Loire Valley, France18 - 25 September 2022 (8 days / 7 nights)
Transfer to Tours in the Loire Valley with the group from Provence or own arrangements.
We’ll have some time to settle into our gorgeous boutique hotel right in the centre of the old town of Tours, and then have some time to wander around before dinner at La Romana – a relaxed bistro right on Place Plumereau – the local square and meeting place!
Day 2 – Monday
MEDIEVAL WALKING TOUR AND TRUFFLES
AM: Join our guide for a historical walking tour around this gorgeous town brimming with history! We will learn about the medieval half-timbered houses that reflected the prosperity of the city in the middle ages and visit various historical monuments and places of interest.
Enjoy lunch at your leisure in Place Plumereau and take in the local ambience then enjoy some free time to shop and return to any places of interest from the morning tour.
PM: Join me at 6pm for a degustation at “Signorini Tartufi” – a delicious insight into truffles and the vast range of products they feature in. We will taste a wide range of truffle products in pastes, salts, sauces, apertifs and more, and then have an opportunity to purchase some if you wish (this is one of my favourite shops and I return each time I visit Tours, to stock up).
Walk with me to our restaurant of choice tonight – another lovely local bisto!
Day 3 – Tuesday
LES HALLES AND A RIVER BOAT CRUISE
AM. This morning, we visit Les Halles Market. Expect to be mesmerized by the vast array of produce available here from all over France. We will then be personally guided to 4 of the best providores – experts in their field to learn about and taste their products including cheese, spices and more. The local cheese specaility is St Maure de Touraine and we will learn about why the cheese has a straw through the middle.
PM. If you’re still hungry after the mornings’ tastings, we will enjoy a light lunch before we take a traditional boat trip on the Loire River.
The ‘Toue’ is a traditional wooden boat adapted to the environment of the Loire River and our passionate guide will explain the living historical and cultural landscape as we enjoy an aperitif in the late afternoon.
Staying with the nautical theme, dinner tonight is at “Le Martin bleu” – loved by locals for its beautifully prepared fish dishes!
Day 4 – Wednesday
AM. Most French towns have a market every day of the week and Tours is no different. Wednesday is the main market day at Les Halles and features an additional fresh food market in the square outside the
market, but in addition, the streets around the area are also alive with stalls offering French straw market bags, clothing, spices, kitchenware and so much more. This morning you can take some time to enjoy all the market has to offer and enjoy lunch at your leisure.
PM. This afternoon, a wine and cheese matching experience will be a delicious way to spend the afternoon. Taste several local wines and cheeses and learn to bring out the best in both. Even if your appreciation of wine is purely for personal enjoyment, today’s experience will help you match wines and cheese more easily in future.
Dinner tonight is at one of my favourites – L’Aubepine.>
Day 5 – Thursday
MAGNIFICENT CHATEAUX DAY
AM. This morning we will meet our private guide and spend a day exploring the majesty and history of some of the Loire Valley’s most magnificent Chateaux.
We will visit the glorious Château de Chenonceau – made famous by its owners who have only been women. One of them was the king’s mistress!
We will enjoy a relaxed lunch in the town of Amboise then visit the Royal château of Amboise – a favourite royal palace where the unfortunate King Charles died after bumping his head on a low door frame!
Finally we visit Château Clos Lucé, last home of Leonado da Vinci, we’ll see his last studio where he finished the Mona Lisa and made copies of his inventions before his death.
After such a busy day, a cosy dinner at Le Gaster before we have an early night!
Day 6 – Friday
AM. This morning, we head to our cooking class in a private school, tucked away in the centre of the old town. Our class will feature a ‘hands on’ menu full of local produce and French technique and everyone will share the cooking. Please advise of any allergies or dislikes before the class!
After all our hard work, lunch will be enjoyed together with locally matched wines.
I suspect you won’t be hungry for dinner so this evening, I’d suggest a stroll down Rue Nationale, the gorgeous wide boulevard lined with elegant shops, cafes and wine bars, before we head back to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 7 – Saturday
LOCHE AND MEDIEVAL HISTORY WALK
AM. This morning, we take the local bus (replacing the train during train works) to Loche, a gorgeous Medieval town about an hour away. Saturday is market day and this is one of the best in the region, offering a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, spices as well as clothing, bags, kitchenware and more. In addition, Loche has some of the most beautiful shops which will also be open for you to enjoy.
At 11am, we meet our guide, Susan who will share the history of the area and tell us about the famous people who featured in Loche’s extensive history such as Joan of Arc and Anne of Brittany.
After a walk up to the ‘Castle Keep’ and a stroll through the royal apartments and crypt, we’ll take
some time to enjoy a local lunch at Le Prosper.
This afternoon, you’ll have a final opportunity to return to any of the points of interest in Tours, or a final spot of retail therapy before our final tours dinner at the elegant Le Casse Cailloux.
Day 8 – Sunday
Group transfer to Normandy if you are joining our third week, or your own travel arrangements.
Rate per person sharing twin room: € 2950
Single supplement: € 600
TO BOOK PLEASE CONTACT:
Rate per person includes:
- Seven nights accommodations in Loire Valley,
- Recipe folder, recipes and apron,
- Meals: daily breakfast, lunches and dinners as per itinerary,
- Cooking classes and excursions as per itinerary,
- Entrance to all excursions,
- Transportation for all excursions