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Loire Valley Itinerary – Top 6 Must See Castles Tour

Loire Valley Itinerary – Top 6 Must See Castles Tour – by France Off the Beaten Path

Loire Valley Itinerary – Our Loire Valley Tour takes France Off the Beaten Path Tour guests beyond the obvious to discover the true essence of France and experience authentic French culture in a small group…

WINNER of LUX 2017 Tourism Awards for **BEST FRENCH TOURING COMPANY!** – Read Here! (opens in a new window)

Read What Some of Our Guests Say! Verified Ratings of France Off the Beaten Path Tours!

Loire Valley Tour Itinerary – TOP 6 Must See Castles Tour by France Off the Beaten Path

Loire Valley Itinerary6 Day/5 Night Tour   •   6 Loire Valley CASTLES: Blois, Amboise, Chenonceau, Chambord, Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau   •   Best Tour Guides   •   2 Fun Loire Valley Cooking Classes – 1 at Chef’s Family Home, 1 in a Professional Kitchen  •   2 Artisan Loire Valley Markets   •   Cheese & Wine Tasting Excursion   •   Multiple Daily Options For BOTH Walkers and Non-Walkers  •   Lots of Flexibility  •   1 Exceptional Hotel For Entire Tour (No Hotel Hopping)

Loire Valley Itinerary - Castles & Foodie TourOur Loire Valley Itinerary features personalized, hands-on gourmet experiences combined with guided tours of the Loire Valley’s “Top 6 Must See” culturally and historically rich castles. Thanks to 23 years of exclusivity and a beaming reputation in France, our unparalleled Loire Valley Tours have been voted #1 small group tours in France for over 2 decades. We specialize in taking guests beyond the obvious to discover the true essence of France and experience authentic French culture with our local Loire Valley friends!

France tour travel is OUR specialty!

Each castle of our Loire Valley tour itinerary represents different and monumental events that contributed to shaping modern France. Each castle in the itinerary line-up is unique. We complement guided castle tours with personalized foodie experiences hosted by local Loire Valley friends. Our local Loire Valley friends rank as some of France’s most prestigious professionals in their professions. They welcome tour guests to their family homes, professional kitchens, and workshops, as a group of friends traveling together.  Participate in 2 fun cooking classes and a specialty “Tour de France” cheese and wine tasting. Tour and taste at our favorite chocolatier (chocolate-maker). Burn off gourmet calories with daily leisure walking amidst castles, historical villages and Touraine vineyards.

And the result of all of these privileged experiences?loire valley itinerary

France Off the Beaten Path Tour guests experience a very personalized, authentic side of the Loire Valley. Join us in the Loire Valley in 2017 for our 6-Day Loire Valley tour for the experience of a life-time to discover why Off the Beaten Path tours have been voted #1 in France for more than two decades!

Visit our Facebook page for photos of Off the Beaten Path Loire Valley tours and more…


* Click on the numbered day tabs below to view Loire Valley itinerary details for each day!  *Our Loire Valley Tour itinerary posted here is the itinerary travelers experience on our 2017 Loire Valley Tours.

Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 1:  Tour Begins

  • Meet & Greet at St. Pierre des Corps Rail Station 
  • Transfer to Hotel for Check-in, 
  • Welcome Cocktail & Orientation
  • Michelin-star Gourmet Welcome Dinner
  • Dinner is Included Today

“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.

loire valley itineraryDINNER: 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.

The Highlights: Arrival to the tour, Welcome Cocktail Hour, Gourmet Welcome Dinner…

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




Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 2:

Chocolate, CHAMBord Castle, Cooking Class, Wine & Cheese Tasting

  • Morning At Leisure
  • Late Morning: Tour & Tasting at our Friend’s Award Winning Chocolate Workshop
  • Tour of Chambord Castle
  • Cooking Class with Friend Michelin-star Chef Damien
  • “Tour de France” Wine & Cheese Tasting
  • Gourmet Cooking Class Dinner
  • Breakfast & Dinner Included Today

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. Explore the beautiful cobblestone walking streets of town. There are numerous artisan, art and specialty shops in Amboise that offer fabulous shopping. PLEASE NOTE — Guests may wish to walk up the street to Clos Luce to visit the former home of Leonardo da Vinci during this independent morning.

loire valley itineraryLATE MORNING: We depart to our friend’s Award Winning Artisan Chocolate Workshop where we’ll enjoy a tour of the facility and learn about French Artisan Chocolate Making followed by a tasting of his finest chocolate specialties. Afterwards, we continue on 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.

