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Loire Valley Itinerary: Castles and Foodie Tour



Tour Features — the 6 Best Castle of the Loire Valley, 2 Fun Cooking Classes (1 at our chef’s family home, 1 in another chef’s professional kitchen), Michelin-star gourmet restaurants, Different Loire Valley Wines at every meal, Local artisan and crafts markets, a dedicated cheese tasting and visiting the best historical villages of the Loire Valley!
Loire Valley Tour Length: 6 days/5 nights  


LOIRE VALLEY TOUR PHOTO GALLERY     •     LOIRE VALLEY TOUR GUEST TESTIMONIALS


**Off the Beaten Path France Tours Recommended by Best Selling Author!!**

Join one of our small group tours to discover for yourself why our France tours are recommended by author PJ Adams!


LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY – DAY-BY-DAY – BY OFF THE BEATEN PATH       •       TOUR SUMMARY»


* Click on the numbered day tabs below to view itinerary details for each day! *

LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY — DAY 1:  

Arrival, Michelin-star Welcome Dinner in a historic castle…

Group Meets, Hotel Check-in,chatpraygroupdinner Welcome Dinner Together – D

“Meet and greet” by your tour guide at at St. Pierre des Corps (Tours) TGV Rail Station. Group pick-up time is at 4:00 PM. Check-in at our 4-star Hotel – Pavillon des Lys in historic Amboise.

DINNER: Gourmet dinner together this evening prepared by one of the best loved Chefs of the region who has been rated and recommended by world renowned 3-star Michelin, French Chef Alain Ducasse, as well as our local Michelin-star Chefs.  Your tour guides will go over the details of your Loire Valley Tour itinerary and the activities planned for the week.

(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included

 

LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY — DAY 2:  

The highlights: Free Morning – Shop for Souvenirs in Town, Visit Clos Luce, Chambord Castle, Michelin-star Cooking Class & Dinner…

Morning: At Leisure, Tour of Chambord Castle, Fun Cooking Class and Demonstration Accompanied by Wine & Cheese Tasting with Friend and Michelin Star Chef Damien G. – B, D

Chambord Castle - OTBPBREAKFAST. Enjoy the early morning at leisure in Amboise. Relax on the terrace at the hotel with a beverage and write postcards, surf the internet or read. PLEASE NOTE — You may wish to walk up the street to Clos Luce to visit the former home of Leonardo da Vinci during this independent morning.

LATE MORNING: We depart to Chambord Castle. There will be an introduction to the history of Chambord Castle – followed by an independent visit of the castle.  Chambord is thought to have been the architectural masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci, yet this has never been proven. We share stories about two of France’s most influential Kings, Francis I and Louis XIV, their royal lifestyles, and personal guests at the castle, as well as stories of Louis XIII’s brother, Gaston d’Orleans.

LUNCH:  Independently at Chambord.

cooking classLATE AFTERNOON & DINNER: Hands-on cooking class and demonstration with friend, Michelin-star Chef Damien G. in his professional kitchen. Damien is a Michelin star chef with experience that has taken him on culinary adventures around the world. After having traveled extensively to places such as Cyprus and Moscow, he has returned to his native Loire Valley to share his culinary experience and knowledge at his family restaurant; adding a new and tasteful twist to regional recipes using local, seasonal ingredients. Cooking class is both hands-on and a demonstration of recipes.

cooking classThe focus is on discovering favorite recipes of this beautiful region and indulging in the French wine and cheese tasting and learning more about French cheeses with our Chef. This activity is designed for all interest levels from the beginner to the more experienced. Following class, we toast the evening with a cocktail followed by a gourmet dinner together of recipes prepared and demonstrated in class.

 

(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included

LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY – DAY 3:  

The highlights: Azay-le-Rideau Castle & Village, Villandry Castle & Renaissance Gardens…

Tour of Azay-le-Rideau Castle and Villandry Castle and Gardens in the southern Touraine – B

Loire Valley TourBREAKFAST. Morning: Our day begins at the fairy tale, moated castle of Azay-le-Rideau Castle, a spectacular masterpiece built during the early years of Francis I’s reign. The castle reflects all of the refinements of Renaissance architecture and embodies the qualities of a traditional French chateau with its high roofs, tall watch-turrets, long rows of windows and dormer-windows and majestic Italian structure.

LUNCH:  Independently in Azay-le-Rideau.

OTBP castle tourWinding our way along the Vienne & Loire Rivers, our next stop of the day is at Villandry Castle and its Renaissance Gardens. Learn about the numerous owners of the castle and how after the castle’s gardens were left in ruin for centuries, one man discovered a very important document in order to re-create the original Francis I Renaissance gardens. The unique Renaissance gardens of Villandry are among the most fascinating gardens of France.

LATE AFTERNOON: Return to our hotel in Amboise.

DINNER:  Independently in Amboise village. Stroll through the village, enjoy cocktails at sunset overlooking the Loire River and dinner at one of the many favorite places in the village.

