Loire Valley Tours - Castles & Wine

There is nowhere better in France than the Loire Valley to give you a real taste of the sweet way of life. The mildness of its climate, the tasty local cuisine and wine and the hearty welcome of the Touraine people are guaranteed to make this a trip of a lifetime. 

 

5.0
Margaret & Rob
We would like to add our names to everyone else here who have had a truly excellent experience when using Emilie's, France Just For You company. We drove 2800 km on a recent …
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3850

The Loire Valley's Heritage & Gastronomy

Region
in Loire Valley

Be seduced by France Just For You's very special way of discovering the Loire Valley, its must sees and hidden beauties. In this itinerary, you will experience the "sweet life" in Touraine, stopping over in little villages to savour goat cheese or taste amazing wines. Take the time to relax in rose gardens, or to enjoy the traditional cuisine in many small restaurants frequented by the locals.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Gourmet Experience
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3180

The Loire Valley & Bordeaux UNESCO sites

Region
in Loire Valley & Bordeaux

Uncover every hideaway of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux UNESCO heritage. Taste typical regional food at your Hosts’ table and stay at Bed & Breakfasts with unique atmospheres.

Heritage & History
Villages & Markets
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3350

Scenic Roads & French Cuisine

Region
in Loire Valley, Bordeaux & Dordogne

Travel through three of the most fascinating regions in France. Let your friendly Hosts introduce you to the French "sweet life" in their charming B&Bs.

Wine Tasting
Villages & Markets
Sceneries
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3200

The diversity of French Landscapes

Region
in Loire Valley, Dordogne & Provence

Let yourself be carried away by three of the most iconic regions of France. From the Vallée de la Loire's "sweet life" to Dordogne's castles and Provence's colorful landscapes, you'll have a most enjoyable journey!

Wine Tasting
Villages & Markets
Sceneries
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 3880

Castles, Caves & Coves

Region
in Loire Valley, Dordogne, Carcassonne & French Riviera

Discover French culture and history through 3 of its most representative regions: the Loire Valley, Dordogne and the Riviera, with a nice stop in Carcassonne.

Wine Tasting
Villages & Markets
Art & Museums
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4050

The "Tour de France"

Region
in Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Dordogne & Provence

France Just For You has organized its own very special Tour de France. No need for a bike but be ready for a great deal of adventure! This itinerary will take you off the beaten path to all the must sees & dos throughout 4 of the most enthralling regions of France.

Wine Tasting
Villages & Markets
Gourmet Experience
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3810

Normandy & the Loire Valley Loop

Region
in Normandy & Loire Valley

Normandy & the Loire are 2 regions of France you should not miss: climate is mild, people is very welcoming and history is around every corner.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Sceneries
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4090

The Center of France on the Back Roads

Region
in Champagne, Burgundy, Loire Valley & Normandy

Back roads are the best way to discover France at your own pace and get a real feel for the country.

Heritage & History
Villages & Markets
Sceneries
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3480

Sceneries, Wineries & Castles in the Heart of France

Region
in Burgundy & Loire Valley

Explore thoroughly 2 "very French" regions, both famous for their gastronomy, wines; beautiful landscapes and very rich heritage.

Wine Tasting
Villages & Markets
Sceneries
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3080

Heritage, Wine & Back Roads

Region
in Paris, Normandy & Loire Valley

Get a taste of the real France in very typical regions famous for their cultural heritage as well as their sweet way of life.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Sceneries
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3620

Normandy beaches, the Loire river banks & Paris

Region
in Normandy, Loire Valley & Paris

Follow the waterways in France from the Norman beaches on the Atlantic coasts to the Loire river, its castles and wonderful gardens…ending along the Seine river banks in Paris.

Heritage & History
Villages & Markets
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3150

Chateaux of the Loire & Norman History

Region
in Loire Valley & Normandy

From the Loire Valley castles, to the famous Mount Saint Michel village surrounded by waters, the landings beaches and the Norman hinterland…to end the trip at Monet’s house in Giverny: you’ll have to keep your eyes wide open!

Heritage & History
Sceneries
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4650

Northern France at your own pace

Region
in Paris, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary gives you the perfect tour of Northern France: from Paris to the Loire castles and gastronomy, ending in Normandy with the landing sites, the hinterland and beautiful Giverny.