OTBP Loire Valley TourLATE 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. Learn very important details about the history and production of cheese in France. We’ll taste a variety of cheeses accompanied by regional wines. 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.

The highlights: Free Morning – Shop for Souvenirs in Town, Visit Clos Luce, Tour & Tasting at Our Friend’s Award Winning Artisan Chocolate Workshop, Chambord Castle, Michelin-star Cooking Class, Cheese Tasting Discovery and Dinner…

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


Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 3:  Azay-le-Rideau & Villandry Castles & Renaissance Gardens

  • Morning: Tour Azay-le-Rideau Castle
  • Explore and Shop in the Azay-le-Rideau Village
  • Afternoon: Tour Villandry Castle and Gardens
  • Breakfast is Included Today

Loire Valley TourBREAKFAST.  CASTLES & GARDENS – Experience historical villages in the southern Loire Valley at the Castles of Azay-le-Rideau and Villandry. Nothing is more spectacular than walking in the foot-steps of French Kings and Queens to discover the beauty and architecture of the Loire Valley.

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 tour

Winding 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.

loire valley itineraryLATE 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.


The highlights: Walking in the Southern Touraine of Loire Valley, Azay-le-Rideau Castle & Village, Villandry Castle & Renaissance Gardens…

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


Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 4:  Amboise Castle, Market & Village – Chenonceau Castle & Gardens

  • Morning: Exploring Amboise Market & Historic Village
  • Tour the Royal Castle of Amboise
  • Afternoon: Tour of Chenonceau Castle & Gardens
  • Hosted Cocktail Evening of Regional Specialties
  • Breakfast and Cocktail Evening are Included Today

OTBP Loire Valley TourBREAKFAST.

Morning: Castles, Market Day, VINEYARDS & Historical Villages – Witness historical wine producing villages and their castles as we travel through beautiful Loire countryside. Experience firsthand why French Kings and Queens loved and chose this area as their home during the Renaissance.

OTBP Loire Valley TourAMBOISE – THE WEEKLY MARKET: Enjoy perusing the weekly market, one of the liveliest days of the week in the village, as the local residents come out to do their weekly shopping and socializing.

AFTER 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 castle

AFTERNOON:  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.

loire valley itinerary

Aperitif (Cocktail Hour): Join us for a hosted cocktail hour to sample sumptuous regional products for which the Loire Valley is famous.

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.

The highlights: 2 Castles, Weekly Market, Vineyards, and Historical Villages, Amboise Village, Royal Castle of Amboise, Chenonceau Castle & Gardens…

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


Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 5: Blois Market, Castle & Town – Cooking at home culinary class

  • Shop at the Blois Market
  • Explore the Historic Town of Blois
  • Tour Blois Royal Castle
  • Early Evening: Culinary Class with celebrity Chefs, Friends, a husband and wife team, Christophe and Angelique Q. at their Home
  • Breakfast & Dinner are Included Today

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.

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

loire valley itineraryEARLY 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.

Loire Valley Tour ItineraryWe will prepare a gourmet aperitif and a three course dinner of local Loire Valley recipes together. Our Loire Valley Tour 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 chef Angelque prior to dinner. Guests will also learn how to prepare the award winning, regional “Tarte Tatin” dessert with Christophe.

Loire Valley France castlesThe 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!

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

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


Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 6: Tour Conclusion

  • OTBP-loire-valley-sept-christopheTransfer to St. Pierre des Corps Rail Station
  • Breakfast Included Today

BREAKFAST. 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 organized – Please contact us for details.


WALKING RATING – ALL TOUR GUESTS – Only leisure walking daily on this exclusive cultural and gourmet foodie tour. You decide how much walking you’d like to do. Guests need to be able to manage standing for short periods of time during our story telling at the castles, as well as be able to manage steps throughout the tour during castle visits, as no elevators or excalators are available in any of the chateaux (castles).

Once your tour is booked, your tour price is guaranteed, and the price will NOT increase!

(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