LOIRE VALLEY

FRANCE | UNESCO CASTLES TO CASTLES – SELF-GUIDED

Trip Style

Rolling hills

Availability

March to October

Highlight

Historic villages, Gardens of France, World-class wines and gastronomy

Price from

740EUR

 

Grade

Loire Valley (Vallee de La Loire in French) was listed by UNESCO World Heritage in 2000. When delivering its decision, the committee said that the area was an exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages and great architectural monuments. The land has been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular, the Loire itself.

 

With cities such as Orleans, Blois, Tours and Nantes, the Loire Valley offers an incredible quality of architectural heritage. Also known as the Gardens of France, Loire Valley is a great place to enjoy biological diversity, endless well kept forests and world-class wines.

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We have graded this walk as “Easy” as the average walking time per day is only 4 hours, without any major ascent or descent.

 

The Loire Valley is noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage. In particular, its world-famous castles – Château of Amboise, Château of Chambord and Château of Chenonceaux (“Château des Dames”). These are known as three of the most exceptional castles in France, but there are also lots of small castles you will see during this walking holiday, like Leonardo da Vinci’s last home (Château du Clos Lucé).

 

The romantic representation of the Valley in the 19th century by writers and painters led to the Loire becoming a magnet for tourists, first from France, then Europe, and then the rest of the world. This interest in the scenic qualities of the Valley and its monuments encouraged efforts to preserve the heritage of the landscape, in the form of its monuments, its towns,  its rural structure, it nature and gastronomy.

Day 1: Blois
Day 2: Blois to Chambord 17,5km/4h30
Day 3: Chambord to Bracieux 15.5km/4h00
Day 4: Bracieux to Cheverny 18.5km/4h45
Day 5: Cheverny to Fougères 16km/4h45
Day 6: Fougères to Thésée 19.5km/4h55
Day 7: Thésée to Montrichard 15.5km/4h25
Day 8: Montrichard to Chenonceaux 19.5km/5h00
Day 9: Chenonceaux to Amboise 15km/3h45
Day 10: Amboise to Chaumont 24km/6h00
Day 11: Chaumont to Blois 24km/6h00
Day 12: Blois

Day 1: Blois
Day 2: Blois to Chambord 17.5km/4h30
Day 3: Chambord to Bracieux 15.5km/4h00
Day 4: Bracieux to Cheverny 18.5km/4h45
Day 5: Cheverny to Fougères 16km/4h45
Day 6: Fougères to Thésée 19.5km/4h55
Day 7: Thésée to Montrichard 15.5km/4h25
Day 8: Montrichard

Day 1: Blois
Day 2: Taxi to Chambord + Chambord to Bracieux 15.5km/4h00
Day 3: Bracieux to Cheverny 18.5km 4h45
Day 4: Taxi to Montrichard + Montrichard to Chenonceaux 19.5km/5h00
Day 5: Chenonceaux to Amboise 15km/3h45
Day 6: Taxi to Chaumont + Chaumont to Blois 24km/6h00
Day 7: Blois

*Taxis included on this trip

Day 1: Montrichard
Day 2: Montrichard to Chenonceaux 19.5km/5h00
Day 3: Chenonceaux to Amboise 15km/3h45
Day 4: Amboise to Chaumont 24km/6h00
Day 5: Chaumont to Blois 24km/6h00
Day 6: Blois

PACKAGE DETAILS

Day 1: Blois

Situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours, Blois is the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France.

In 1986, Blois was given the “Ville d’art et d’histoire” label, a description awarded by the Ministry of Culture to cities that work to enhance and protect their heritage.

Day 2: Blois to Chambord 17,5km/4h30

7 day itinerary taxi: Blois-Chambord – 17,5km/22min, then follow itinerary from Chambord to Bracieux and Bracieux to Cheverny.

 

Today’s itinerary begins in the centre of Blois near the railway station: ‘Place de la gare’, and you will see two castles (Blois and Chambord)! There is no question that you are in the heart of Loire Valley, the land of castles.

 

Note: Accommodation in Chamord is limited so you will spend two nights in Blois on our 12 day and 8 day itineraries. Transfers will be provided from Chambord to Blois and back the following morning. Only upgraded accommodation is available in Chambord itself.

Day 3: Chambord to Bracieux 15.5km/4h00

This small town is best known as the location of the Château de Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley. It is one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture.

The Chambord castle appears suddenly at the edge of a path, and the sight of its white massive structure that widens and takes shape, little by little, produces a dramatic impression, which is even more striking at sunset.

After visiting the castle (even if you did it yesterday), you will walk to Bracieux. In this stage, you will cross the unspoilt nature of Loire Valley and its famous vineyards.

Day 4: Bracieux to Cheverny 18.5km/4h45

You have now reached a pleasant hamlet called Bracieux. Breath in the peaceful atmosphere of this area.

After reaching “Les Ogonières”, walk along and across a small lake called “Le Grand Cotlereau”. Now, the road to Cheverny is “Le chemin aux boeufs”, an ancient way, which was used to transfer bullock herds from Limousin to Paris.

 

After crossing Cheverny forest you enter the town where you will stop for the night.