Heritage & History
Gourmet Experience
Sceneries
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 4880

Northern France Must Sees & Hidden Beauties

Region
in Burgundy, Loire Valley, Normandy & Paris

This is the best itinerary to thoroughly discover the Northern part of France: from the Burgundy vineyards to the Loire Valley castles, Normandy WWII history…ending in the worldwide famous capital of France: Paris.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Sceneries
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 2930

Paris, Burgundy Gastronomy & Loire Castles

Region
in Paris, Burgundy & Loire Valley

This itinerary will have you discover the French gastronomy in 3 regions which are worldwide famous for their food and wines: Burgundy and the Loire Valley are actually arguing about where the Coq au Vin was invented first. Burgundy is famous for the wine sauce and the Loire Valley for the river fishes, the fruits and the goat cheeses. Eventually Paris is just heaven to the gourmets: this is true: you’ll find in Paris among the best boulangeries in the world and the food markets are amazing.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
1 day
Price
US$ 315

Romantic Day Tour in the Loire Valley

Region
in Loire Valley

How to Get There If you are already in the Loire Valley, we can plan your day from your accommodation. If you are in Paris, you may take a 1 hour high speed train to Tours train station. For this special day, we plan for you to get an overview of the diversity of the Loire Valley. Bike Ride in the Loire You will start the day on a bike ride, to enjoy the countryside at your own pace. If you don’t feel like biking a lot, we can also rent an electric bike for you. We will provide everything you need, including several itineraries from 20 kms – 13 miles to 50 kms – 31 miles. In all circuits, you …

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 4780

From Paris to Biarritz on the back roads

Region
in Paris, Loire Valley, Dordogne & Basque Country

From Paris to Toulouse, this trip will take you on the backroads. Take the time to visit some of the hidden castles of the Loire Valley, enjoy duck confit in Dordogne, and drive on the scenic roads of the Basque Country.

Villages & Markets
Sceneries
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 6080

Self-Driving around France - from Paris to Nice

Region
in Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Provence & French Riviera

Spend about a month to travel from Paris to Nice on the French Riviera and get a real feel for France!

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Sceneries
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 5950

The Many Facets of France

Region
in Burgundy, Dordogne, Bordeaux, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary is for independent travelers who already know the South coast of France and who are looking for discovering the “inside” of the country.

Wine Tasting
Villages & Markets
Gourmet Experience
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 6450

From Provence to Paris - Immersion into the "Real France"

Region
in Provence, Basque Country, Dordogne, Loire Valley & Paris

This itinerary will take you from South to North over some of the most typical and beautiful French scenic roads. We recommend flying into Marseille airport.

Heritage & History
Villages & Markets
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 6240

Paris, the Loire Valley and Normandy at a slower pace

Region
in Paris, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary will take you to 3 of the richest regions of France, at a relaxed pace and away from the beaten tracks. We recommend flying into and out of Paris on this itinerary.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3160

From Verdun history to the Loire castles

Region
in Verdun, Burgundy & Loire Valley

This itinerary gives a nice overview of the center of France: from Verdun WWI battlefields to the wine and heritage of Burgundy, ending in the Loire Valley with its gardens, castles and sweet life.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3750

France for Wine Lovers

Region
in Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Burgundy & Champagne

This itinerary is designed for gourmet travelers who aim at discovering about the French wines. Our tours also mix heritage, culture, nice strolls, gardens etc. In this tour, you will stay in wineries, by vineyards & in wine towns. An asbolute must for wine lovers !

Wine Tasting
Gourmet Experience
Sceneries
Loire Valley Loire Valley

The Loire Valley Castles

Perhaps one of the most magnificent things you’ll see during your time here are the freestone chateaux strung out along the Loire river. These include the Château de Chambord, the Château d'Amboise, the Château de Chenonceau and Chinon Castle, all showcasing the greatness of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. 

Officially there are about 42 castles, also known as the Chateaux de la Loire. However, if you are ready to venture away from the Loire River, you’ll discover hundreds of architectural gems that have remained unknown to most travelers. This magnificent region will take you back to a more romantic time, characterised by balls, banquets, and power struggles.  You will feel like Kings and Queens walking up and down the spiral staircases and along the tapestry galleries, royal bedrooms, and large courts and gardens.

 

Many Experiences in the Loire Valley

However, our Loire Valley tours are not only about castles. There are plenty of other activities here that can make your trip even more special: hot air balloon rides, wine tasting, outdoor activities (such as kayaking or cycling along the Loire River), enjoying the tantalising array of local food and so much more. 

For something a bit more relaxed, visitors are encouraged to go for a wander off the beaten track, following the twists of the Loire River as it winds between breathtaking chateaux, vineyards, beautifully manicured gardens and dense forests. 

