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trip by 4* coach, on-board drinks and snacks, guided castles tour by bus, guided tours at castles, 2 nights in 2* hotel (double or twin room), guided tour Blois Castle, entrance fees Blois, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise and Chambord castles, great group of international people, a lifetime memory
breakfast, breakfast, 2 nights in 3* hotel, Clos de Lucé (Da Vinci's house), lunch at Chenonceau
Child ticket available:
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The incredible density of castles in the Loire valley | Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) (Own Work), via Wikimedia Commons
The Loire Valley is located about 200km South from Paris and is often called the Cradle of the French or the Garden of France due to its many orchards and vineyards. Nowadays it is primarily known for the high number of castles, some of which are just exquisite. During this trip we will see many of them and visit five exceptional ones: Blois, Cheverny, Chenonceau, Amboise, and Chambord.
by Diliff (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Blois Castle – We will watch a light show here at night | by Tango7174 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Blois castle from the outside
DAY 1 (Friday 20 July) – Brussels to Blois
On the first day we will travel from Brussels to Blois in the heart of the Loire valley. The city was founded in the middle for the first millennium and has since then had a rich history that includes illustrious names such as Joan of Arc and Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin. It was also a place where nobility like Louis XII and King Henry III and IV spent time. Blois is our base for this trip as it is the perfect place to quickly reach all castles while being in the middle of a lively and beautiful historic town.
After checking in to our hotel we will explore this beautiful small city with the guide(s) that stay with us for the next 3 days. We walk along the Loire, see the Cathedral and stroll through the small alleys of this lovely town. As a group we will visit Blois Castle in the late afternoon for a 1 to 1,5 hours guided tour. It’s an impressive castle with beautiful old rooms and halls, and stunning panoramic views over the Loire valley. After this tour you will have time to enjoy the city a bit more and find a nice place for dinner on one of the many terraces. After sunset, when the darkness has fallen over the valley, you can optionally join the group to Blois Castle for a spectacular and mesmerising light show that tells the story of the French Royals.
DAY 2 (Saturday 21 July) – Scenic Castles Tour
For the second day of our trip we have mapped out a nice route that will take us along quite a few castles, including the ones that are mentioned below: Cheverny, Chenonceau and Amboise. We start of course in Blois, from where we will travel East towards Château Cheverny.
Cheverny Castle with its beautiful gardens and splendid interiors, probably the most impressive from any other castle in the region.
Cheverny is especially known for its beautiful interiors. Originally the domaine belonged to Henri Hurault, the count of Cheverny. He was working for Louis XIII as a lieutenant-general and military treasurer. Despite the “completeness” of this beautiful building, it is not certain if any of it was actually part of the original castle. The castle is still in private hands by the Marquis de Vibraye, a descendant of Hurault. A nice detail is that Cheverny was a model for a castle that was used in one of the Tintin stories: the Château de Moulinsart” (Marlinspike Hall). Another totally awesome and super fun part of our visit concerns the feeding of the hunting dogs (hounds). Have a look at the above video (spoiler alert!).
The elegant Chenonceau Castle over Le Cher river
Chenonceau Castle | Spsergio (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The long interior corridor
The second castle we visit is the beautiful Château Chenonceau. This is one of the most well-known and most visited castles. And not without reason. This 500-year castle spans the Cher river like a bridge and that fact alone makes over 1 million people decide to visit it every year. We will have a 3-course lunch in the Orangerie of the castle. It is optional, but it was very highly rated by the participants from our trips in 2016 and 2017 so we strongly suggest you join us. You must order the lunch in advance and it costs €29,50. There is also a good vegetarian dish. If you have any specific requests (e.g. food allergies, the restaurant can certainly deal with that, so please leave them in the comment box during checkout).
