Chartres, Chinon & Cheverny - This tour will take to you the most famous Renaissance chateaux of the magnificent Loire Valley: visit the Chateau of Villandry, admire the beautiful arches of the Chateau de Chenonceau and relax in the landscaped gardens of the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau. Discover the many things that this region has to offer, from its wonderful wines to its superb local cuisine.

Palaces & Chateaux de la Loire

Land Only Small Group Tour

Duration : 4 DAYSCountry : FRANCE
Book now
Chateau Chenonceau @Lacity Travel
Medieval town of Chinon © C.Mouton - CRT Centre-Val de LoireVillandry Gardens © G.Girard - CRT Centre-Val de LoireAzay Le Rideau © M.Jeschke - CRT Centre-Val de LoireFrench cooking class © C-M.Bray - CRT Centre-Val de LoireChartres, Cathedral © V.Treney - CRT Centre-Val de LoireCheverny © C.Mouton - CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Chartres, Chinon & Cheverny - This tour will take to you the most famous Renaissance chateaux of the magnificent Loire Valley: visit the Chateau of Villandry, admire the beautiful arches of the Chateau de Chenonceau and relax in the landscaped gardens of the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau. Discover the many things that this region has to offer, from its wonderful wines to its superb local cuisine.

Included in the price

  • 3 nights’ accommodation
  • Driver/tour leader
  • Mini-coach transportation
  • European breakfast daily
  • 2 x evening meals
  • Food and wine taster session at a chateau
  • Wine tasting in the Loire
  • Included Entrances: Chateau de Fontainebleau, Chateau de Villandry gardens, Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau de Cheverny & Azay-le-Rideau gardens.

Day 1: Paris – Chartres – Chinon

Day 1: Paris – Chartres – Chinon

Leaving Paris, we travel to Chartres, a pretty town with medieval timber-framed buildings and a magnificent Gothic cathedral. The Cathedral of Chartres, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best examples of gothic architecture in the world. It is perfectly preserved with marvellous stonework and exquisite 12th and 13th century stained-glass windows. We continue to Chinon, a medieval town located in the heart of the Loire Valley, near the banks of the majestic Vienne River, which is steeped in history and rich with culture. We have enough time to enjoy a stroll through the town before our delicious welcome dinner together. (D) Accommodation:Hotel Plantagenet, Chinon (3-star) [see picture]

Day 2: Chinon – Azay-le-Rideau – Villandry – Montlouis-sur-Loire

Day 2: Chinon – Azay-le-Rideau – Villandry – Montlouis-sur-Loire

Today we make our way to the charming Azay-le-Rideau. This masterpiece of 16th century architecture rests on an island in the River Indre. One of the most visited chateau of the Loire Valley, Azay-le- Rideau, is an exceptional example of Renaissance architecture and offers stunning landscaped gardens. Our next visit today is to the imposing Chateau de Villandry, the last of the great chateaux to be built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. The Chateau’s glorious landscaped gardens, which occupy over six hectares, are some of the finest in France. Explore the tranquil water garden, the ornamental garden and the beautifully designed vegetable garden. We then travel onto Rochecorbon, where we have a chance to taste local wines, before driving to Montlouis-sur-Loire, our base for the next two nights. (B, D) Accommodation: Chateau de la Bourdaisière, Montlouis-sur-Loire (3-star) [see picture]

Day 3: Chenonceau – Montlouis-sur-Loire

Day 3: Chenonceau – Montlouis-sur-Loire

His morning we will enjoy a tour of the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere’s gardens, including its dahlia garden and tomato conservatory, which houses no less than 600 heirloom varieties. We then learn the art of French cooking with one of the chateau’s chefs[see picture). After enjoying the lunch we have cooked, we travel to the wonderful Chateau de Chenonceau, with its beautiful arches spanning the River Loire. It is the most visited and photographed chateau of the Loire Valley and is often described as ‘the ladies’ chateau’ as throughout its history it is the women of the castle who have most influenced its design and destiny. The castle has an exceptional collection of 16th and 17th century tapestries and a great number of masterpieces including works by Rubens. (B, L) Accommodation: Chateau de la Bourdaisière, Montlouis-sur-Loire (3-star)

