The region of the Loire is one of the most important tourist areas of France. Its exceptional heritage, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, makes it a favourite destination for lovers of history and beautiful countryside. By going off the beaten track, those eager to learn more about the French ‘art de vivre’ can discover all the subtilities of this region rich in surprises. Gastronomy, wine tourism, art, history and heritage entwine, like the meanders of the Loire, to offer an unforgettable experience.
Vineyards or heritage, wine or culture? Why choose when our trips along the Loire River make you discover all the treasures and richness of the region!
With almost 3,000 châteaux along the length of the Loire valley, it would be impossible to list and visit them all in the course of one holiday. Each château tells a story, of its era and its customs. Proudly anchored in their region they are the legacy of the Kings of France and their court nobles. Royal chateaux or noblemen’s domaines, we have selected five of the most famous of them
The proximity of chalkstone quarries facilitated the construction of the châteaux of the Loire. The extraction of gigantic blocks of stone necessary for building, which were transported on the river, created numerous monumental troglodyte caves. Over time, some of them were turned into dwellings and others, due to their stable temperatures and hygrometry, were converted into wine cellars, like those of the Maison Ackerman, producer of the first sparkling wines in the Loire.
The Loire valley and its mild climate attracted the nobles of the court. It also contributed to the prosperity of the vineyards and the art of wine. The landscapes of the Loire and the vineyards that are so typical of this viticultural region are perfect for walking and hiking.
Vines have been growing here for over 2,000 years, but the wines of the Loire earned their reputation thanks to Henri II, Count of Anjou and later King of England, who took them across the Channel. The establishment of the court nobles in the Loire valley, followed by the bourgeoisie, contributed to the recognition of the wines from the region. The Loire, which gave access to the ocean, allowed the wines to be transported abroad, and the climate favoured the planting of new grape varieties.
After having nourished your soul, why not taste some of the emblematic wines of the Loire? Today wine tourism offers have expanded and numerous producers offer unique tastings, adapted to all levels. Don’t hesitate to try the elegant wines of the Château de Sancerre, the fruity wines of Domaine de la Perruche, the fine sparkling wines from the Maison Ackerman or the Caves Monmousseau, or the superbly structured wines from Château la Varière.
« The Loire wine route is one of the most extensive in France. But it also offers the most equilibrium and is the most reassuring. Equilibrium because here they have a taste for things that are balanced, and reassuring because the Loire winemakers can always be counted on to make wines that are sincere and convivial.
Le grand livre des vins de Loire, Michel Mastrojanni
If you’ve got five days to visit the châteaux and the Loire valley, It’s possible if you concentrate on the area between Sancerre and Brissac. You can even combine your holiday with the pleasure of wine tasting. The mornings are perfect for visiting your chosen châteaux, and the afternoons can be devoted to discovering the local countryside and its winemakers, and profit from a halt in their cool cellars or a stroll in the vineyards.
Good organisation makes for enjoyable holidays! Here are some example circuits that take in châteaux and vineyards, in the heart of the valley of the kings.
Day 1 – Morning : Château de Cheverny – Afternoon : Caves Monmousseau at Montrichard
Day 2 – Morning : Château d’Amboise – Afternoon : Domaine de la Perruche at Montsoreau
Day 3 – Morning : Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud – Afternoon: Maison Ackermanat Saumur
Day 4 – Morning : Château de Saumur – Afternoon : Château la Varière at Brissac
Day 5 – Morning : Château de Brissac
Day 1 – Morning Château de Brissac – Afternoon : Château la Varière at Brissac
Day 2 – Morning Château de Saumur – Afternoon : Maison Ackerman at Saumur
Day 3 – Morning Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud – Afternoon : Domaine de la Perruche at Montsoreau
Day 4 – Morning Château d’Amboise – Afternoon : Caves Monmousseau at Montrichard
Day 5 – Morning Château de Cheverny – Afternoon : Château de Sancerre, Tour des Fiefs