(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included

LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY – DAY 4:

The highlights: Amboise Village, Royal Castle of Amboise, Chenonceau Castle…

Exploring Amboise Market & Historic Village, Tour of the Royal Castle of Amboise, Afternoon Tour of Chenonceau Castle & Gardens  – B

OTBP Amboise CastleBREAKFAST. Morning: Prior to our visit at the royal castle of Amboise, there will be time to explore Amboise’s weekly artisan market. Again, from local artisan products to French linens, fresh cut flowers, paintings, clothes, food, artwork and locally made jewelry, the market brings an unparalleled livelihood to Amboise, and offers a wonderful opportunity to experience local culture at its busiest time of the week. Time to explore and shop independently at the market.

OTBP Amboise CastleAFTER THE MARKET: Enjoy a guided visit of the Chateau of Amboise followed by time to explore at leisure. Today’s castle visit includes stories of royal accidents, more stories of some of France’s most important historical events, an attempted kidnapping, as well as royal love affairs and the death of royal guest, Leonardo da Vinci.

LUNCH:  independently in Amboise village.

OTBP Chenonceau castleAfternoon: Tour of the Castle and Gardens of Chenonceau, a castle shaped by women, this castle represents the greatest accomplishments of royal women during the Middle Ages and French Renaissance. Enjoy stories of Queens and their courts, royal love affairs, the first ever fireworks display in France, parties and deception and how royal debt nearly led this castle to be confiscated by the French state.

DINNER:  Independently in Amboise village. Stroll through the village, enjoy cocktails at sunset overlooking the Loire River and dinner at one of the many favorite places in the village.

(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included

LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY – DAY 5:

The highlights: Blois Town & Artisan Market, Blois Castle, Cooking at Home with Celebrity Chef Friends…

Shopping at the Blois Market & Exploring the Historic Town, Tour of Blois Castle, Early Evening Culinary Class with celebrity Chefs, Friends, a husband and wife team, Christophe and Angelique Q. at their Home – B, D

Blois castle tourBREAKFAST. Morning: Prior to our visit of the historic town of Blois, and its royal castle, we introduce you to the French tradition of shopping at the weekly open market. From local artisan products to French linens, paintings, clothes, food, wines, artwork and locally made jewelry, the market brings an unparalleled livelihood to villages and towns of the region. Guided visit of the market followed by time to explore and shop independently. Afterwards, guided tour of Blois Castle followed by time to explore the castle and historic town at leisure. We’ll share stories about some of the most note worthy events of French history: a Queen’s death, two marriages that would forever change the future of France, important accomplishments by the French monarchy, an assassination, details of the rigors of daily life during the Renaissance, and quirky facts about royal marriages and deaths.

cooking with ChristopheLUNCH:  Independently in Blois. Guests are welcome to join their guide at a local favorite brasserie owned by a friend, also a Michelin-star chef.

EARLY EVENING & DINNER: Fun, hands-on cooking class with our friends, Master Chef Angelique and Meilleur Ouvrier de France Master Chef Christophe Q. at their home in the countryside near Chaumont-sur-Loire. Tonight we cook with two of France’s highest rated Master Chefs. Christophe is Director of the Val de Loire Culinary Arts school, currently on leave from the school to work with his friend and colleague Alain Ducasse on the development of Ducasse’s new worldwide culinary project and “Ecole de Cuisine” concept in Paris. Christophe’s wife, Angelique, is a Professeur de Cuisine in the Val de Loire region. Both are passionate about the culinary arts, and have received top awards from and along with Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon. Christophe is currently featured on gourmet television in France, as one of the Loire Valley’s most highly recognized and talented Chefs.

OTBP cooking classWe will prepare a three course dinner of local recipes together. Guests will have the great pleasure of partaking in an “aperitif dinatoire”, as we call it in French, of the recipes prepared under the guidance of Angelque prior to dinner. Guests will also learn how to prepare the award winning, regional “Tarte Tatin” dessert with Christophe. The cooking class is designed to appeal to all interest levels from the beginner to the more experienced. Following cooking class, we toast to a wonderful evening with our Chefs with cocktails on their garden terrace followed by a gourmet dinner together of the recipes prepared during cooking class. Cooking class, drinks and dinner at Christophe and Angelique’s home is a fabulous way to celebrate a fun week together in the Loire Valley!

(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included

LOIRE VALLEY ITINERARY – DAY 6:

Loire Valley Tour Conclusion – B

OTBP Loire ValleyBREAKFAST. Your Loire Valley Tour concludes today with a 10 AM arrival to St. Pierre des Corps TGV Rail Station. Earlier and later departures can be organised – Please contact us for details.

Check-out What’s included in our Loire Valley Castles & Gourmet Tour Price!

 

(B) = Breakfast Included, (L) = Lunch Included, (D) = Dinner Included

mapsandstampmontage2“… Just returned from the Loire Valley trip, this was one of our favorite trips. Our sons loved it too!!! The combination of gorgeous chateaus with excellent and knowledgeable guides, and the cooking classes and meals with top Michilin chefs was fabulous!!!  The hotel was confortable, perfectly locateded and we had the best rooms in the Chateau. Our two guides stayed in the hotel with us… Sometimes the best trips aren’t necesarily the most well known. This company deserves to be! It’s wonderful!!! …  After about 15 worldwide trips including most continents, my sons ranked this one up near the top. This took the cake!! Would return in a flash!!” –Connie and Ken Yonan, Chicago, IL