mardi 26 janvier 2016



Come and be royal, on one of our Self-Guided Loire Valley cycling tours. Pedal to the magnificent and extravagant Chateau of Chambord set in the heart of an extensive hunting park for the King of France’s leisure. Then on to the elegant Chateau de Chenonceau, spanning the Cher River and site of bitter enmities between the king’s powerful wife Catherine de Medici, and his beautiful mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Or enjoy the machinations imagined by Leonardo da Vinci in his home under the King’s protection in Amboise. The biking is perfect, the scenery rich and varied, the food and wine sublime. Plan now and start dreaming!

See these places on our Loire Valley Self-Guided cycling holidays:

Image result for blois    Blois 

Blois, a hillside city on the Loire River, is the capital of the Loir-et-Cher region in central France. The late Gothic Blois Cathedral towers over its cobbled city center. Nearby is the Château Royal de Blois, a former palace with ornate royal chambers, plus paintings and sculptures from the 16th–19th centuries. Opposite, La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin explores the history of magic and holds live performances.

Image result for chateau de chambord    Château de Chambord 

The royal Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France, is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends ...
Image result for clos luce amboise    The Clos Lucé 
The Château du Clos Lucé is a small château in the city of Amboise, France. The place is famous for being the official residence of Leonardo da Vinci between 1516 and 1519, when Leonardo died. 

The Royal Château at Amboise is a château confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it became a favoured royal residence and was extensively rebuilt. Wikipedia Amboise is famous for the Clos Lucé manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived (and ultimately died) at the invitation of King Francis I of France, whose Château d'Amboise, which dominates the town, is located just 500 m (1,640 feet) away. The narrow streets contain some good examples of timbered housing.

Image result for chenonceau chateau   Château de Chenonceau 

The Château de Chenonceau is a French château spanning the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. It is one of the best-known châteaux of the Loire valley. Wikipedia

Image result for azay le rideau  Château d'Azay-le-Rideau 
The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is located in the town of Azay-le-Rideau in the French département of Indre-et-Loire. Built between 1518 and 1527, this château is considered one of the foremost examples of early French renaissance architecture. Wikipedia

Image result for fontevraud abbey  Fontevraud Abbey 

The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud or Fontevrault is a complex of religious buildings hosting a cultural centre since 1975, the Centre Culturel de l'Ouest, in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in Anjou, France. The tombs of Richard the Lionhearted and Eleonor of Aquitaine can both be seen here. Wikipedia

Image result for saumur  Saumur
The historic town is located between the 
Loire and Thouet rivers, and is surrounded by the vineyards of Saumur itself, Chinon, Bourgueil, Coteaux du Layon, etc. which produce some of France's finest wines. Its skyline has often been compared with that of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Image result for loire valley garden GARDENS  Chateau de Chenonceau Gardens
Gardens of the Chateau de Villandry
International Garden Festival of Chaumont sur Loire

The Loire Valley is known as the garden of France. The climate is mild the soil is fertile and the land is watered by the lovely River Loire as well as the Rivers Eure, Loiret and Cher.
When the magnificent Chateaus of the Loire Valley were built many also had fabulous gardens designed  for the French aristocracy to enjoy. The most notable example in the Loire Valley (and indeed one of the best formal French style gardens in the world is the garden of the Chateau de Villandry.
However the region has much more to offer than an impressive selection of French formal style gardens. There is also a fabulous Japanese garden - the Park Oriental de Maulevrier. The park has been approved by Japanese horticulturists as authentic.  For more English style borders take a look at the superb Parc Floral de la Source and for a charming personal garden the Jardin d'Atmosphere du Petit Bordeaux takes some beating.
To get some ideas for the future visit the International Garden Festival at Chaumont sur Loire in the grounds of the Chateau Chaumont.


Vineyard in the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley wine region[7] is one of the world's most well-known areas of wine production and includes several French wine regions situated along the river from the Muscadet region on the Atlantic coast to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé just southeast of the city of Orléans in north central France. Loire wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavors.[8]
The Loire Valley is France's most diverse wine region, producing exemplary wines in every style. Popularity of Loire Valley wines with sommeliers and wine writers has been growing steadily for the last ten years because for all their variety, Loire Valley wines share important characteristics that make them perfect for contemporary taste. Moderate alcohol, refreshing acidity and minerality make them ideal food wines. Pure expression of varietal and terroir unmasked by oak. Excellent value...


The architectural heritage in the valley's historic towns is notable, especially its châteaux, such as the Château d'AmboiseChâteau d'Azay-le-RideauChâteau de ChambordChâteau de ChinonChâteau du RivauChâteau d'UsséChâteau de Villandry and Chenonceau. The châteaux, numbering more than three hundred, represent a nation of builders starting with the necessary castle fortifications in the 10th century to the splendour of those built half a millennium later. When the French kings began constructing their huge châteaux here, the nobility, not wanting or even daring to be far from the seat of power, followed suit. Their presence in the lush, fertile valley began attracting the very best landscape designers. In addition to its many châteaux, the cultural monuments illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on western European thought and design. Many of the Châteaux were designed to be built on the top of hills, one example of this is the Château d'Amboise. Many of the Châteaux had extremely detailed and expensive churches on the grounds, or within the actual Châteaux itself. This was because all of the French kings who reigned during the building of the Châteaux were devout Catholics.

 information from Wikipedia 2016