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Loire Valley Itinerary For Best Adventures in Loire Valley™ Tour



Loire Valley Itinerary for Best Adventures in Loire Valley™ Tour by France Off the Beaten Path

Best Adventures in Loire Valley™

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


2018 Loire Valley Tour Itinerary - TOP 6 Must See Castles Tour6 Day/5 Night Tour   •   6 Loire Valley CASTLES: Blois, Amboise, Chenonceau, Chambord, Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau   •   Knowledgeable Award-Winning Tour Guides   •   2 Fun Loire Valley Cooking Classes – 1 at Chef’s Family Home, 1 in a Professional Kitchen  •   2 Artisan Loire Valley Markets   •   Mini-Concert by Friend Gabriele & Foodie/Cocktail Evening   •   Cheese & Wine Tasting Excursion   •   Chocolate Making Tour & Tasting   •   VIP Winery Tour, Wine Tasting & Privately Hosted Lunch at Friend’s Family Wine Estate  •   Lots of Flexibility  •   1 Exceptional Hotel For Entire Tour (No Hotel Hopping)


Loire Valley Tour Itinerary

Recommended in the Frommer’s France Guidebook, Page 788

Our 2020 Loire Valley Itinerary for our Best Adventures in Loire Valley™ Tour 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 25 years of exclusivity and a beaming reputation in France, our unparalleled Best Adventures in Loire Valley™ Tours have been named among the BEST 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 to experience authentic French culture with our local Loire Valley friends!

France tour travel is OUR specialty!

Loire Valley Itinerary - Castles & Foodie TourEach 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). And, our local family friends open their wine estate to welcome our guests for a VIP winery tour, and to enjoy a privately hosted lunch featuring Loire cuisine and classified Touraine wines they produce. Burn off gourmet calories with daily leisure walking amidst castles, historical villages and Touraine vineyards.


Loire Valley Itinerary - Castles & Foodie TourAnd the result of all of these privileged experiences?

France Off the Beaten Path Tour guests experience a very personalized, authentic side of the Loire Valley. Join us in the Loire Valley in 2020 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 BEST in France for more than two decades!

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


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


* Click on the numbered day tabs below to view details for each day of our Loire Valley itinerary!  *Our Loire Valley Tour itinerary posted here is the itinerary travelers experience on our 2020 Best Adventures in Loire Valley™ Tours.

Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 1:  Tour Begins – D

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

Meet at Amboise Rail Station at 3:00 PM. Check-in at our 4-star Hotel – Le Pavillon des Lys in historic Amboise for the 6 day/5 night tour (NO HOTEL HOPPING – We Stay In 1 Boutique Hotel Owned by Local Friends for the Entire Tour). Travelers take a TGV (high speed) train from either Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Gare de Montparnasse in downtown Paris to reach the Amboise rail station.

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…

Dietary Requests & Food Allergies — We accommodate ALL dietary requests and preferences (including vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, etc) and ALL food allergies (gluten, shellfish, etc) while ensuring an amazing foodie experience for all tour guests with restrictions and/or allergies.

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

 

 

Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 2:  Chocolate Tour & Tasting At Local Friend’s Workshop, Tour Chambord Castle, Cooking Class With Family Friend Damien, Wine & Cheese Tasting, Cooking Class Dinner Together – B, D

  • Morning At Leisure
  • Late Morning: Tour & Tasting at our Friend’s Award Winning Chocolate Workshop
  • Tour of Chambord Castle
  • Fun, Hands-On Cooking Class with Friend Michelin-star Chef Damien
  • “Tour de France” Wine & Cheese Tasting
  • Gourmet Dinner of Recipes Prepared in Class with Touraine Classified Wines
  • Breakfast and 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.

LATE 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.

Loire Valley itineraryLATE 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.

France Off The Beaten Path Tour CompanyThe 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: Villandry Castle & Gardens, Azay-le-Rideau Castle & Village, Renaissance Evening: Foodie Tasting, Aperitif & Mini-Concert by Friend Gabriele, Dinner on Own in Amboise – B & Cocktail/Concert Evening

  • Morning: Tour Azay-le-Rideau Castle
  • Explore and Shop in the Azay-le-Rideau Village
  • Afternoon: Tour Villandry Castle and Gardens
  • Hosted Renaissance Cocktail Evening of Touraine Foodie Specialties & Aperitif (cocktails) while friend, world-renowned violinist and guitarist Gabriele serenades our evening with a mini-concert.
  • Breakfast and Cocktail Evening are Included Today

loire valley itineraryBREAKFAST.  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. loire valley itineraryWinding 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.

