(Tours, Langeais, Chinon, Saumur)
The Loire is the perfect region to discover by bike. Outside of the fact that it is a beautiful region of the country as well as having a great infrastructure of flat traffic free roads and cycling paths, there is such an abundance of fantastic sites to see. Magnificent castles and towns are generally within an easy ride from each other which makes it easy to experience the richness of the region on two wheels. The only difficulty becomes having to choose which sites to spend the most time at, in order to be able to fill your eyes and your senses with as much of this "Playground of the Kings" as possible! Before embarking on your biking trip you will be fully briefed and equipped with maps, route notes and restaurant recommendations and any bike adjustments will be made. Then you can take off and discover the wonders of this region on this self-guided biking tour.
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Paris in a private vehicle with a professional driver. Please note drivers may or may not speak English as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking Assistant or Guide for your transfer this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
There are so many things to do and see in Paris it is hard to know where to start! Within the city you can choose from any number of private guided tours - of neighbourhoods or places of interest such as the Louvre or with a focus on architecture. Consider a few hours with a personal shopper, or a guided tour in a vintage car through one of the neighbourhoods. If you are interested in doing something further afield consider a day trip to Chatres, Giverny (known because of Monet's paintings), Versailles, Normandy or Burgundy. A fun way to spend an afternoon is by hot air balloon - this is possible to do in the Parisian countryside. Please ask your Sale Advisor if you are interested in any of these optional tours and activities.
Paris takes on a different hue at night and, with many of the magnificent buildings aglow which make it is possibly the best time to admire the beauty of the city. There are plenty of options to choose from for evening entertainment including an early evening wine tasting in a beautiful, airy Parisian loft of a French sommelier located close to the lively Marais district, a dinner cruise, a cabaret show, dinner in the Eiffel tower followed by a night-time cruise, or an evening tour of the city with many of the historical buildings aglow.
The charming and traditional Hotel Le Littre (4*) is conveniently located in the center of Paris, between Saint Germain des Prés and Montparnasse districts. The 90 rooms and suites are modern with panoramic views over the city. Some rooms have a separate living area, as well as a balcony or terrace with gorgeous views of the capital. A delicious buffet breakfast is served in the majestic breakfast room, featuring traditional French pastries and more. Unwind with a cocktail at Le Littre Bar, showcasing a very cozy British-style atmosphere. The multilingual staff at Le Littre are happy to assist guests in booking an exciting Seine River cruise, as well as many other tours and excursions.
Your English speaking professional guide will meet you at your hotel for a tour of the local's Paris. As well as showing you the highlights of Paris (the city is very accessible on foot) your guide will tell you the history of the city and show you the city from a local's point of view.
NB: If you have a specific area of Paris you would be interested to explore let us know and we can request a specialist guide, along with adding a Metro Pass where necessary.
This evening you will enjoy dinner at the Eiffel Tower, where you can view Paris from the first floor during your own private dinner at the restaurant Eiffel Tower 58. Dinner includes an aperitif, three course dinner, coffee and your choice of either 1/2 bottle of wine, mineral water (50cl), a beer or soda. Your assistant will then help you board the boat for your cruise along the river Seine, while you admire the monuments and bridges of the city known as the 'City of Light'. In case of an exceptional impossibility to access the 1st or 2nd floor, the Eiffel Tower will be replaced by the Montparnasse Tower (56th floor as height as 210 meters). Alternative arrangements will be made so please speak to your Destination Expert for further details. There will be a central meeting point from which the tour starts. The tour ends at the Eiffel Tower. Please note that shared tours can have up to approx. 50 people (depending on the number of people that have signed up for the tour on the particular day, and are carried out in a number of languages).
Take a private train station transfer with a private vehicle and driver. Please note drivers may or may not speak English as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking Assistant or Guide for your transfer this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
Enjoy the train ride from Paris to Tours. There are typically numerous trains departing throughout the day, some of which are direct. Direct train travel time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
You will be met by our trip manager at the train station and be transfered to your first hotel.
At your hotel, you will receive your welcome package complete with maps and route notes and a list of restaurant recommendations. You will also have your bike adjusted if needs be by the trip manager. Once you are all set, you can explore Tours before your first dinner at leisure. The town's 12th century cathedral, with its gothic flamboyant facade is impressive, but also simply wander through old Tours, with its half-timbered houses and lively pubs and cafes.
