The so-called “Garden of France” is arguably at its best in the fall when it is blanketed in hues of yellow, gold, and deep oranges. From aboard a boat to on a bike and even from a hot air balloon, there are many ways to take in the stunning autumn scenery. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s top recommendations for a fall getaway to the Loire Valley.
A Fall Getaway to the Loire Valley
Experience Fall in the Chinon Vineyards with a Picnic and Boat Cruise
When you arrive at the winery in Chinon you’ll be greeted by a stunning display of golden vines. This will be a wonderful day for you to get to know this wine-producing region of the Loire Valley, to discover the banks of the Vienne River with its fabulous, colorful views, to taste local products, and most importantly to meet with the passionate producers.
Start your visit to the wine estate with a carriage ride in the vineyards. Afterwards, you’ll sit down to enjoy a chef-prepared gastronomic picnic on the banks of the Vienne River. If the weather is too chilly, there’s an option to enjoy the picnic in a troglodytic cellar. The day will finish with a ride in a traditional Loire Valley gabare boat along the Vienne River. The perfect opportunity to capture the Loire Valley in all its fall glory!
Private Guided Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Châteaux
What better way to discover the magnificent Loire Valley châteaux than with a hot air balloon ride over them? This experience is sure to be an unforgettable one, and a wonderful addition to a fall getaway in the Loire Valley. Depending on your preferences, you will be picked up at your hotel early in the morning or in the late afternoon in order to see the châteaux at sunrise or sundown.
Admire the absolutely breathtaking views of the châteaux and the splendid fall colors during the one-hour ride. A highlight is sure to be the aperitif from up above with great local products.
After the ride concludes, your guide can take you to visit either the Château de Chenonceau or the Chateau d’Amboise.
Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
Relais de Chambord
Located in Chambord, a four minute walk from the château, this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and is situated in an unrivaled location. With captivating views around almost every turn, you will get to know each turret and spire of the castle’s famous rooftop skyline from your hotel.
The stylish rooms, full of natural light, are equipped with a high-end comfort combining velvet, wood, ceramics, and lamps. Every room is unique, and each one slightly different in a charming and individual way. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the Cosson River, Place Saint-Louis, or the forest.
A buffet breakfast is served every morning. The restaurant prepares modern French cuisine. You can also have lunch at the bar, with its menu of snacks.
The hotel’s wellness area is open every day and has a hammam, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and tea room.
Visit the Château de Villandry, Château de L’Islette, and the Vouvray Wine Region
Enjoy a comprehensive day of discovering the best of the Loire Valley in just one day. You’ll have the opportunity to visit two fabulous châteaux and two Vouvray wine estates.
Start your day with the stunning Château de Villandry, a Renaissance jewel of a château with plenty of French heritage. During the tour, you will travel in time from the Renaissance to 18th-century France. One of the highlights of your day will surely be the exploration of Villandry’s gorgeous formal gardens. This beautiful and delicately-manicured landscape masterpiece will be especially decked out for the fall for a unique perspective.
Afterwards, you’ll be off to the private Château de L’Islette. As you drive up, you’ll be amazed by the sight unfolding in front of you. The French family that inherited this historical château still lives there today.
Finally, you will head to Vouvray to discover the beautiful wine area filled with passionate winegrowers. Vouvray is well-known for its sparkling and white wines. You’ll meet a genuine French winemaker in a charming family-run estate. During this visit, you will improve your knowledge of winemaking. And before saying au revoir, you will share an aperitif à la française made up of local products like cheese, rillettes, and fresh baguette, paired with local wine of course!
Discover the Loire Valley by Bike
Before the biking begins, you’ll begin your day with a visit to one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period. The gardens are absolutely wonderful and not to be missed while in the region.
You’ll then bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village, where you’ll will stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and some wine. You’ll want to bring a camera along to capture the beautiful fall reflections on the Loire River.
Afterwards, ride to Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre River is quite simply stunning, especially when the trees are yellow. At the end of the day, stop at a vineyard in Vouvray to visit a cellar and taste the region’s delicious local sparkling wine. It’ll be an excellent way to cap off a memorable fall day in the Loire Valley.
Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
Les Sources de Cheverny
Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, the striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.
Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. The 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood panelling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building the beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored. The historic building offers rooms with a classic “château” feeling, whereas the cottages nearby offer a more modern decor.
As the sun starts to go down, it’s time for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and take your pick of mouth-watering menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.
Days are made for relaxing by the pool, or indulging at the Caudalie Spa. Private coaching and yoga classes are available on request.
We hope these recommendations for a fall getaway to the Loire Valley help inspire a future trip. We would love to help you plan a dream vacation to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, and Normandy. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!