 

The Loire Valley Map

The most interesting part of the Loire region - also known as Castle Country - spreads along the Loire River from Blois (upstream) down to Saumur.

In 2000, the Loire Valley was listed as a UNESCO protected site for its natural beauty from Sully sur Loire to Chalonnes. The area envelops the remarkable cities of Tours, Orléans, Blois, Saumur and Chinon and of course the castles of the Loire Valley such as the Chateau de Chambord, the Chateau de Chenonceau and many more. 

map loire valley

 

  • Northern Loire Valley

The most famous and most visited sites of the Loire Valley are in the North-East part of the region, closer to Paris. Chambord and Chenonceau are in constant battle with each other for the title of ‘the most visited site of the region’ with about 800,000 visitors a year. Due to their popularity, we provide some tips on how to see these gorgeous places whilst avoiding the crowds as much as possible on our Loire Valley tours.

Less famous but still fascinating is Cheverny castle. This chateau inspired Belgian comic book creator Hergé to design Moulinsard castle, which featured in The Adventures of Tin-Tin. It is one of the few places where you can see hunting hounds (still hunting in the Sologne woods) and the castle is sure to blow you away as its interiors are exceptionally well preserved. Chaumont castle has also gained fame for its annual International Garden Festival, which brings together and delights flower lovers from all over the world.

Amboise is one of the easiest base camps from which to explore the Northern Loire Valley on our self guided tours. The city itself is charming and has a beautiful castle, the Clos Lucé – where Leonardo Da Vinci lived in the last years of his life.

It also has some nice restaurants and a vast array shops. Amboise is also the home of the best chocolate and pastry maker in the whole region as well as a relatively unknown cellar where you can choose from a staggering selection of old wines (you might even be able to buy a bottle of Loire Valley wine from the year you were born).

 

  • Southern Loire Valley

For those who would like to venture off the beaten track, allow us to present to you the Southern Loire Valley, passing the city of Tours. Even if the castles might not be as big and impressive as in Northern Loire, this region is sure to delight visitors with its small villages, hillside vineyards and beautiful gardens such as those at the Chateau de Villandry.

History lovers will also be impressed by Loches fortress and Fontevraud Abbey. If you have a penchant for castles, you're in for a treat. Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais, Candé, Montrésor are just a few of the Châteaux of the Loire you will find here. We are more than happy to tailor your castle experience according to the type of architecture and history you like best.

 

Getting to the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is very easy to reach from Paris. From downtown Paris or CDG Airport, the Loire is only around 3 hours by car. With a quick stop somewhere to stretch your legs, it will be an easy journey. The Loire is also only 1hr on the High Speed Train (TGV) from Paris - however it is difficult to get automatic cars in Tours and therefore we usually recommend that our travelers pick up a rental car in Paris. 

For those who want to see several different regions, the Loire Valley is just a 3 and half hour drive from the Normandy Landing Sites and the Bordeaux Vineyards. For those who want to continue their trip by heading to Provence, there are some direct trains from Tours to Avignon in Provence. 

 

Loire Valley Accommodations : Hotels, B&Bs, Castles

The Loire Valley is a popular region of France and, unless you are just there on a day trip from Paris, you will be able to choose from a selection of fantastic local accommodations. The most famous hotels are located in Blois, Amboise and Tours, right in the middle of the best-known areas.

We have selected accommodations away from the crowds - mostly Bed & Breakfasts and boutique hotels - in the Loire region so our travelers can feel at home. You will have the opportunity to interact with the locals and be perfectly located to explore the region on your Loire Valley driving tour.

For those who dream about staying in a French chateau, we have handpicked a few chateau hotels so your dream can finally become a reality. For one night (or several) you will feel like the Kings and Queens of France!

Castle accommodation in the Loire Valley

 

What to do in the Loire Valley

Now it’s time to talk about the most famous Loire Valley castles. There are certainly some that should take priority on your itinerary. We live in the Loire region and are therefore well positioned to recommend the best castles in the region, both on and off the beaten track. Let us know what interests you and we will design a schedule that matches your wishes for your Loire Valley driving tour. 

Do you like medieval or Renaissance castles? Or are you more interested in religious sites such as chapels, churches, abbeys and cathedrals? Perhaps you would rather spend your time on a visiting wineries, cheese producers and restaurants? We love sharing the best our region has to offer with foreigners so tell us what interests you and let us do the rest.

 

Castles, Castles... but not only Castles...

