Tickets not included: 
Tickets are not included
Hotels not included: 
Hotels not included
  • Loire Valley Castles (3 Days) Description

    DAY 1

    After picking you up at your hotel, during the 1 hour drive (approximately) to Chartres, your guide will give you an introduction to the city of Chartres as well as Gothic Art.

    Located about 50 miles southwest of Paris, in the town of Chartres , the « Capital of Light and Perfume », the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres is without doubt one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world. The cathedral that we see today was built over a 26-year period after the fire of 1194. Several other churches and an earlier cathedral had already stood in the same location when work on the current cathedral started, including an impressive roman style cathedral which remains can be seen predominantly in the crypt and the west towers. Upon your arrival, you will have an exhaustive private guided visit of the cathedral (inside and outside).

    Ornamented with over four thousand sculptures, the cathedral has been an important destination for travelers since the 12th C many of whom that come to venerate its famous relic: the “Santa Camisa” (the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ’s birth), the others that come to admire the remarkable collection of 176 stain-glass windows that create a relatively dark but richly colored interior in which the light filtering through the myriad narrative and symbolic windows is a main source of illumination. (Some myths believe that nowadays people cannot create anymore the same blue color called “Chartres blue” which dominates the windows of Chartres).
    The labyrinth, in the center of the nave , one of the biggest labyrinth ever built in French cathedrals and the crypt beneath the cathedral are 2 other “not to miss” attractions inside before focusing on the outstanding architectural structure : the cathedral towers built in different styles, , the façade with the detailed sculptures and statues, , the astronomical clock of the 15thC, the nave and flying buttresses and the bishops garden where you can enjoy the view over the old city and the labyrinth garden of the 18th C.

    Then you will head to CHAMBORD, the largest chateau in the Loire valley, that is one of the jewels of the French Renaissance architecture and that blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Italian structures.

    Built by King Francois 1er during over 20 years (he spent only 42 days living there), Chambord houses an architectural highlight: the spectacular double-helix open staircase, designed by Leonardo da Vinci and illuminated by a sort of lighthouse at the highest point of the chateau in its center.

    Before your guide takes you for a private visit of the chateau (ground floor apartment, Royal apartment of the Sun King, Queen's chamber, King Francois 1st apartment, the Royal chapel, the amazing top terrace and the surroundings... you will enjoy a nice LUNCH.

    After leaving Chambord, you will head to your third visit of the day : BLOIS Castle, located in the center of the city.

    Built from the 13th to the 17th century (different styles and influences) around the main courtyard, the château was the residence of several French Kings over different centuries. It was also the place where Joan of Arc was blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to deliver Orleans from the English.

    After the visit of the chateau, you will drive for an hour along the Loire River towards AMBOISE a fascinating medieval town with its timbered 500 year old houses, its narrow streets and local shops where you will enjoy walking along , admiring the Royal chateau , built on a promontory overlooking the Loire , that became the favorite residence of the French Kings in the 16th century.

    If time you will end this day with a WINE TASTING (not included) in this region famous for wines such as : CHINON, GAMAY, VOUVRAY, CABERNET, etc

    Then your guide will take you to your hotel.

    DAY 2

    After breakfast your guide will drive you to the first highlight of the day : VILLANDRY, the last of the great Renaissance castles to be built on the banks of the Loire. It owes uncontestably its fame to its exceptional gardens laid out on 3 levels m in a happy marriage of beauty, diversity and harmony.

    The decorative kitchen gardens house a profusion of colorful flowers and vegetable plants in a checkerboard plan, the effect of the seasonal variation is an ever-changing 3 dimensional picture.

    The ornamental garden in box hedges, form musical symbols, but pride of place is going to hearts, scrolls, butterflies, allegories of love: tender, passionate, fickle and tragic.

    The water-garden, very tranquil and peaceful, ideal for relaxing and dreaming.

    The site is completed by a herb garden with medicinal and culinary plants and a maze called "the Innocent's Garden".

    Then you will enjoy a nice LUNCH in the beautiful city of SAUMUR.

    Then after lunch, your private guide will take you to the FONTEVRAUD ABBEY, built between 1110 and 1190 . Founded by an itinerant preacher named Robert of Arbrissel, Fontevraud was a double monastery (both nuns and monks lived at the same site) that became famous and prosperous (the order established several Fontevrist abbeys in England).

    Robert of Arbrissel declared that the head of the order should always be a woman. This position attracted many rich and noble women that became abbesses of Fontevraud such as Mathilda of Anjou 9the aunt of King Henry II of England, Louise de Bourbon, Isabella of Anjou and Eleonor of Aquitaine the queen of England that retired there as a nun after her husband's death.

    Your guide will take you for a private guided visit of the chapter house, the cloister galleries, the 3 monastery buildings and the abbey church where you will see the graves of King Henry II of England, his wife Eleonor of Aquitaine, their son Richard Ist (Lionheart) and their daughter Joan.

    On the way back to your hotel, you will end this day with a WINE TASTING (not included) in this region famous for wines such as : CHINON, GAMAY, VOUVRAY, CABERNET, etc

    DAY 3

    After breakfast, you will start your day with the private guided visit of AMBOISE Castle whose impressive location on the cliff, over looking the LOIRE River, will leave you breathless.

    Then your private tour guide will take you for your second guided visit of the day : LE CLOS LUCE.
    The mansion where genius LEONARDO DA VINCI lived and worked, as a guest of King François 1er, the three last years of his life (visit of the mansion, Leonardo's bedroom, study, chapel...and marvelous garden and park with a display of some of the most impressive inventions of the Master).

    It is time now for a LUNCH break in a small traditional restaurant of the region.

    Then your guide will take you to CHENONCEAU Castle that spans over the River Cher and that you will approach by a striking tree lined avenue .

    Chenonceaux's history is entwined with that of 9 women that left their marks there (it is known as the Chateau of the Dames): Catherine Briconnet, the initial builder, Diane de Poitiers, King Henri II's mistress, Catherine of Medicis, the "black" queen, Mary, Queen of Scots, Gabrielle d'Estrees, King Henry IV' s favorite, Louise de Lorraine, the mourning widow, Mme Dupin, Voltaire's and Rousseau's friend and Mme Pelouze that restored the chateau to its 16C glory.

    Your guide will take you for a private guided visit of the chateau (the Guards Room, the chapel, Diane de Poitier's bedroom, the Green study and library, the Grand Gallery, Francois Ier's bedroom, the Sun King's living room, Catherine's and Louise's bedrooms and the vaulted kitchens) and the gardens.

    After your visit , your guide will bring you back to your hotel or apartment in Paris.

    On winter, closed Castles will be replaced by opened ones.

    Entrance tickets, meals and hotels not included

    Extra charge for a pick up and/or a drop off outside Paris

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