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Loire VIP Tour

4 July 2023 - 9 July 2023

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If you wish to experience the French aristocratic way of life then this Loire VIP tour is for you. Exclusive and private visits to a variety of chateaux, art collections, gardens and art collections are a real highlight. Enjoy tours and meals hosted by the chateau owners, members of the French aristocracy, along with some behind-the-scenes access to private apartments.

The Loire Valley is more than fairytale castles. The region is also known for its vibrant cities, medieval towns, and natural wonders. Spanning some 270 kilometers that follow the Loire River, this beautiful region boasts stunning landscapes of vineyards, forests, and castles.

This 6day tour will take you through some of the main sights this region has to offer, along with some incredible and very exclusive VIP tours and experiences. The Loire Valley is one of the most beautiful destinations in France, a delicate blend of nature, history, and French elegant art-de-vivre. Here, you can enjoy vibrant medieval towns, fairytale castles, stunning gardens, delicious food, and some of France’s best wines.

The tour will also explore the lesser-visited Le Perche region to the north, between the Loire and Normandy. A delightful area full of surprises.

This tour is limited to just 10 cars.

Highlights of the Loire Tour

  • Experience life as exclusive VIP guests of French aristocracy in their chateau homes
  • Visit the beautiful chateaux of Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceau and more with private VIP tours
  • Explore the charming towns of Blois, Amboise and Tours
  • Discover the stunning gardens at Villandry, Sasnieres & Chenonceau
  • Marvel at some incredible private art collections
  • Indulge in some wonderful private dining experiences at a variety of chateaux
  • Savour superb Loire Valley wines
  • Visit Leonardo da Vinci’s former home at Clos Luce
  • Discover Le Perche region, famed for its antique shops and vintage markets
Route map
Price: €3,845 per person*
price based on two people sharing a double/twin room and one car
*Price is €3,655 per person if joining in France (no ferry)

Starts: 4 July 2023
Duration: 5 nights
Mileage: 740 miles

What's Included?

  • Return ferry crossing (car/2 people) with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Caen, with reserved seating
  • Five nights luxury accommodation in a private French chateau, hosted by the Count & Countess
  • Wonderful three-course dinners included on five evenings, with wine (half bottle per person)
  • Evening wine & canapes reception at Chateau de Beauregard
  • Four lunches & two afternoon teas
  • Private visit of Leonardo da Vinci’s former home and museum
  • Private VIP visits to a number of fantastic chateaux
  • Visits to gardens including Villandry, Sasnieres & Chenonceau
  • Private visits to the art collections at Chateaux de Beauregard & Ponce.
  • Wine tastings at five locations of various Loire red and white wines
  • Tour Pack: Our comprehensive tour book, jam-packed with information, rally plate, road map,
  • Loan of a pre-programmed Garmin GPS or GPX files for your own device
  • Experienced. friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, Sarah Dowding and colleague, throughout the tour

Itinerary

May be subject to change.

Day 1: 4 July 2023 124 miles

We leave Portsmouth at 08.15 on the Brittany Ferries sailing to Caen, arriving at 3pm. We shall have a group lunch on board in the restaurant.

It’s a three-hour scenic drive to the Château, where you will be welcomed by the Count and Countess. Enjoy a welcome drink followed by a tour of the early 15th-century château with the Count.

There will be Champagne cocktails in the prestigious Grand Drawing Room, unchanged since the wedding of the 4th Marquis in 1778.  Indulge in a amazing Grand Siècle dinner, served by staff in livery, in the 18th-century dining room, based on a menu from 1906 and hosted in the most authentic tradition of French aristocracy, with all the family silver and crystal. The menu is accompanied by prestigious old vintages from the Count’s wine cellar.

Day 2: 5 July 2023 125 miles

After breakfast enjoy driving south to the Loire Valley. Begin by visiting the majestic Chambord castle, the largest Loire chateau, with its 365 chimneys on the rooftop and its double spiral staircase, designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

We then have a private, ‘chic’ picnic at the elegant Château de Troussay, the smallest Loire chateau, as guests of the owner, Isaure de Sainte Marie. Taste some of her local wines as well as some of the wines from the Domaine des Huards, including the rare grape, Romorantin, only to be found in this region.

This afternoon there is a VIP private visit to the magnificently furnished Cheverny castle with the owner, Marquis de Vibraye. Perhaps watch the feeding of their 100 large hunting hounds too, followed by an afternoon tea reception in the Marquis’ private apartments.

Head to Chateau de Beauregard, the Renaissance Château famous for its’ portrait gallery, which houses the largest portrait collection in Europe of the key rulers from the XIV to XVI centuries. We have a private VIP after-hours visit with the owner, Count du Pavillon, accompanied by wine and canapes from 6.30 to 8pm in the Renaissance kitchens.

Return to our chateau for a good night’s sleep.

