spread over 49,000 acres and 32 AOCs, this region is the reflection of a rich palette: dry or sweet whites and rosés, red wines of character and fine sparkling wines. Visit the Ackerman Cellars, a pioneer for the Loire fine sparkling wines, Jean-Baptiste Ackerman founded in 1811 his famous company in spectacular cellars dug in tufa limestone. Enjoy a visit of the stunning facilities where you will learn about its production process while sampling the intoxicating variety of its

wines. Thereafter, a sumptuous lunch experience ensues at the Michelin starred Restaurant Le Gambetta, a truly maverick re-imagination of French cuisine by Chef Mickael Pihours. 

Our final visit of the day culminates in a visit to the Chateau de Brissac, the tallest chateau in the Loire Valley that earned it the nickname "Loire Valley Giant". Cradle for more than a half-millennium of the Dukes of Brissac family, the monument’s architecture is surprisingly original, bringing together the formal rigor of its 14th-century defense towers and the refinement of its sculpted 17th-century ornamentation. Finally, we arrive in the village of Briollays where we spend 2 enchanting nights at the Chateau de Noirieux

Overnight: Chateau de Noirieux, Briollays

Meals: Breakfast & Michelin Lunch

DAY 6: BRIOLLAYS (EXCURSION OF ANGERS)

There nothing to be angry about in the university city of Angers, historical seat of the Plantagenet dynasty and the Dukes of Anjou. We will make a visit to the Chateau d'Angers, an impressive black stone castle built in the 9th century, and expanded in the 13th century by counts and Dukes of Anjou. Inside you can view the famous Tapestry of the Apocalypse, which is about 440-feet long, and features the Day of Judgement as written in the Book of Revelations. Your next stop is the Romanesque and Gothic architectural styled Cathedrale Saint-Maurice d'Angers. Here you can experience 12th-century sculptures like Christ His Majesty at the portals, and view rich stained glass windows, and Norman nave. Behind the cathedral is the Maison d'Adam, or Adam House; the oldest half-timbered house in Angers which has a façade adorned with wooden sculptures. 

Thereafter, we continue to the Carre Cointreau distillery in the village of Saint Barthelemy d'Anjou in the outskirts of Angers where we take an up close look into the secrets of the production of the world famous liqueur Cointreau. You will have a guided tour of the production site and distillery, perfumed by the subtle aromas of sweet and bitter orange zest. Then have a tasting experience with a difference, presented in a convivial bar setting by an expert barman !

Overnight: Chateau de Noirieux, Briollays

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 7: BRIOLLAYS / DEPARTURE NANTES

Leaving the Chateau de Noirieux today, you will be transferred to the Nantes Atlantique Airport for your onward flight departure OR continue your discovery of France in the exciting Brittany & Normandy region. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Twenty years after the opening of Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux vineyards, Alice and Jérôme Tourbier invite you to discover Les Sources de Cheverny nestled in the heart of the Loire Valley vineyards. The historic Château du Breuil gathers together a castle of the 18 th century, ancient farmhouses and old-style winery with new wooden houses of Le Hameau du Marais.

Les Sources de Cheverny, Cheverny - OPENING JUNE 2020

Located on a tufa cliff overlooking the meandering Loire, recently listed by Unesco as a World Heritage site, the Hotel Les Hautes Roches, carved into the rocks, is truly unique. In this exceptional setting every room is different. The south-facing cave rooms with a view of the Loire, some carved into the rock, are all elegantly decorated with stylish fabrics in perfect harmony with the place. 

Les Hauts Roches, Rochecorbon

Come in through the entrance gates and up the tree-lined avenue. At the far end you'll see the Château de Noirieux, with its chiselled stonework: a prestigious residence boasting five centuries of history. Here, 20 minutes from Angers, in the Loire Valley, you can enjoy the art of good living in French-style, a subtle blend of tradition and refined luxury. 

Chateau de Noireux, Briollay

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