French Castles Tour – 2015

Chateaux of Paris and the Loire Valley

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Versailles

Chenonceau

Villandry

 

Visit and tour Paris, the capital of France, and spend three nights there altogether - two at the beginning and one at the end.

Spend four nights in the Loire Valley, the garden of France.  With its mild climate the Loire was the favourite residence of kings and their kin.  It remains a corner of paradise, with its dream-like palaces, elegant towns, quiet landscapes and majestic rivers.  The vineyards are a feast to the eyes and their fruits a joy to the palate.

Castle, palace and regional highlights include the Montmartre district, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, a Seine Cruise, and Notre Dame in Paris; Fontainebleau Palace, Orléans, Chenonceau Palace, Amboise Castle and village, Manor Clos-Lucé, Cheverny and Chambord Châteaux, Blois Castle and town, Villandry Château, and Tours.

 

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Map

It is not yet the south.
And it is no longer the north:
It is a fine compromise,
A peaceful area
Where the two faces of France meet.

–  Maurice Bedel       
La Touraine (1952)

 

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Itinerary

Day 1 – DEPARTURE

 

Board your flight from your home destination to Paris, France.

This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight. 

Air fare independently arranged.


Day 2 – WELCOME TO PARIS

 

Arrival in Paris, France.

Individual transfer to your hotel in Paris.

Tonight you'll meet your travelling companions and tour director, and enjoy a welcome dinner in Montmartre, the artist district high above the city with great panoramic views.

>  Your tour includes: Transfer from airport to Paris hotel, welcome dinner with menu choices and wine (or, of course, something
    else), hotel in Paris


Paris

Day 3 – PARIS - VERSAILLES, EIFFEL TOWER

After breakfast, board your sparkling clean coach to go for a guided tour of VERSAILLES, perhaps the most famous palace in the world.  From 1682, when King Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789, the Court of Versailles was the centre of power in France.  Spend several hours visiting the Palace of Palaces and the famous gardens with the fountains.

In the afternoon we go up to the second floor of the EIFFEL TOWER for majestic views.  This tower, built for the 1889 World's Fair, is one of the most recognizable structures in the world and is the most visited paid monument anywhere.

Dinner tonight is on your own.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, tour of Versailles, entrance to Eiffel Tower, hotel in Paris


Versailles

Day 4 – FONTAINEBLEAU, ORLÉANS, CÉRÉ LA RONDE

We leave Paris this morning to visit nearby FONTAINEBLEAU.  Used by kings of France from the 12th century, the royal hunting lodge of Fontainebleau was enlarged and embellished in the 16th century by François I, combining Renaissance and French artistic traditions.

We continue on to ORLÉANS, the city which Joan of Arc liberated in 1429.  Breaking the English siege was one of the great episodes in the history of France, and marked the rebirth of a country and of a people that had been sinking into despair.  Enjoy free time here for lunch.

Later we continue to our new home - the Château de Razay in CÉRÉ LA RONDE, in the heart of the Loire Valley.  The chateau was built at the end of the 15th century and is surrounded by 85 acres of grounds and woodlands.

>   Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, guided tour of Fontainebleau Castle, three-course dinner with menu choices,
     one beverage, and coffee or tea, hotel - Château de Razay in Céré La Ronde


Fontainebleau

Day 5 – CHENONCEAU PALACE, AMBOISE CASTLE, CLOS-LUCÉ

In the morning we go first to visit nearby CHENONCEAU, the "Ladies Castle".  This beautiful castle stretches across the River Cher in a harmonious natural setting of water, greenery, gardens and trees.  Over a period of 400 years this castle was shaped by women, royal wives, mistresses and queens.

We continue on to Amboise for lunch, and afterwards visit the CHÂTEAU D'AMBOISE, once a very important royal residence and home for several French kings.  The palace is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and is now less than a third of the size it was in the 16th century.

