The lush Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France.” The region is filled with seemingly endless châteaux. This is no surprise as the area was a retreat for French royalty in the 15th and 16th centuries. With a prime location just a couple of hours from Paris it’s easy to enjoy a weekend getaway to the Loire Valley.
A Weekend Getaway to the Loire Valley
How to Get to the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is easily accessible from Paris, making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway. A train ride from central Paris to Tours is just over an hour long. By car, the drive is about two and a half hours from Paris. Relax and let a private driver take you and enjoy the scenery on the way. Having access to a private driver or car while in the Loire Valley is also beneficial, as the various châteaux, gardens, and wineries are a bit spread out.
Begin the weekend with a special vineyard tour, wine tasting, and candlelit dinner inside a troglodyte cave. Set alongside the banks of the Vienne River, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the fascinating views. You’ll meet a team of passionate wine producers and enjoy a tasting with local products. Then, sit down and enjoy a gourmet candlelit meal prepared by a gastronomic chef inside a troglodyte cave.
Day One: Private Guided Visit to Three Fabulous Châteaux with a Wine Tasting
Your private driver and licensed guide will pick you up from your hotel for a wonderful day of châteaux, stunning gardens, and wine tastings.
Begin your day at Château de Chenonceau, the prestigious castle surrounded by water. Known as the “Château des Dames,” it was mainly women who decided the château’s destiny and history. Built by Kathrine Briçonnet in 1513, it was later enriched and transformed by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, to name but a few. Revisit the period between the Renaissance and the 17th century on your promenade through the royal domain. You’ll cover it all from the ancient keep and the remains of the medieval fortified mill to Diane de Poitiers’ Renaissance gardens.
Lunch will be in the picturesque medieval town of Amboise before a walk around the Royal Château d’Amboise. The château is an architectural wonder that transitions from Gothic to Renaissance styles and was the residence of Charles VIII and Francois I. See Saint Hubert Chapel, the final resting place of the great Leonardo da Vinci and Château du Clos Lucé, da Vinci’s last residence.
In the afternoon, visit the Château de Villandry. The very extensive gardens are sure to be a highlight of the visit. Although the château is best known for its French formal garden, you’ll also see the vegetable garden, the ornamental garden, the water garden, the “Jardin du Soleil” and the herb garden.
The day will finish with a relaxing stop at a vineyard to sample a few delightful local wines.
Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
Relais de Chambord
Just a four minute walk from the Château de Chambord, this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. It is set in a truly 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 beam with natural light. Every room is unique and offers a slightly different charm thanks to the velvets, woods, ceramics and lighting used. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the Cosson River, Place Saint-Louis or the forest.
Enjoy the daily buffet breakfast. The restaurant prepares modern French cuisine. You can also have lunch at the bar.
The hotel’s wellness area is open every day and has a hammam, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and tea room.
Day Two: Full Day Private Wine Tour of Clos Roussely, Caves Plou and Vouvray
With the Loire River, the north meets the south in this part of France. Wines in this region have both a freshness and roundness and are produced using both traditional and modern methods. Thanks to the mild climate and all of the different “terroirs,” there is a wonderful diversity of wines: 11 grape varieties and 50 appellations and PDO for 70,000 hectares of vineyards.
There is a large choice among the fruity and delicate rosés, reds ranging from easy-drinking to complex, and whites ranging from dry to sweet. Also, don’t miss the Crémants, wonderful sparkling wines produced in the same way as Champagne. Most Loire Valley wines use a single grape variety, making them ideal for food pairings.
The Loire Valley winemakers will be happy and proud to welcome you to share their passion. Your private guide will lead you through this unique day in the heart of outstanding landscapes or in spectacular troglodyte cellars.
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, this 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 paneling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens await exploration. The historic building offers rooms with a classic “château” feeling, whereas the cottages nearby are more modern.
As the sun starts to go down, enjoy a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and choose between the menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.
Spend a day relaxing by the pool or indulging at the Caudalie spa. Private trainers and yoga classes are available on request.
Take advantage of the Loire Valley’s central location in France and enjoy a weekend getaway. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.