The Loire Châteaux: History & Wine
There’s only one thing we love more than history here at Historical Trips and that’s a good drink... so we thought why not combine the two? The result is our brand new Loire Valley Wine & History tour - run jointly between Historical Trips and our sister company, Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours.
Medieval fortresses, royal châteaux, Renaissance residences, impressive cathedrals… these are just a few of the historical treasures awaiting you. Retrace the steps of fascinating figures, including: Queen of France, Catherine de Medici, in Chenonceau; and heroine Joan of Arc in Rouen. We stop at exceptional châteaux and wineries throughout the tour - tasting some of France’s most famous wines, including Sancerre, Muscadet and Vouvray. Aside from delicious wines, our collective palates will be treated to sumptuous dinners - including a mouth-watering Michelin-starred meal.
Arblaster & Clarke is the world’s leading wine tours operator and aims to provide wine holiday experiences that go beyond the ordinary. www.winetours.co.uk
This tour will be led by Dr Michael Jones (Tour Guide) and Lys Hall (Wine Guide)
- All Inclusive
We depart London. We enjoy a picnic lunch on-board*, during an introductory wine tasting. We arrive in Tours and transfer to our hotel.
*N.B. travel for our 2017 departure will be by luxury coach via Eurotunnel, rather than by ferry
We explore Tours this morning. The atmospheric city's long history includes its role as the 15th-century French capital and seat of kings. It was heavily bombed in World War II, but is now surrounded by modern towers. We continue to Marc Bredif in the Vouvray appellation. They are the largest négociant company in the area with precise and exacting standards. Following a visit to his cellars, we will taste a range of his excellent wines from the versatile Chenin Blanc grape. We stop in Chenonceau this afternoon. The elegant Château de Chenonceau was the favourite home of Catherine de Medici - and she added a series of new gardens here, during her residence.
Our first visit is to the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, one of the foremost examples of early French renaissance architecture. The picturesque château sits on an island in the middle of the Indre river. We stop for lunch at a Bourgeuil Winery, before continuing to tonight’s hotel - a comfortable 18th century building on the banks of the River Loire, overlooked by the Château de Saumur. We enjoy a Michelin-starred dinner in Saumur this evening.
We visit the Château de Chinon this morning. This is the very castle where Joan of Arc appeared before Charles VII and claimed to hear heavenly voices that said the heir apparent should grant her an army to relieve the siege of Orléans. After lunch in Chinon, you have some free time to yourself in the commune. We visit and taste at Domaine Couly-Dutheil this afternoon. The well established family-owned winery has long been acclaimed by the British wine press. Mainly modern methods of vinification are used to produce excellent an interesting selection of wines from single vineyards. We end the day with dinner and a tasting at our hotel.
Our first visit today is to Abbey of Fontevraud, the final resting place of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart. After lunch in Saumur, you can either join us for a tour of the Château de Saumur or relax for the rest of the afternoon. We enjoy dinner at Langlois-Château tonight. This is an outstanding producer in St-Hilaire-St-Florent. The prestigious estate sits under the same umbrella as Champagne Bollinger. They make wines from its own vineyards from Muscadet to Sancerre as well as a delicious Crémant de Loire and Crément Rosé.
Our day begins in Angers. We view the incredible Apocalypse tapestry - the large medieval set of tapestries was produced between 1377 and 1382. Following lunch in Angers, we continue to Honfleur. This charming Normandy port town was a favourite destination of many painters - notably Monet - for many years. There are many Impressionist galleries to visit in the town. This boutique hotel we stay in tonight is based in the town centre - offering enchanting views over the port and the historic town.
Enjoy a final free morning in Honfleur. Our final visit is to Calvados Christian Drouin at Domaine Coeur de Lion. The estate is in the heart of the Pays d'Auge on a former Norman farm with examples of regional architecture from the 17th Century. We will enjoy a tasting of their cider and Calavdos produced on the estate. We continue to lunch in Pont l’Evêque, before our return to the UK by coach.
This morning, our final visit is to the Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp to discover the origin of the Bénédictine spirit, and to taste the unique liquer distilled from 27 differerent herbs and spices. Finally, we begin our return journey to the UK by coach, enjoying lunch en route.
- Expert Guide Lecturer - Michael is highly rated by our customers, consistently scoring 9/10 on our satisfaction surveys
- Meals - All meals included
- Travel by A/C coach - from London to Tours; Pont l’Evêque to London
Cultural rebirth on a global scale
The Renaissance stands as one of the defining periods of world history. A time when the perceptions of society, culture and politics - which we still cling onto - emerged for the first time. Could any other era ever compare with the rich Renaissance of art, architecture, literature, science, trade, and travel?
No period has been more discussed, dissected and argued over than the Renaissance - and with good reason. Join us to discover the land of La Convivencia, where followers of the world’s three main religions lived harmoniously side by side. Go back to where it all began with an introduction to Art, Love & War in the Renaissance. Get an insider’s guide to ancient Persia, as we look into the Mirrors of the Unseen. Go Beyond the Pillars of Hercules to discover the golden age of Spain. Uncover the hidden history of the Loire Châteaux, with a glass of the good stuff in hand.
Travelling alongside our expert guides you’ll be afforded unprecedented access to an unmatched world of cultural experimentation and intellectual excitement. There is still so much for us to learn from this unprecedented era…