Would you like to experience a special VIP treatment during your VIP Loire Valley Castles tour?
VIP Tours will give you full satisfaction taking you on this unforgettable journey of 4 days in Loire Valley that will introduce you to the splendid castles of Loire Valley that are very important in the French history and to the most important cities of the region.
Your personal, licensed driver-guide who is a specialist of the history of Loire Valley Castles will pick you up at your hotel in a luxurious Mercedes minivan or car and will tailor your tour to your specific wishes and needs.
During the VIP Loire Valley Castles tour, on the way to the first visit (2 hours of driving), your personal driver-guide will give you first an introduction to the history of the Loire Valley Castles. You will begin the tour by a private visit of the Cathedral of Chartres built in 1193 and that is according to many, the supreme monument of High Gothic Art and Architecture. The 176 stain glass windows that make its worldwide reputation are filled with equally dense stain glass creating with their unearthly radiance, particularly the glow of the “Chartres blue” an atmosphere of awe and holiness that impresses even the most non-religious of visitors.
After the visit, you will make a break in a French “patisserie” enjoying one of their delicious pastries and, then, your personal driver-guide will drive you to Tours, the largest city in the Loire valley, located between the 2 Rivers, Loire and Cher. You will stroll in the old, medieval town, admire the Gothic St Catherine’s cathedral built between 1170 and 1527 and the ancient cobble stone streets with its half -timbered buildings, stop at the beautiful place Plumereau and have a closer look at the gardens of the former Archbishop’s Palace with the huge cedar tree planted by Napoleon.
After the visit of the old city, we will book lunch for you in a very nice, typical French restaurant or brasserie (not included in the price) .
After this culinary break, you personal driver-guide will take you to the Fontevraud Abbey, built between 1110 and 1190. The abbey was a double monastery (both nuns and monks lived at the same site) that became famous and prosperous. The founder Robert of Arbrissel declared that the head of the order should always be a woman. This position attracted many rich and noble women that became abbesses of Fontevraud such as Isabella of Anjou and Eleonor of Aquitaine the queen of England that retired there as a nun after her husband’s death. There, you will enjoy a private guided visit of the chapter house, the cloister galleries, the 3 monastery buildings and the abbey church where you will see the graves of King Henry II of England, his wife Eleonor of Aquitaine, their son Richard Ist (Lionheart) and their daughter Joan.
You will spend the night in or around Fontevraud (hotel not included in the price) where, if you need, we could book your dinner in a restaurant or brasserie.
On the second day, your personal driver-guide will drive you to the city of Angers, located in the French region of Anjou. Angers traces its roots back to Roman times. Famous for its flourishing market gardens, well known for its fresh produce and cut flowers, the city houses the 12C cathedral and abbey of St Aubin. A massive fortress located on a ridge overhanging the River Maine dominates it. As a tribute to its fortitude, any invading force in history has never taken the castle.
After the visit of the city, we will book lunch for you in a very nice, typical French restaurant or brasserie (not included in the price).
After this culinary break, you will take the road to Saumur located between the Loire and Thouet Rivers and surrounded by vineyards. Saumur is one of the most elegant towns of the Loire Valley with its graceful castle lording it over the handsome townhouses spread out below on both banks of the River and the large island mid-stream. Your personal driver-guide will take you for a guided visit of the castle. It was built in the 14C and turned into a more decorative and comfortable residence in the 15C. You will climb down to the dungeon and up into the watchtower before visiting the former Royal Apartments. Then, you will enjoy a walking tour in the city visiting the oldest church, Notre-Dame de Nantilly that houses a large tapestry collection in its Romanesque nave. You will finish the day by a wine tasting in the famous “Maison du Vin” to discover some of the famous Saumur wines.
You will spend the night in Saumur (hotel not included in the price) where, if you need, we could book your dinner in a restaurant or brasserie.