For history or heritage lovers, the Loire Valley is pretty much Heaven on earth. If you would like to see some of our favorite Loire Valley castles, you check our Loire castles pictures.

However, the Loire Valley has much more to offer than just its castles. We will make sure your daily itineraries are varied and balanced so you won't get overwhelmed with French history.

loire valley castle

Brézé Castle in the Loire Valley

 

  • Gardens in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley hosts some of the most beautiful gardens in France. The French style gardens at the Chateau de Villandry are pristine and a true marvel. But garden lovers can also tour many other sites such as Valmer, Candé or St Cosme and be really surprised by the quality of the gardens. Mixing art and gardening, the International Garden Festival in Chaumont sur Loire is also a great day out. 

Villandry gardens in the loire

Villandry Gardens in the Loire Valley

 

  • Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley

For wine lovers and connoisseurs, a driving tour of the Loire Valley will be an unforgettable experience. Vineyards line the road and stretch out as far as the eye can see. An impressive range of wines can be found in this region, from the red wines of Chinon to the sparkling white wines of Vouvray.

We have selected several wineries to include in our Loire Valley tours where visitors can enjoy wine tours with a qualified English-speaking winemaker or sommelier. White wines from Saumur or Montlouis, rosés from Anjou or red wines from Chinon, Bourgueil or Touraine are all on offer, so sip away until you find the one you like best.

wine tasting loire valley

Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley - ©Stevens Frémont

 

You can enjoy simple wine tastings, or advanced wine and cheese pairings where you may match the local wines with some local delicacies. Most of the tastings take place in the wine cellars where the wines are aged. You will enjoy an authentic ambiance while you sample these regional specialities.

If that’s not enough, you can also go on a private tour with a passionate wine guide who will take you to several wineries for a unique wine experience. The program can be tailor-made according to the type of wine you like. Don't worry - we will arrange for a driver to take you back to your B&B. 

 

  • Loire à Vélo Bike Tour

The Loire Valley is a flat region offering pleasant biking trails along the Loire River and its tributaries. Many of the Loire Valley castles are quite close to each other and easily reachable by bike so this is a great way to get outside and see the best of the region. 

"Loire à Vélo" was recently created to offer trails along the Loire River, designed to allow cyclists an easy passage from Blois to Nantes.

For those who are particularly interested in cycling holidays, we have a great full day biking tour along the Loire River. We provide you with all the information you need to make the most of this beautiful route.

Loire à vélo

Biking along the Loire River - ©David Darrault

 

The Loire Valley Cuisine

The Loire is not just about wine. The Loire River has always been a means of transportation, especially in the past centuries. This has made the Loire cuisine very rich and varied, as it has benefitted from the commerce relations that have always existed in the area.  

You can learn more about the fouées, the rillettes or poires tapées checking the Loire Valley Gastronomy page.  

loire gastronomy

Rillettes de Tours - ©Stevens Frémont

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Bonnie
A wonderful trip through Provence and the Riviera planned and organized by Emilie. Stayed in lovely B&Bs and had enough scheduled activities and free time. Emilie provided lots of options of things to do and a complete package for the traveler. Would highly recommend!
Jim
If you want to experience France, but are hesitant because you don’t speak the language, this company is for you. Emilie will prepare an itinerary that is so detailed that even the most inexperienced, non-French speaking traveler will be able to navigate France. Her attention to detail is so incredible that almost everything sitiuation you …
Marlene & Terry
Emilie, You are the best! Everything you selected for us was perfect in every way. All the tickets, tours and reservations were handled well and we thank you for arranging such a beautiful vacation. We are recommending you to everyone we talk to. If you are ever in Toronto, we would be happy to host you and Guillaume!

Our Travelers’ Photos

Scott & Linda
From Australia
In Mont Saint Michel
Christina & her niece
from Australia
In the Wolves Sanctuary in Guéret
Yvette & David
from the US
on the French Riviera, near Nice
Amy
from the US
Enjoying a great view in Burgundy
Scott
From Australia
Making "chou" buns in the Loire Valley
Ann & Jim
From the US
In Amboise castle by the Loire river
Michele, Jacques, Nicole, Gaetan, Joanne & Keith
from Canada
In the Loire Valley
Bob & Naomi
From the US
In Monet's gardens in Giverny, Normandy
Deborah & Richard
from the US
On Omaha Beach, Normandy
Tonia & Peter
from Canada
at the Louvre Museum in Paris
Nancy & Paul
from Canada
On the French Riviera
Kathy & Mark
from the US
Truffle Hunting in Provence