On this 8-night, self-guided holiday you'll enjoy wonderfully relaxed walking amidst the sublime architecture and picturesque landscapes of the famous Loire region. Your holiday begins in Chaumont from where you'll follow serene riverside tracks and meander through sleepy villages and hamlets towards the charming wine village of Chitenay, an ideal base from which to discover pretty Cheverny with its impressive 'Secrets of Moulinsart' art exhibition. After a transfer to Bourre, you'll keep the beautiful River Cher close, walking through Montrichard, Chenonceaux - with its iconic chateau on the banks of the Cher - and Montlouis before heading, via verdant fields and vineyards (be sure to enjoy a spot of wine-tasting!) to the medieval market town of Amboise. Explore the narrow, winding streets and take in the imposing Chateau d'Amboise, a royal residence and Da Vinci's final resting place, before returning to Chaumont where you'll experience yet another masterpiece - the Chateau de Chaumont which dates back to the 10th century and hosts the acclaimed International Garden Festival.
Continental breakfast and 4 evening meals. Standards of cooking in the Loire are consistently high. It’s civilised and refined country cooking, not heavy but rich in flavours and textures, drawing on the great garden of the Loire valley. Fruit and vegetables abound: asparagus, artichokes, button mushrooms, cherries and strawberries from the Loire are transported to kitchens throughout France. These provide succulent accompaniments to the duck, venison and wild boar dishes (all hunted locally) and served in sauces using wines from the local vineyards. Non-meat eaters have no need to feel left out though - with three wide, gently flowing rivers passing through, freshwater fish appear on most restaurant menus. /Sandre/ (pikeperch) and /brème/ (bream) are especially popular and are usually served in a /beurre blanc/ sauce - the Loire fish dish, made with shallots, butter, dry white wine and vinegar.
Arrive at your riverside hotel in Chaumont. *(Staying at Hostellerie du Chateau, Half Board)*
Today's walk takes you alongside the River Beuvron into the sleepy village of Cande-sur-Beuvron before passing the Chateau de Frileuse on your way to Les Montils, a perfect place for a lunch stop. Heading out of town through open countryside, you arrive in the pretty hamlet of Seur, before crossing the river into Chitenay. Your hotel offers superb food; relax on the terrace overlooking the gardens and swimming pool and enjoy an aperitif before dinner. *(Staying at Auberge du Centre, Half Board)*
The sleepy wine village of Chitenay is ideally placed to visit many of the Loire's finest chateaux. We particularly recommend picture-postcard Cheverny which has one of the region's largest art collections including a permanent 'Secrets of Moulinsart' exhibition, and also, just 3km further on, lovely little Chateau de Troussay with its rich furnishings collection, elaborately decorated ceilings and attractive landscaped gardens. *(Staying at Auberge du Centre, Half Board)*
Today a 20-minute transfer takes you to Bourre, where you'll begin your walk alongside the River Cher. You have the chance to visit the Caves des Roches - or 'mushroom caves' - on the way, a vast network of underground caves and tunnels which were formerly limestone mines. You'll also pass La Magnanerie de Bourre, the site of traditional cave dwellings and a silk-worm farm. Continue your walk alongside the River Cher to Montrichard, a traditional French town with its own riverside beach and a number of good restaurants to choose from for lunch, before heading along the GR41 through Chissay-en-Touraine to Chenonceaux. *(Staying at Hotel La Roseraie, Half Board)*
Today you can marvel at the impressive Chateau de Chenonceau, one of the best-known of the Loire chateaux with its iconic arches over the river. This fairytale chateau has seen some famous figures from history, notably Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de'Medici - rivals for Henry II's affections - and Mary, Queen of Scots. The university city of Tours is an easy train ride away, home to a plethora of bars, cafes and restaurants, along with popular shopping centres and quirky independent shops in the old quarter. *(Staying at Hotel La Roseraie, Half Board)*
Take the train from Chenonceaux to Veretz-Montlouis and from there follow the back roads of the GR3 which run parallel to the River Loire. From Montlouis you'll walk through the Loire's sprawling vineyards, with the chance to stop and taste delicious wines on the way; don't forget - we'll carry any wine purchases for you! Continue your walk alongside the Loire and you'll arrive in the bustling market town of Amboise. *(Staying at Hotel Le Pavillon des Lys, Breakfast only)*
Amboise has a charming mediaeval feel, with historical links to the French Royal Family and also connections to Leonardo da Vinci who spent his last few years at Clos Luce, now a museum which houses displays of some of the artist's original work. Da Vinci's tomb is housed in the majestic Chateau d'Amboise which also hosts the impressive Son et Lumiere display. Amboise offers plenty of restaurants and cafes in which to relax and sample the local wines and produce. *(Staying at Hotel Le Pavillon des Lys, Breakfast only)*
Head south-east today, following the GR3 trail towards the village of Souvigny-de-Touraine, before sauntering through open fields and vineyards, perhaps stopping off for a final tasting! You'll then join the Camino de Santiago trail as you make your way back to riverside Chaumont. *(Staying at Hostellerie du Chateau, Half Board)*
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.
Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.
Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.
Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!
When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.
Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.
At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.