On the third day, you personal driver-guide will drive you to Chinon. This fantastic city developed itself especially during the Middle Ages. During the reign of Henry II (future king of England), it was extended and became one of his most famous residences. Chinon was included in 1205 into the French Royal estate. In 1429 Joan of Arc came to Chinon to meet the king and persuade him to give her an army to fight the English. Your personal driver-guide will take you for a visit of the spectacular line of towers and ramparts, the Grande Salle with a wall and first-floor fireplace where the meeting between Joan of Arc and the king took place, the Tour Coudray covered with 13C graffiti carved by imprisoned and doomed Templar knights and the Tour de l’Horloge that houses an eccentric little museum of Joan-related odds and ends.
After the visit, we will book lunch for you in a very nice, typical French restaurant or brasserie (not included in the price).
After this culinary break, your personnal driver-guide will lead you to Amboise a fascinating medieval town with its timbered 500 year old houses where you will enjoy a stroll, admiring the Royal Castle, built on a promontory overlooking the Loire, that became the favorite residence of the French Kings in the 16th century.
During the discovery of the old town, you will enjoy a private guided visit of the Clos Lucé Castle, the mansion where genius Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked the three last years of his life. You will visit his bedroom, his kitchen, his study, the Renaissance halls, the chapel, 40 of his lasts inventions. You will finish by the guided visit of the fantastic Park.
Then, your personal driver-guide will drive you to to the Villandry Castle, the last of the great Renaissance castles to be built on the banks of the Loire. It owes incontestably its fame to its exceptional gardens laid out on 3 levels in a happy marriage of beauty, diversity and harmony. The decorative kitchen gardens house a profusion of colorful flowers and vegetable plants in a chequerboard plan, the effect of the seasonal variation is an ever-changing 3 dimensional picture. The ornamental garden in box hedges, form musical symbols, but pride of place is going to hearts, scrolls, butterflies, allegories of love: tender, passionate, fickle and tragic. The water -garden, very tranquil and peaceful, ideal for relaxing and dreaming. The site is completed by an herb garden with medicinal and culinary plants and a maze called ” the Innocent’s Garden”.
You will spend the night in Tours (hotel not included in the price) where, if you need, we could book your dinner in a restaurant or brasserie.
On the fourth day, you personal driver-guide will take you to the Chenonceau Castle, an outstanding site due to its original design, the richness of its collections (Poussin, Il Correggio, Rubens…), its furniture, its splendid decorations and the French gardens. The Chenonceau Castle was loved, administrated and protected by extraordinary women who have marked history (Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medicis…).This emblematic Castle of the Loire Valley has combined the elegance, the beauty and the imagination of the French artists. The Room of the 5 Queens, the living room of Louis XIV, the Grand Gallery overlooking the Cher River, the Green Cabinet of Catherine de Medici, the Royal chapel takes you back in time to share the dreams of Chenonceau and reveal its secrets.
Then, you will go to the Blois Castle located in the center of the city. Built from the 13th to the 17th century (different styles and influences) around the main courtyard, the castle was the residence of several French Kings over different centuries. It was also the place where the Archbishop of Reims blessed Joan of Arc before departing with her army to deliver Orleans from the English.
There, we will book lunch for you in a very nice, typical French restaurant or brasserie (not included in the price) in the old town.
After the private guided visit of the castle, you will discover the fantastic Chambord Castle, the immense and unique palace of Francois I, built at the turn of the Renaissance period. You will take the double-turn spiral staircase designed by Leonardo da Vinci, where 2 people can go up and down without ever meeting, head to the Royal Apartments of François I and Louis XIV, immerse on the floor above in the world of royal hunts and continue to the Terraces where you will find yourself surrounded by roofing and chimneys forming a fairytale village, as suspended in the sky, that offers a magnificent panorama over the huge estate. Chambord is so much more than a castle: it is an architectural gem, a technical feat, a stone colossus, the dream of a young king.
After this private visit, your guide will drive you back to your hotel in Paris.
This tour due to the VIP treatment that we provide will leave you without doubt outstanding memories of these 3 days in Loire Valley.
(Entrance tickets included)