All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
Magnificent châteaux - Chambord and Chenonceau
Historic riverside towns
Based in the regional capital of the Loire in medieval Tours
Light crisp white and sparkling wines – with two tastings included
The building boom of the 15th and 16th century along the banks of the River Loire, inspired and funded by the French monarchy and aristocracy, has left a legacy of marvellous buildings and towns, some of which are explored on this new tour. Based in the regional capital, Tours, highlights include the chateaux at Blois, Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise, and Moncontour (with wine-tasting) as well as Fontevraud Abbey and a further wine tasting in Saumur.
Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris and onwards by TGV to St Pierre des Corps. On arrival, transfer the short distance to the Hotel Oceania Univers, Tours.
Day 2: Morning guided walking tour of Tours, afternoon wine tasting in Vouvray before Christmas Eve dinner at a local restaurant.
Riverside Tours is the regional capital of the Loire and a beautiful medieval city. Our guided walking tour will take in most of the main sights including the heart of the city, the Place Plumereau, Romanesque Tour Charlemagne and Cathédrale St-Gatien. The afternoon is spent in the renowned wine town of Vouvray with a visit and wine tasting at the Chateau Moncontor.
Day 3: Full day free with Christmas Day lunch at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Full day tour to Fontevraud Abbey and Saumur.
Founded in 1101, the Abbaye de Fontevraud is a remarkable self-contained complex of ecclesiastical buildings that include amazing Romanesque kitchens, beautiful cloisters, superb paintings and effigies and a grand refectory. The charming small town of Saumur, famed for its sparkling wines, is great for exploring on foot. Highlights here include its storybook chateau, dating from the 14th century, Eglise St-Pierre, Gothic town hall and atmospheric old town. We will enjoy a tasting of its famous sparkling wine whilst here and learn about its production.
Day 5: Full day tour to Chateau de Chenonceau and Amboise.
Perhaps the most distinctive of all the Loire chateaux, Chenonceau extends over the River Cher with a 60-metre gallery, whose elegant proportions are reflected in the languid water. Described by Flaubert as “floating on air and water,” it was built as a romantic pleasure palace by a series of aristocratic women and boasts formal gardens and grandiose interiors as well as beautifully proportioned and elegant architectural features. The town of Amboise not only boasts a chateau but is the final resting place of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Chapelle St-Hubert.
Day 6: Full day tour to the Chateau de Chambord and Blois.
The Loire’s largest building, Chambord’s design was probably initiated by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1537 and was the brainchild of the extravagant Francois I who suggested diverting the River Loire to flow directly in front of his chateau. This 440-room edifice was finally completed by Louis XIV in 1685. The lovely riverside town of Blois is dominated by its chateau, which was the primary royal residence until Henri IV moved the court to Paris in 1598. It is renowned for its extravagant staircase, dating back to 1515 and a masterpiece of French Reniassance design.
Day 7: Transfer to St Pierre des Corps station for return TGV and Eurostar to Ebbsfleet or St Pancras.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.
PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying luggage onto and off the train. Luggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras, but bags do need to be carried onto the platform.
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890
Oceania Univers Hotel, Tours
The four-star Oceania Hotel in Tours is a traditional, Belle-Epoque style building in the heart of the city, that has recently undergone a complete renovation. Facilities here include bar, restaurant, indoor pool, spa and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.
Oceania Univers Hotel Website
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Review by Anonymous who travelled 23-December-2018
The tour was interesting, although a little difficult at times due to the extremely cold weather - but in mid December this is only to be expected. The L'Univers hotel in Tours was excellent - spacious rooms and staff who were friendly and professional. The food in the restaurant was of good quality. The two restaurants used as part of the trip were adequate. The L'Accalmie meal was OK, although the restaurant location - next door to a property housing sub- Saharan immigrants in not very salubrious conditions - was not Ideal. The Leonardo da Vinci restaurant served good food. The tour could be have been rebalanced - that is to say the day that comprised the Chateau de Chenonceau followed by a visit to Amboise involved too little time at the Chateau, too much time in Amboise. The following day - Chateau de Chambord and Blois was again unbalanced. Blois is an interesting town that deserves, say, threequarters of a day rather than 3/4 hours. If it were combined with a wine tasting this would make a full, interesting day. The two wine tastings were variable - the first, for Vouvray, was a shambles. No tour of the cellars, no oral presentation, no organisation of distribution of samples, the sole member of staff on duty being more concerned with serving the French customers who were, not unexpectedly, constantly coming in to buy wine for Christmas. The second tasting was the complete opposite - well organised, an excellent tour of the cellars, and a professionally organised tasting of four different wines. The Tour Manager Gary Smith was most helpful to my travelling companion, who became unwell during our stay. Equally, he was helpful to myself over an issue with my Eurostar ticket. At the same time, he needs to be a little more proactive in leading and organising the tour - more on-coach information on the places we are visiting and general history/ background on the places being passed through on the coach. And more proactivity with regard to the organisation of various events - for example the shambolic Vouvray wine tasting referred to above. In Gary's shoes I would have torn the wine producer off a strip for non-organisation and discourtesy, pointing out that the tour party were paying for the visit, unlike the French customers simply purchasing wine. Finally, the transfer from Lille Europe to Lille Flandres station at the start of the trip does not require a coach - customers can simply walk for a maximum of ten minutes between one and the other. Awaiting the coach nearly caused us to miss our connection at Flandres.
Review by Butler who travelled 23-December-2018
Review by Anonymous who travelled 23-December-2018
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