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6 Days Trail to Table Cycling, Wine, and Cooking Holidays in France

Food and Wine Tours in France

Learn a few local recipes with a chef in a cooking class, visit famous castles, and canoe the Cher River. This is a tour for all the senses! You will explore the area between Amboise and Chinon and you will have the opportunity to stay in some castles. You will visit the Abbey of Fontevraud and walk the famous gardens of Villandry. You will taste delicious wines of Chinon and Vouvray and understand why the Loire is different and what tastes are associated with the Valley of the Kings.

Highlights

  • 2 wine tastings
  • 1 cooking class with a local chef
  • 1 chocolate and one tomato tasting
  • Bus with driver and English-speaking guide
  • Visit Clos Luce, Villandry garden, and Fontevraud Abbaye
  • Daily breakfast, 4 picnics, and 5 dinners
  • Train station or airport transfers
  • 5 nights accommodations

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


5 cycling days in English
Spoken languages: English
Airport transfer included: Charles de Gaulle International Airport
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Accommodation

During this vacation, you will stay at three or four-star hotels in each area of the region and in close proximity of the castles and gardens that are must-see sites. All lodging will include private bathrooms and a variety of other amenities.

Hotel Le Choiseul (2 nights)

Located at the edge of the Loire and at the foot of the Royal Castle of Amboise, homeland of Leonardo da Vinci, the hotel Le Choiseul is a charming house, typical of Tours, built in the 18th century.

The hotel enjoys an exceptional location in the heart of the Valley of Loire castles. 28 rooms classified into five categories are located in the three residences which make up Le Choiseul: the Maison de l'Ermite, the Maison du Duc, and the Maison de l'Apothicaire.

Facilities include swimming pool, restaurant, parking, mini-bar, hairdryer, in-room safe, cable television, and internet.

Hotel Château de la Bourdaisière (1 night)

La Bourdaisière is a historical monument (14th to 16th century), ideally located in the heart of the Loire Valley between Tours and Amboise, nine kilometers from Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train station.

This charming three-star hotel has 25 rooms and four apartments restored and decorated by its owner, Prince Louis Albert de Broglie, also known as " Le Prince Jardinier".

The restaurant is open for dinner and proposes a family kitchen with products of their vegetable garden. From the beginning of May to the end of September, you are also welcome from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the tea room or Bar à Tomates, depending on the weather, for a gourmet break.

In the shop, you will discover, among other books, tomato seeds and the products of the brand "Le Prince Jardinier". The 55-hectare park will enchant you with its extraordinary gardens including the famous "Conservatoire National de la Tomate" and the "Dahlia Color".

Soon you will be able to visit the 25,000 square meter-labyrinth of cellars, part of which is currently under development. The team will welcome you to stay with family, friends or in a professional setting to work in quiet or to live moments of romance, sweetness, and happiness.

An outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, a jogging course, and under-wood walks will allow you to relax. An agro-ecology farm inspired by permaculture will enable you to understand the stakes linking man, territories, and nature. A school of nature and a new art of living, these are the promises of this castle that resurrects the great houses of past centuries.

Hotel Château de Marçay (2 nights)

Château de Marçay is an island of calm and serenity located in an area rich in historical treasures and within a UNESCO world heritage site.

Built on the ruins of an 11th-century fortress, this 15th-century castle, converted into hotel and restaurant in 1973, welcomes you in a timeless atmosphere where they anticipate your desires.

The 22 rooms of the castle and its west wing are decorated and furnished "haute epoque". All are different, some have views of the park, others of the central forecourt and six of the rooms offer a small private garden with direct access to the pool.

There is something to suit everyone's preferences! Located opposite the vineyards, the "Vine’s Pavilion" offers six rooms in an outbuilding of the château. Its peaceful setting makes it a frequently requested location for families.

Facilities include swimming pool, parking, restaurant, bar, horseback riding, seminar room, room service, mini-bar, hairdryer, in-room safe, cable television, and internet.

Program

Day 1: Amboise

Your trail to table adventure through the Loire Valley will begin along the banks of the Loire River itself, in the town of Amboise. You will meet your guide, check into your hotel, and have a welcome orientation with the group to review the program for your days ahead.

Next comes your first true taste of the Loire Valley with a visit to a local chocolate factory. After a tour and demonstration of chocolate-making techniques, you will be rewarded for your patience with a tasting of a variety of their products.

Day 2: Amboise to Chenonceaux (35 kilometers + 6 kilometers canoe)

This day will begins with a visit to the Château du Clos Lucé, a beautiful estate and garden where Leonardo de Vinci resided at the invitation of King Francis I at the end of his life.

You will then depart for a short bike ride to the charming village of Civray de Touraine. You will gain an appreciation for several local specialties through the day's lunch spread before collecting your canoe for a leisurely paddle along the Cher River.

You will reach the famous Chenonceaux Castle built over the river and float right through its arches. Your bike will await you at the end of your canoe trip for your return ride to Amboise.

Day 3: Amboise to Montlouis (25 kilometers)

You will stretch your legs in the morning with a gentle bike ride through the vineyards surrounding the village of Montlouis, where you will take a break to tour the cellar of a local wine collector and savor a tasting of wines from Vouvray and Montlouis.

Then, you will be back on the bikes and ride to the magnificent Chateau de la Bourdaisière, where you will wine and dine for lunch. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a cooking class at the castle to learn the techniques and flavors of traditional local dishes.

The castle hosts a tomato festival each year and grows hundreds of varieties, so juicy tomatoes are sure to be part of the class menu.

Day 4: Montlouis, Tours, and Villandry (40 kilometers)

Start the day with a transfer to Montbazon, where you will start the bike ride along the meandering Indre river. Your destination is Azay le Rideau, a château built on an island, rising right out of the middle of the river.