Day 5: Cheverny to Fougères 16km/4h45

Cheverny lies in the Loire Valley, about 10 km southeast of Blois. The present Château de Cheverny is the prized jewel among the other famous monuments that stretch along the Loire Valley. The Belgian comic book creator Hergé used Cheverny as a model for his fictional “Château de Moulinsart” (Marlinspike Hall) in The Adventures of Tintin books.

 

From the church in the centre of Cheverny, follow the road toward Contres. Keep your eyes open for more castles as you go. There is plenty of history and wine along this stage before you reach Fougères.

 

7 day itinerary taxi: Cheverny-Montrichard – 29,3km/35min, then follow itinerary from Montrichard to Chenonceaux and Chenonceaux to Amboise.

Day 6: Fougères to Thésée 19.5km/4h55

Often called Fougères, the town is more correctly called Fougères-sur-Bièvre. Visit the castle here that dates bac to the Middle-Ages, the beautiful church and the wash-houses.

Your next stop is Choussy. Take the time to see the ruined “Abbaye de Cornilly” along the way, an old and authentic abbey built in the XI century. Walk past the mill, through the forest and along to another castle (Gué-Pan castle) and enter in Thésée.

Day 7: Thésée to Montrichard 15.5km/4h25

In the small town of Thésée you can see the Gallo-Roman vestiges, “Bâtiments des Maselles”. Walking in the direction of Tours, you will pass striking 2nd-century buildings.

If you have time on the way to Monthou, visit the “Champignonière des Roches”. Nother lovely old castle that you will pass in the way to Montrichard is the Vallagon castle.

Day 8: Montrichard to Chenonceaux 19.5km/5h00

Montrichard is dominated by the gorgeous ruined medieval castle, Château de Montrichard.  The castle was constructed by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou, and rebuilt in the 12th century.

The 6 day itinerary starts here.

Leaving the town you will go along Cher River. Follow the path to Chissay, Saint-Georges, Franceuil and Chenonceaux; places which combine history with culture and heritage. The entrance to the Chenonceaux castle looks like something out of a fairytale. You’ll see it 1km before you cross Cher River and enter the town.

Day 9: Chenonceaux to Amboise 15km/3h45

About 26 km east of Tours, Chenonceaux is situated on the right bank of the Cher River. It is a small but beautiful village in the Touraine-Chenonceaux wine-growing area, right next to the Forest of Amboise.

After visiting Chenonceaux castle, go to Civray-de-Touraine and follow the trail to Amboise through the forest. Enjoy the small lakes and idyllic clearings at every turn of the way.

Day 10: Amboise to Chaumont 24km/6h00

Amboise is famous for the Clos Lucé manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived at the invitation of King Francis I of France. He stayed in Château d’Amboise, which is located just 500 metres away from the town.


7 day itinerary taxi: Amboise-Chaumont – 19,9km/20min, then follow itinerary from Chaumont to Blois.

From Amboise, continue through unspoilt landscapes of vineyards and forest to reach Sauvigny-de-Touraine. Onwards, you’ll come across Rilly-sur-Loire on the border of Loire River, authentic and typical town of Loire Valley. When you enter Chaumont, you can admire the splendour of Chaumont castle.

Day 11: Chaumont to Blois 24km/6h00

Chaumont-sur-Loire is a charming village on the banks of the Loire. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chaumont-sur-Loire is known for its feudal castle which stands tall over the valley and the village.

Walk along the Loire River, a peaceful and pleasant meadner. After crossing the areas of Candé-sur-Beuvron and Chailles, you will pass through a stretch of vineyards. Take a break to admire the magical landscapes at sunset before you enter the city of Blois.

Day 12: Blois

The late-Gothic Blois Cathedral and quaint cobbled streets are wonderful yo explore before finishing your French walking holiday through the Loire Valley.

We can arrange extra nights anywhere on the itinerary, either during your trip or after you finish. We can also arrange a station or airport transfer. Please get in touch with us at info@onefootabroad.com for more info.

INCLUDED AND NOT

  • 11 nights in 2*
  • 11 Breakfast
  • Roadbook (Guidebook)
  • Luggage Transfer
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Transfer from/to airport
  • Extra night stays
  • Upgrade Hotels: 3* or 4*

Access

Way in: To Blois

Best airport is Tours. Other possible airports: Paris Orly and Paris Charles De Gaulle orNantes.
Check train transfers below to choose the most convenient airport

Tours Airport, 65 km west of Blois’ downtown.
Daily direct flights:
Tours – London Stanted (1.20 hrs) – Ryanair
Tours – Dublin (1.30 hrs) – Ryanair
Nantes – Dublin (1.30 hrs) – Ryanair/Air France/KLM  Daily TGV from/to:
Tours (Saint-Pierre des Corps) – Blois (30 min)
Paris – Blois (2.20 hrs) – 1 connection in Saint-Pierre des Corps (Tours)
Nantes – Blois (2.15 hrs) – 1 connection in Angers or Saint-Pierre des Corps (Tours)

Details on prices and time on the sncf website.

Motorway:
 Tours/Blois: 65 km (A10)
Paris/Blois: 185 km (A10)
Nantes/Blois: 280 km (A11, then A85 after Angers and A10 in Tours)

Way back: From Montrichard

Montrichard – Saint-Pierre des Corps (Tours) (30 min)
Details on prices and time on the sncf website.

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