Located in the heart of Tours, the Hotel Belmont Castle (4*), operating under the name Clarion, combines a peaceful and relaxing place very close to the city life of Tours. The hotel is set in a majestic environment in the middle of a park of 2.5 hectares, and offers the comfort of a personalized hotel service and the pleasure of a prestigious decoration. The Hotel offers 65 modern rooms and air-conditioned suites shared between the tourism residence and the Castle dating from the XVIIe century and totally renovated in 2011. There you can find a restaurant with its traditional French cooking, a bar, and a spa area, signed by the famous trademark Cinq Mondes, with its heated indoor swimming- pool, hammam, jacuzzi and fitness corner.
Your ride today will take you to the famous chateau and gardens of Villandry. This Renaissance castle is definitely overshadowed by the world-famous and exquisite gardens, considered by some to be the most beautiful in France. There are four different gardens in the grounds; the water gardens, ornamental flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and symbolic gardens. After taking time to visit, cycle on to Azay le Rideau, site of the chateau by the same name. Not one of the largest castles of the Loire, it is one of the prettiest, with the mix of Italian Renaissance style that was so popular, and the charm of a French castle on the water.
The Chateau de la Rochecotte(4*) is located right in the heart of the Loire valley between Tours and Saumur and boasts a magnificent 10 hectare landscaped garden. The aristocratic house dates from the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, is charged with history, and consists of a main building with two wings each sheltering an enchanting interior courtyard framed by the surrounding hills. The large main stone facade hides two very beautiful dining rooms on the first floor, as well as several lounges of different styles and a Napoleon III library. The spacious rooms are pleasantly decorated in a XVIIIth century style with contemporary notes with a tendency towards the baroque. The property also has a large heated outdoor swimming pool, a very beautiful row of lime trees runs straight to the Castle, located at the edge of a forested domain. On the gastronomic side of things, you are sure to appreciate the delicious dishes served in the restaurant.
Today’s ride takes you through the countryside towards the Cher River which you follow up to Langeais. You soon reach the Château d’Ussé, the enchanting castle of Sleeping Beauty. Pass through the woods and the vineyards of the Chinon area – wine tasting is possible and recommended en route, in this region which is famous for its red wines! You arrive in the medieval town of Chinon with its enormous fortress overlooking yet another river, the Vienne River.
The Chateau de Marcay(4*) dates back to the 15th century and is in fact built on the ruins of an 11th century fortress. The property spans over 15 hectacres and includes outbuildings and a park planted with trees and vineyards. The castle has been operating as a luxury hotel since 1973 and has a total of 32 rooms. Some of the rooms have views to the park while others give onto the main courtyard. The rooms have been decorated in the Haute Epoque style. There is a gastronomic restaurant on site where cooking classes can also be arranged. Staying here, you will truly feel like a King or a Queen!
Across the peaceful countryside where famous medieval French author François Rabelais spent his youth, you reach the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, one of the biggest abbeys of western Christendom. Discover the exceptional sites of Candes-Saint-Martin and Montsoreau, two of the nationally rated Most Beautiful Villages of France. Ride across the Saumur-Champigny vineyards where wine tasting is recommended! This evening before your dinner, explore charming Saumur and its Château overlooking the Loire River.
Peacefully set in a four acre park, right in the midst of Saumur, the 10 bedroomed Chateau Verrieres(4*) has managed to retain its private mansion atmosphere, with its authentic decoration and its period furniture. Within a short walk, you will discover the pedestrian streets in old Saumur, historical houses built in tuffeau stone, and the lively activity of its traditional Saturday morning market. Every room is tastefully furnished and offers guests a and restful stay. The walls are fabric lined in material of the best quality and design while the high ceilings give a sense of space and luxury. The large windows allow light to flood into the bathrooms and the original ceramic tiles were commissioned for the chateau and are now reproduced by the manufacturer. There is no restaurant on site, but you are within a stone's throw of a number of options within the town of Saumur.
Avail of a private transfer between Saumur and Tours today. The journey should typically take about one hour.
Enjoy the train ride from Tours to Paris. There are typically numerous trains departing throughout the day, some of which are direct. Direct train travel time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to the city centre and 2 hours to Charles de Gaulle Airport.
February 19, 2014
"Lynne Pettit is a particularly good tour planner and contact person because she is knowledgeable, patient, and thorough. She makes sure she understands exactly what you want to get from your trip and plans the tours accordingly. In my case, she was right on the mark!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery lWestlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
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