Leonardo da Vinci lived nearby in MANOR CLOS-LUCÉ as a guest of King Francis.  We visit this palace, now a museum with period furniture, sketches and working models of the ideas of this renaissance genius.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees and guided tours of the above castles, three-course dinner,
    hotel - Château de Razay in Céré La Ronde


Chenonceau

Day 6 – CHEVERNY, CHAMBORD, BLOIS CASTLE AND TOWN

This morning our first visit is to the CHÂTEAU DE CHEVERNY.  The symmetric design and harmonious grandeur of the façade of are characteristic features of the period of Henri IV and Louis XIII.  The interior is sumptuously appointed, with beautiful furniture, sculptures, gilt work, marble and multi-coloured paneling.

We continue with a short ride to CHÂTEAU DE CHAMBORD, the largest by far of all the Loire chateaux, built on a scale foreshadowing that of the Palace of Versailles.

On to the Royal City of Blois where we visit the ROYAL CHÂTEAU DE BLOIS, the residence of several French kings.  Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the Château de Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard.

Free time for dinner in this beautiful city on the hillside overlooking the river Loire where many of the medieval streets still remain.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees and tours of the above castles, hotel - Château de Razay in
    Céré La Ronde


Chambord

Day 7 – VILLANDRY, TOURS

Today we visit CHÂTEAU DE VILLANDRY, one of the last great Renaissance chateaux to be built in the Loire Valley.  Villandry’s international fame is based largely on its gardens, among the most fascinating in all of France and Europe.

In the afternoon we drive to TOURS, the capital of Touraine, a thriving economic and cultural centre.   Go for a stroll in Place Plumereau, a picturesque and animated square, once a marketplace, lined with 15th century timber-framed houses alternating with stone facades.  Enjoy a café au lait in the square and get your final Loire Valley souvenirs.

Tonight we are having a nice dinner in a medieval village.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees and tours of the above castles, three-course dinner,
    hotel - Château de Razay in Céré La Ronde


Villandry

Day 8 – PARIS - SEINE RIVER CRUISE, NOTRE DAME

 

We leave the Loire Valley this morning and head north again to Paris.

After free time for lunch we board a River Boat for a nice cruise on the SEINE RIVER.  We see many of the city's most famous landmarks from the river, and pass under many of the three dozen bridges over the river in Paris.

Our cruise is followed by an inside guided tour of NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.  This cathedral, constructed over the period from 1163 to 1345, was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress arched exterior supports.

A short ride to your overnight hotel near the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Roissy.  Enjoy a great farewell dinner and celebrate a wonderful week in France with your travelling companions.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Seine River cruise, Notre Dame guide fees, three-course dinner, hotel in
    Paris-Roissy


Notre Dame

Day 9 – TIME TO SAY AU REVOIR

 

After breakfast individual transfers to the nearby Charles de Gaulle Airport to catch your homebound flight,
which arrives the same day.

>  Buffet breakfast, transfer to Airport


 

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Tour Features 

  • All features as per itinerary, departure guaranteed
  • Door-to-door transportation (all modes).  Leave the navigating to us.
  • 7 breakfast buffets
  • 5 three-course dinners with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after dinner
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and local guide fees paid
  • No hidden extras, no optional excursions – already included
  • Maximum group size of 30 people, fewer on most tours
  • The tour language is English only.
  • Packing and unpacking is minimized. Four nights at Château de Razay in the Loire Valley.
  • The days are well planned to offer you many highlights, but you are never rushed.
    Ideal combination of free time and planned activities.
  • Skip the lines at must-see attractions.
  • All visits are inside, not drive-by.  Learn the stories that bring old buildings to life.
  • You will see not only the highlights but also the spots where only the locals go.
  • Tour director – Let our experts make every day and destination fascinating!
  • Satisfaction assured – backed up by our money-back guarantee.

Complete printable itinerary in PDF format > Itinerary

 


Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

 


Chenonceau

 

Loire Valley Hotel

The hotel for the four nights spent in the Loire Valley will be the Château de Razay in Céré La Ronde, south-east of Chenonceau Palace. 
The chateau was built at the end of the 15th century and is surrounded by 85 acres of grounds and woodlands.