Day 3: 6 July 2023 114 miles

After breakfast it’s just 30 minutes’ drive to the “Most English French garden” of Sasnières.

Continue another half hour, also on small country roads, past the Royal Palace of Amboise, and see its bombastic tower, built so that a horse and carriage could drive up inside it. The chapel of the Royal Palace of Amboise is also the place where Leonardo da Vinci is buried.

We then have a visit of Leonardo da Vincis’ former home, a 14th-century priory, which includes over 40 replicas of his main inventions, one of them being the prototype of the automobile! Then enjoy a three-course Renaissance lunch in the XIVth century priory of Leonardo da Vincis’ home.

This afternoon there is a tour of the Renaissance gardens of the famous Chenonceau, and also of the chateau itself.

Enjoy an oenological and botanical afternoon, in the prize-winning edible flower gardens of Château de Valmer with a private visit by Countess de Saint Venant, followed by tastings of their excellent Vouvray wines.

Finish the day with a private visit of the art collection at the Renaissance Château de Poncé with its beautiful hanging gardens. This will be followed by dinner with the owners, the Count & Countess de Malherbe.

Return to the chateau.

Day 4: 7 July 2023 107 miles

Indulge in a late breakfast and relax by the pool, then enjoy, at your own pace, driving through the small country roads, to La Ferté Bernard, visiting, perhaps, a foie gras farm on the way, or the Knight Templars fortress of Arville.

Enjoy a tour of the little-explored Le Perche region. It’s known as a destination with plenty of antique dealers and vintage markets and people come from all over Europe to find beautiful furniture and antique treasures.

Visit the excellent EcoMusee du Perche. Explore the medieval town of Belleme, renowned for its array of antique and vintage shops.  Today’s route will show you jewels of Percheron architecture, pretty villages and bucolic countryside. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and one of France’s best-kept secrets.

Late this afternoon there is a private visit of the Château de Montmirail, including its’ XIIth century guard room, where King Henri II of England was ordered to meet the King of France to make peace with Thomas à Beckett, followed by tea.

Return to the chateau. Dinner will be in the gourmet village bistrot, just 5 mintues walk away.

Day 5: 8 July 2023 127 miles

Begin the morning driving to the Domaine de Lelais to visit the troglodyte cellars and taste the Jasnières and Pineau d’Aunis wines so typical of the little Loir Valley.

Then visit the castle of Le Lude, famous for its medieval fortifications and Renaissance and XVIIIth century interiors, as well as its rose garden and park. We have a private, VIP visit with the owner, Countess Barbara de Nicolaÿ, followed by light lunch in their Renaissance dining room.

Continue to Villandry gardens, the epitome of the “Jardins à la française”, created by Henri Cavallo who married American heiress Ann Coleman in the early 20th century.

Return to our Chateau for a fine, farewell dinner – a typical French Country Style BBQ or Bistrot dinner, with French Accordion songs, on the terrace, weather permitting or by the monumental XIVth century fireplace.

Day 6: 9 July 2023 142 miles

Leave the chateau after breakfast and make your way north. Visit the beautiful village of La Perriere and then the charismatic town of Mortagne au Perche.

Visit the National Stud at Haras du Pin, a Royal stud farm and jewel of Normandy Heritage (not included).

Continue through lovely Normandy, over the famed Pegasus Bridge to Caen. The return ferry departs at 16.30 and arrives in Portsmouth at 21.15. There will be a farewell dinner on board. Depart for home.

Accommodation

Stay as VIPs in an elegant château, hosted by the Count & Countess, the 20th generation of the family to call this home since 1404. Experience life in a totally private Loire Valley château, surrounded by its own 100-acre parkland, floral garden and large swimming pool.

We have exclusive use of the chateau for the duration of the tour.

Requirements

  • All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour. You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and an international insurance green card.
  • Please check with your travel and motor insurers that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
  • You are also required to carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, two fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker in your vehicle.
  • Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for France.
  • Breakdown & repatriation cover in case of any ‘failures to proceed’. There will not be a mechanic on this tour.

Bespoke Fitted Luggage

Make packing for your next tour simple and easy. Classic Travelling Luggage offers bespoke fitted cases for a large range of classic and sports cars. A 10% discount is offered to all tour participants.

Payments

Full tour price: €7,690 for two people sharing a room and car
Booking Fee (non-refundable): €500 – paid below on booking
Deposit (non-refundable): €2,000 due before 31/12/22
Final Payment: £5,190 due before 4/5/23
(All subsequent payments after the initial Booking Fee of €500 to be via BACS only please)

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Loire VIP Tour Booking Form

TOUR PRICE: €7,700 euros per car/2 people 

NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT: €500 (includes €300 booking fee)
SECOND PAYMENT (non-refundable): €2,000 euros (due before 31 December 2022)
OUTSTANDING BALANCE: €5,200 euros (due before 4 May 2023)

€ 500
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