Crispy Vegetables Pork Roasted with Beer, Pumpkin “Purée” and Wheat Stewed Baked Alaska “Chenonceau”
1 glass of wine
Château Amboise | by Владимир Шеляпин (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Leonardo Da Vinci’s house Clos de Lucé | by Azay (own work), via Wikipedia Hungary
Our last stop of the day is actually on the Loire river again, at the Château Royal Amboise that looks out over the Loire river. Our tour guide will tell us everything about this beautiful castle. The place is extra special as one of history’s greatest genius Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last years of his life in Amboise. He is actually buried in the chapel right next to the castle.
by Sir Gawain (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Chaumont Castle | @lain G (own work), Wikimedia Commons
Our guided day tour lasts until about 18h00 after which you can still visit Leonardo Da Vinci’s impressive home and museum Clos de Lucé, as well as the beautiful gardens/park around it where many replicas of his inventions are shown. There will also be time to enjoy a dinner in the lovely town of Amboise. What a perfect way to end the day! Oh wait, of course we can still go out for a glass of wine on a nice square in Blois!
DAY 3 (Sunday 22 July) – Chambord Castle and return trip We will end our castles tour with a BIG BANG. The royal Château de Chambord is by far the most impressive castle of the Loire region and definitely competes for that price on a global level too. With its distinctive French Renaissance architecture it blends medieval architecture with renaissance structures. It was originally built by King Francis I as a hunting lodge and it is believed that even Leonardo da Vinci was involved. Needless to say that we will again have a guide who shows us around the main parts of the castle. You will have ample of time afterwards to explore the castle on your own or to take a walk around.
Elementerre, edited by Atoma and Sir Gawain (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Bedroom of Louis XIV | tango7174 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The 2nd floor with the double spiral staircase | tango7174 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
This time we offer you a choice between 2 hotels: the Ibis Budget Blois (2*) and the Ibis Blois Centre (3*). The first one is located at 5 minutes walking from the castle, whereas the second offers more comfort and service and is really inside the city centre. Note there is an additional fee for the second hotel.
The Ibis Budget Blois** has basic clean rooms with a private bathroom. You can choose between a single room, double room, twin room or triple room.
The 3* Ibis Blois Centre offers more comfort and service than the Ibis Budget hotel and has a superb location in the centre of town very close to the castle. You can choose between a single room, double room or twin room.
ROOM TYPES In these hotels you can choose the following room types:
single room (1 large bed, for a surcharge)
double room (1 large bed for couples)
twin room (2 single beds for 2 friends sharing or 2 single travellers who would like to share a room to avoid the single surcharge)
triple room (1 double bed + 1 elevated single bed, only available in the Ibis Budget Hotel and for 3 people)
Many people come on their own to our events. You can of course opt for a single room to have maximum privacy. But at Expat Club we also offer you the possibility to share a room with another lady or gentleman to avoid the single-surcharge. We only offer male or female rooms. During checkout simply select the twin-room sharing option. We will then introduce you to other participants in the same situation, either during a pre-meeting in Brussels or at the airport upon departure, so you won’t have to worry about finding one or paying the single surcharge. All our participants are normally adult and decent people and normally between the age of 30 and 70.
COMMENTS & SPECIAL TERMS
The trip will be carried out by Lauwers Reizen, one of our trusted coach partners.
This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances. Of course we do our very best to minimise disruptions of the program.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation.
You are personally responsible for getting a good travel insurance that covers you for any unforeseen emergency and medical expenses during the trip.
The regular cancellation period of 2 weeks is not valid for this specific trip. Instead the cancellation period for a refund is 6 weeks in advance of the departure date. In line with the terms & conditions this period notice will over-rule those terms & conditions, while the other rules of cancellation will remain valid, such as the applicable cancellation fees. If you need to cancel within 6 weeks of departure you should have your own cancellation insurance. The other cancellation terms remain valid, such as the administrative and cancellation fees.
You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the coach, traffic jams or strikes.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, the guided tours. Joining this trip is at your own risk.
If you want to share a room with another person to avoid the single room supplement, Expat Club will introduce you to the other travellers in the same situation. We only f/f and m/m rooms, and you will not have to worry about ending up paying a single supplement. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to pay for it yourself in full (since we need two single rooms then).
If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, you will have to pay the single room supplement.
Expat Club may “upgrade” or “downgrade” you to another hotel if your choice is unavailable. In case of a downgrade we will contact you for a partial refund. Note, this has not happened before and is not our policy.