 




 

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Images


Paris

Versailles

Latona Fountain, Versailles

Fontainebleau

Chenonceau

Amboise

Amboise Castle

Bridal Chamber, Cheverny

Chambord

Blois Castle

Villandry

Plumereau Square, Tours

There are more pictures in the In Depth section below.
The Gallery has images of tour destinations, and Groups has photos of tour participants.

 

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French Castles Tour  In Depth

Larger Pictures of Tour Highlights and Communities
Images of French Castles Tour features

Detailed Itinerary Destination Maps
4-page printer-friendly PDF including:
-  French Castles Tour Destinations map from the top of this web page,
-  Overview Detail map including Paris and the Loire Valley, and
-  Two Detail Maps (North and South) with French Castles destinations marked.

Links to Sources of More Detailed Information
Clickable links to detailed articles on major French Castles Tour itinerary features 

Tour Group and Participant Pictures
Photos from the French Castles Tour

 

Other website pages, shared with other tours, also provide in depth information.

Tours Characteristics
Notes on the distinguishing features of the various tours offered. 
What's so special about these tours?  How do they differ from each other?

References
Comments from participants in this and other Castles tours.

Travel Info
Clickable links to air and rail travel resources, currency and time conversion, etc.

 

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References

"Thank you so much for a fabulous tour of the Loire castles and Paris last week.  It all seems like a fantastic dream now!  

You covered so much more than I expected, while giving us enough rest times and independence that I didn't feel overwhelmed, either. So thank you for such a well-orchestrated tour.

     –  Cathy Wolz, Virginia, August 2012

Taking Astrid’s French Castles Tour was a dream come true for me!  .... The chateaux in Loire Valley were magnificent and the pace of the tour was just right.  Very little driving, centralized lodging in a fabulous location, and plenty of free time.  Astrid is very personable and everyone loves her.

I’ve taken two of Astrid’s European Castles tours and can’t wait to take another!

- Leslie Granger, California, October 2009 
Read more ...

Castles, breathtaking scenery, quaint towns, vintage wines, gourmet food, Paris, history, culture, 653 photos.

All this and more, in an awesome location with an amazing tour guide. The French Castles tour  was an exceptional deposit in our memory bank and we cannot wait to follow Astrid again!

- Rick and Suzanne Handley, Texas, October 2009

Additional comments on other Castles Tours are provided on a separate  References Page .

Comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on past tours are featured in our  References Video .

 

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Dates and Prices

 

Complete printable itinerary in PDF format >

Itinerary

 

The French Castles Tour is offered on the following basis:

Tour prices are for the land segment only.  Air fare is not included. 

Prices are per person, in U.S. dollars, based on double occupancy.
Single Occupancy is available for a Single Supplement charge of US $ 350.
A child 8 to 16 years old sharing a room with two adults receives a 30% reduction on this tour.

Guaranteed Departure:  The French Castles Tour is guaranteed to operate
as scheduled and will not be cancelled due to a low level of participation.

A deposit of US $ 300 per person is required to secure a reservation.

 

French Castles Tour – 2015

 

 

Your overnight international flight leaves ...

Status

Double
Occupancy

Single
Occupancy

Child 8-16
with 2 Adults

 

May 22, 2015

Available - Book now

US $ 2,990

US $ 3,340

US $ 2,093

 

September 25, 2015

Available - Book now

US $ 2,990

US $ 3,340

US $ 2,093

 

 

Reservation details and materials  >

Reservations

 

Dates for all current multi-day Castles tours >

Tour Dates

 

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Contact Information

Contact the Tour Director, Astrid Baur, in Germany (Eastern Time + 6 Hours)

U.S. Phone:  (202) 580 - 8732  /  German Phone:  011 - 49 - 171 - 546 68 39

  

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