Mini-Concert & Aperitif (Cocktail evening):  Bringing France & Italy together for a Renaissance evening : enjoy a privately hosted mini-concert performance by friend, world-renowned violinist and guitarist, Gabriele during our regional specialty cocktail and Touraine foodie tasting evening. Read our BLOG post about Gabriele…

Loire Valley Itinerary - Castles & Foodie TourDINNER:  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: Southern Touraine of Loire Valley, Azay-le-Rideau Castle & Village, Villandry Castle & Renaissance Gardens and Hosted Cocktail Hour of Regional food specialties…Please note that the mini-concert performed by our friend Gabriele and included in our aperitif evening is new for ALL 2020 Tour dates.

 

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

 

Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 4: Amboise Market & Village, Castle Tour, Lunch: Winery Tour at Friend’s Estate & Privately Hosted Wine Tasting Lunch Featuring Regional Loire Cuisine & Touraine Wines,  Chenonceau Castle & Gardens, Dinner On Own in Amboise – B, L 

  • Morning: Exploring Amboise Market & Historic Village
  • Tour the Royal Castle of Amboise
  • VIP Winery Tour & Tasting
  • Privately Hosted Lunch at our Family Friend’s Historical Wine Estate
  • Afternoon: Tour of Chenonceau Castle & Gardens
  • Breakfast and Lunch are Included Today

loire valley itineraryBREAKFAST.   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.

AMBOISE – 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.

loire valley itineraryWinery Tour, Tasting & Privately Hosted Lunch:  Following our visit of Amboise castle, enjoy an exclusive invitation to tour our friends Fred and Louisa’s winery where we’ll go behind the scenes to learn about Touraine wines and the labor of love this couple has poured into their passion for wine-making. Enjoy tasting their world-renowned wines in addition to some new to market wines they’ve begun producing.  To top off this exclusive experience, we’ll partake of a traditional French aperitif (cocktail) in the sitting room of their family home, an 18th-century chateau, followed by a privately hosted lunch in the dining room. Having spent his childhood learning the wine trade from growing to vineyard management to production and delivery to market, local wine producer, our friend Fred and his wife Louisa welcome us to their family winery and home as personal friends for this exclusive experience.

loire valley itineraryAFTERNOON:  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.

loire valley itinerary

The highlights: 2 Castles, Weekly Market, Vineyards, and Historical Villages, Amboise Village, Royal Castle of Amboise, Winery Tour & Privately Hosted Tasting Lunch of Loire cuisine & Touraine wines produced by our family friends at their wine estate, Chenonceau Castle & Gardens…

 

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

 

Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 5: Blois Market, Royal Castle & Town – Cooking at Home Culinary Class with Family Friends Christophe & Angelique, Cocktails & Cooking Class Dinner Together – B, D

  • Shop at the Blois Market
  • Explore the Historic Town of Blois
  • Tour Blois Royal Castle
  • Early Evening: Fun, Hands-On Culinary Class with celebrity Chefs, Family Friends, a husband and wife team, Christophe and Angelique Q. at their Home
  • Breakfast and 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 tour 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 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 itineraryThe 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 at their family home…

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

 

Loire Valley Itinerary – Day 6: Tour Conclusion – B

  • OTBP-loire-valley-sept-christopheTransfer to Amboise Rail Station
  • Breakfast Included Today

BREAKFAST. Your Loire Valley Tour concludes today with an 11:15 AM arrival at Amboise rail station. Earlier and later departures can be organized – Please contact us for details.


TOUR DEPOSIT AND PAYMENTS:

  • A US$500 per person tour deposit payment is required to book space(s) on a tour.
  • No advance balance payment required.
  • The remaining balance is due no later than 90 days before the tour departure date.
  • If booking a tour 90 days or less before the tour departure date, you pay the per person tour deposit to book your chosen tour and date. We then email you an invoice to complete your tour balance payment within 72 hours of booking.
  • You may transfer from one trip to another before trip departure without any penalty (excludes custom designed-private tours), as long as space is available on the tour date requested. OTBP must be notified of intent to switch no later than 60 days before booked tour departure date.

CANCELLATION POLICY:

  • 31+ days (from the first day of the trip): Traveler forfeits US$500 per person tour deposit.
  • 0-30 days: Traveler forfeits US$1,000 per person.
  • Should you have to cancel 90 days or less before tour departure, there is NO cancellation penalty if you elect to put your tour monies paid on hold towards a future trip; otherwise, the cancellation terms detailed above apply.
  • No-Show or cancellations received on tour departure day: Traveler forfeits 100% of tour monies paid.

  • HOT AIR BALLOONING is NOT part of our Loire Valley tour itinerary. Hot Air Ballooning is available as an optional excursion on one of your free evenings, and we can book it on your behalf. There is an additional fee for the ballooning excursion. We work with a local friend who is a professional, licensed ballooning pilot, and owns his own ballooning excursion company. We’ve been working with him for 15+ years, and he’s the best in the region!

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

Our “100% RISK FREE BOOKING & TRAVEL” promotional cancellation policy – Your tour deposit and balance payment are 100% refundable until 31 days before tour departure, and at 30 days or less, funds are 100% transferable to a future tour. There are NO limitations or restrictions!