Castles and Wines of the Loire Valley

September 29 - October 5, 2021


A 7-day trip through the Loire Valley –  legendary for its magnificent chateaux, gorgeous gardens, charming villages, incomparable wine and regional cuisine.


Beyond visiting iconic castles – including Blois, Chambord and Chenonceau – you will explore historic towns and enchanting villages, with stops to savour fall produce and the spectacular wines produced in the region.

  • Taste a variety of wines on a traditional boat whilst traveling down the Loire River
  • Stay in a nearly 1000-year-old Abbey
  • Experience a show by France’s most elite cavalry of horses with expert riders
  • Stay at your very own Chateau with a field of autumn cyclamen
  • Learn about and explore the royal town of Loches
  • Wander around the exquisite garden of Villandry, in all its glory
  • Experience the most beautiful chateau of all, Chenonceaux, and learn about its female-focused history
  • Stay on the property of the hunting Chateau, Chambord, the largest in the valley


Day 1

Arrival in the Loire Valley

You will be picked up at the Tours train station (an easy train ride from Paris).

You will share a delicious welcome lunch with your travel mates at gourmet bistro Les Gens Heureux, in the heart of the city, before following the Loire river downstream to visit the first Chateau. Chateau de Villandry is famous for its magnificent formal gardens, including intricate renaissance ornamental flower gardens and unforgettable vegetable gardens. It’s truly magical.

You will then head to Fontevraud and check into the hotel, located on the grounds of the thousand-year-old Abbey. This Abbey is where Eleanor of Aquitaine stayed, the only woman to be both the Queen of France & England. You too will be treated like a Queen!

After a little free time, either to relax, explore the Abbey grounds or the charming adjacent village, you will meet for dinner at the  Michelin-starred restaurant on the grounds of the Abbey.

Day 2

Fontevraud Abbey, Saumur, and Wine Tasting on the River

In the morning, you will visit Fontevraud, Europe’s largest Abbey dating back to the 11th Century. It has played a pivotal role in French and European history, as the abbey has always been run by women, and was the burial place of Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and son Richard the Lionheart. Its last incarnation was a prison, before closing its doors in 1963.

You will have lunch in nearby Saumur at the vintage style Boeuf Noisette. After lunch, you will explore this ancient town, which was founded in the year 845, before visiting the Le Cadre Noir for a special showing of France’s elite cavalry in training – consisting of 50 horses and 22 riders.

In the late afternoon, you will meet Denis, who will take you out on his traditional boat on the Loire for a riverside wine tasting. You will enjoy a boat ride on a traditional Loire River fishing boat. He’s the only captain on the river who is both a sailor and a wine maker!

This evening, enjoy a cozy dinner in the neighboring town of Fontevraud.

Day 3


In the morning, you will visit the idyllic Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, a true jewel of the Loire Valley with its halcyon gardens and beautiful reflective moat. After this,  you will get to enjoy some free time to visit the charming boutiques in town before having lunch at the restaurant Côté Cour.

In the afternoon, you will  head to Domaine de la Tortinière, the chateau where you will be staying for the next two nights. There will be free time for spa treatments, before an epicurean feast at the hotel.

Day 4

Chateau, Champagne and the Royal Town of Loches

Today, you will spend time with the lovely and informative author Casey O’Brien, who will show you some hidden treasures of the region –  including a visit to her friend’s Château de Montpoupon, where you’ll be treated to a champagne reception.

Afterwards, you will head to the royal town of Loches where you will enjoy a hearty market-driven lunch before exploring the town’s rich history. It was here that the young Joan of Arc persuaded Charles the VII to claim the throne. You will delve into medieval times while exploring the 11th century keep which houses some of the best preserved and impressive engravings from the time. The town also has some lovely boutiques selling regional specialties.

Afterwards, return to the Chateau for some more spa treatments and relaxation. For dinner, you will enjoy elevated local cuisine in the nearby river town Montbazon.

Day 5

Chateau de Chenonceau and Wine Tasting

Today, you will visit the area’s most fabled and elegant Chateau, Chenonceau. Its history is intrinsically tied to a succession of remarkable women, including rivals Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers. The gardens are remarkable, as are the stunning floral displays inside. It’s a garden lover’s paradise. You will enjoy lunch in the beautiful Orangerie restaurant.

After lunch, you will go on a private tour of the Domaine du Clos Roussely, with its unusual setting of troglodyte cellars and collection of old vehicles. The visit will be accompanied with a tasting to discover the local authentic natural wines.

Afterwards, return to the hotel to rest, or perhaps to indulge in a spa treatment or take a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi and enjoy the incredible view of the nearby Chateau de Chambord.

After a private exploration of the gardens at sunset, you will enjoy a gourmet meal at the Relais de Chambord, the hotel’s celebrated restaurant.

Day 6

Chateau de Chambord and Blois

This morning, you will explore the imposing Chateau Chambord, built by François I as a hunting lodge. You will also visit the chateau’s beautiful vegetable garden.

Then, you will enjoy lunch in the nearby city of Blois. Afterwards, you will visit Les Jardins de L’ancien Évêché and tour the famous Poulain Chocolate factory.

You will have some time to rest and enjoy the spa before having a convivial dinner in the local restaurant of Saint Martin, where you and your travel mates will toast to all the experiences and laughs you shared, and the friendships that were made.

Day 7


The trip has come to an end! After having breakfast at the hotel and  saying your goodbyes, you will return to Paris on the train from Blois.


Fontevrau L'Hotel - historical property

This historic hotel is located in the priory of the Royal Abbey of Fontevrau, in the heart of the Loire Valley. The property includes a gorgeous bar inside a chapel and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Domaine de la Tortinière - 4* chateau accommodation

Domaine de la Tortinière is a charming boutique hotel in a chateau in the heart of the Loire Valley. The property is located in a 15-acre park overlooking the Indre River. It boasts a gorgeous spa, outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts.

Relais de Chambord - 4* boutique hotel

This boutique hotel, deep in the French countryside, is the only hotel located on the enormous private 5,440-hectare estate of the Chateau de Chambord, the largest Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

While contemporary, the design of the hotel reserves the authentic charm of the property. In addition to the gorgeous surroundings and the incredible view over the Chateau, the hotel includes a luxurious spa –  a true sanctuary for the relaxation of body and mind.


Katrin Hodapp

This luxury tour for women will be led by Katrin Hodapp, a 20-year resident of Paris. She is American with German roots and is fluent in English, German, French and Spanish. And as a former literary agent, she has many a story to tell.



  • All indicated activities, including all meals and wine with dinner
  • 6 nights lodging at unique luxury properties
  • All guides, experts and entry fees
  • Several wine tastings and a boat ride
  • Welcome drinks
  • All in-country transport including airport transfers

Not included

  • Roundtrip airfare to France
  • Spa treatments
  • Train trip to and from the Loire
  • Any additional expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages beyond as stated above
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended) and trip medical coverage (required for travelers over 50 years of age)

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