For the first time this year, we are taking guests to visit the Loire Valley. This fertile region of France, best known for its spectacular chateaux, is also renowned for its pleasant climate and gentle living.
I wanted to design a tour for our guests that would include some chateaux visits, with a few gardens (of course!), some shopping, a cooking class and lots of good food and wine along the way. This is the foundation, and once I had that, I started adding in other ideas.
Last year, I drove down to the Loire with my husband, to test some addresses and check out my draft itinerary. This is something I always do before launching a new Tour. For one, it’s fun to have my husband along for the ride, and most importantly, you can never just plan a tour from a desk!
Nothing replaces jumping into the car with a map, a wish list and a healthy dose of curiosity. I get lost with alarming regularity, but I really don’t mind, because it’s often when I ‘lost’ that I come across an unexpected treasure.
It’s particularly important to try out restaurants. Of course we can all ready the Michelin guide, or check out internet sites, but nobody can actually tell you how warm the welcome is, how comfortable the seats are, and how good the food tastes unless you get there in person.
The thing that I am very excited about during this Loire Valley tour is the private visits. When doors and gates are opened to us and us alone. When we find ourselves en tete-à-tete with the owners of these properties, who have designed the gardens, and chosen refurbishments for the interiors, and are happy to share their experience with us.
Garden visits will play a big part of the tour, especially visits to gardeners which are so big in the Loire. I’m particularly excited about visiting the Chateau de la Bourdaisière, with its stunning potage, astounding collection of dahlias and charming interior design.
We will stay at the hotel called Les Hauts de Loire. A beautiful manor house in its own extensive grounds, with plenty of space to wander and relax at the end of each day. We are only taking a very small group of 6 guests, and we currently have a couple of places remaining.
We will be in the Loire from August 29th to September 3rd. If you would like more information about this tour, or any of our other destinations, then please drop us a line. We have a few spaces left on two other tours, and we’d be happy to tell you more.