Take time to explore the château before returning to your bike for a ride to the next charming village of Brehémont, situated on the Loire. From there, your ride will follow the Loire all the way to Château de Villandry, where you will meander the sprawling formal gardens.

Then, you will be transferred to Chinon. In the evening, you will savor an apéritif at the impressive Château de Marçay with wine and charcuterie specialties.

Day 5: Chinon loop (30 kilometers)

Start the day with a visit to le Vazereau Fromagerie in Chinon to learn how the typical tangy goat cheese of this region is produced. Then, you are on to discover the long history of Fontevraud Abbey, home of a religious order that begun in the year 1101 and now home to a cultural center.

The abbey also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant where you will dine for lunch. Following an exquisite meal, you will take a step back in time visiting a family-run factory producing artisanal soaps. The afternoon will conclude with a bike ride back to Chinon.

Day 6: Departure

The tour will finish. You will have your breakfast at the hotel and then Pure Adventures will transfer you to the Tours train station to get a train to Paris or onward.

Bikes and gear

Bikes available on this tour are both road bikes and custom hybrid bikes. Available road bikes are Trek Domane 4.5 and Trek Silque SL.

All hybrid bikes are outfitted with helmets, computer, handlebar bag with map reader, puncture kit (tire levers, spare inner tube, and patch kit included), lock included, and frame pump included.

Pedals are flat or with cages. Travelers may bring their own clipless pedals to have installed. If you bring your own pedals, please bring your tool to remove them from the bikes at the end of the tour.

Skill level 2 out of 5 (moderate)

This tour implies moderate riding over rolling countryside. The region is mostly flat with some occasional short hills in some places. Distances are moderate. Longer independent rides will be possible.

This level is available to most people with some experience and average fitness, who work out regularly. During the tour, you will cycle around 33 kilometers per day. In order to prepare, you should be working out regularly. You should cycle two or three times per week, striving for at least one or two hours in the saddle each time.

Included excursions

On the first day, you will visit a local chocolate factory and taste their products in Amboise. On the second day, you will visit the Château du Clos Lucé and then bike to the charming village of Civray de Touraine.

Next, you will canoe for a leisurely paddle along the Cher River until you reach the famous Chenonceaux Castle. On the third day, you will cycle through the vineyards surrounding Montlouis-sur-Loire village, where there will be a wine tasting.

Afterwards, you will cycle to the magnificent Chateau de la Bourdaisière. On the fourth day, you will go to Montbazon and start biking up to Azay le Rideau, a château. You will then bike up to Brehémont village and Château de Villandry.

On the fifth day, you will visit the Vazereau Fromagerie in Chinon. Then, you are on to discover the history of Fontevraud Abbey which has a Michelin-starred restaurant where you will have lunch. Following the meal, you will visit a factory producing artisanal soaps.

Location

The arrival and departure city will be Amboise or St. Pierre des Corps. The tour will also include Civray de Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Montbazon, Azay-le-Rideau, Brehémont, Villandry, Chinon, Marçay, and Fontevraud-l'Abbaye.

The valleys of the Loire, Cher, and Indre rivers are a harmonious combination of non-navigated rivers, rich vineyards, and vast forests. The terrain is wonderful for bicycle riding, mostly flat to rolling, and is filled with rivers, trees, and colors.

The Loire Valley embodies all of the charm and magic that one could envision about France. From imposing castles to quaint, friendly villages to sprawling vineyards which produce some of the most exquisite wines in the world, once you arrive, you will never want to leave.

Amboise

The banks of the beautiful Loire River are the home of this lovely little town, which is as rich with history and culture as any other in France. Amboise was once the location of the royal court, home to infamous leaders like King Francois I, Charles VII,I and Louis XII and is also the location of Clos Luce, the manor house where Leonardo de Vinci spent the last days of his life0

One of the more popular spots for visitors today is the Chateau d’Amboise, a favorite castle of many French kings which was built in the 11th century and has undergone a number of renovations over the centuries. Visitors can also attend the weekly market held there each Friday and Saturday in front of Max Ernst’s famous turtle fountain.

Tours

Located along the lower reaches of the Loire River, Tours is the largest city in central France. This charming old town has a long, rich history and was made famous by the battle of Tours that took place there in the year 732. There are plenty of present-day testaments to the area’s past, including the Tours Cathedral. Tours is also home to the splendid Jardin Botanique de Tours, an amazing botanical garden that spans five hectares.

Food

During this holiday, you will be served buffet breakfast, four picnics with wine, and five four-course evening meals.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Book an air balloon tour
  • Have a guided visit fo Tours

What's included

  • 1 cooking class
  • 2 wine tastings
  • 1 chocolate tasting
  • 1 tomato products tasting
  • Bike rental
  • 5 nights accommodations
  • Daily breakfast buffet
  • 5 four-course evening meals
  • 4 picnics with wine
  • Visit of Clos Luce
  • Visit of Villandry garden
  • Visit of Fontevraud Abbaye
  • Visit of a soap factory
  • Luggage transfer between each lodging
  • Road book with maps and written itineraries
  • Assistance
  • Bus with driver
  • English-speaking guide
  • All transfer mentioned
  • Transfer from and to Tours trains station or airport

What's not included

  • Air balloon tour
  • Guided visit fo Tours with Segway

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by train

The train ride from Paris Gare Austerlitz or Montparnasse will last about 1.5 hours. Trains from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps are also available. Pure Adventures can arrange transfers from and to train stations in Amboise or Saint-Pierre-des-Corps and do private transfers from Paris airports.

Airport: Charles de Gaulle International Airport Airport transfer included: Charles de Gaulle International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 13% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 60 days before arrival.
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