Day 4: Montlouis-sur-Loire – Cheverny – Fontainebleau – Paris

Day 4: Montlouis-sur-Loire – Cheverny – Fontainebleau – Paris

We leave after breakfast and make our way to the Chateau de Cheverny, one of the only chateaux in the region to appear untouched by the Renaissance, which is due to the fact that it has been owned by the same family for more than six centuries. The Chateau is surrounded by an English-style park consisting of magnificent giant redwoods and lime trees, which were planted between 1820 and 1860. Explore the park, the kitchen, garden, the apprentices' garden and the kennels, home to over one hundred hunting dogs. [see picture] As Paris draws closer, we travel to the wonderful Chateau de Fontainebleau, used by the Kings of France from the 12th century. The medieval royal hunting lodge of Fontainebleau stands at the heart of a vast forest in the Ile-de-France and has over 1500 rooms and 130 acres of parkland and gardens to explore. (B) [Pick-Up: The tour commences from Hotel la Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005, Paris at 8:30am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure] [Drop-off: 5:30pm at Hotel la Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005, Paris. Please bear in mind that drop-off time is an estimate only – traffic can be unpredictable!]

Loire Valley: Château Chenonceau

Loire Valley: Château Chenonceau

The Château of Chenonceau is located in the Centre Val de Loire region, and was once a royal residence as property of the crown. It is a truly exceptional site, both for its original idea of building it on the Cher River, and for its destiny: to be loved, managed, and protected by women such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. Today, the Château of Chenonceau is second only to Versailles as the most visited château in France.
Loire Valley: Chinon

Loire Valley: Chinon

Chinon is a town rich in both culture and history. The old town – la vielle ville – is nestled in between the Château on top of the hill and the river Vienne. For many generations, it was the home of kings and the seat of the government.
The Cathedral of Chartres

The Cathedral of Chartres

Built in the middle of stretches of golden wheat swaying in the wind, Chartres has several strings to its bow. Its cathedral, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, will be your lighthouse in this Beauce landscape. With 2,600m² of stained glass lighting up the heart of the nave, this monumental building is a model of gothic architecture. The picturesque streets of Chartres, its ancient half-timbered houses and old bridges are all an invitation for a stroll. Shops, crafts workshops and restaurants are all to be discovered in the old town. In the paved streets and up and down staircases, the shop windows of glassblowers, perfumers or cabinet makers mingle with restaurants in which you will find foie gras, pâté de Chartres, Perche cider...
Loire Valley : Château d'Azay-le-Rideau

Loire Valley : Château d'Azay-le-Rideau

At the heart of the Touraine region, le Château d'Azay-le-Rideau (the castle of Azay-le-Rideau) is built on an island in the middle of the Indre River. This jewel of the French Renaissance was built under the reign of King Francis I. Spectacular views of the carved stone facade, reflected in the water, can be enjoyed from the majestic landscaped garden.
Loire Valley: Chateau de Villandry

Loire Valley: Chateau de Villandry

The Château de Villandry, one of the last large castles built along the Loire, is known for its six gardens – a pleasure garden planted with tall box hedges, a “classic”-style water garden, etc. – and its fabulous decorative vegetable garden which extends for nearly two and a half acres.
The Palace of Fontainebleau

The Palace of Fontainebleau

The Palace of Fontainebleau, located about sixty kilometres south-east of Paris, has witnessed eight unbroken centuries of sovereign rule. Kings and queens, and emperors and empresses, took great pains to embellish the palace, built around the original mediaeval dungeon. The palace and its park have been listed as Unesco world heritage sites since 1981.
LaCity Travel - Traveller Tips for France    

VISAS: France tourist visa is not required for citizens of Australia for a stay up to 90 days, although you will need to have a return ticket. All passports must be valid for 6 months from the date of the arrival. Some other nationalities may require a visa. For further information please contact the French consulate website or your travel consultant   

MONEY: 1 AUD = 0.65 € (20/02/2014). You always get a better exchange rate in-country, though it’s a good idea to arrive with enough local currency to take a taxi to a hotel if you have to. Carry as little cash as possible while travelling around. In Paris, exchange bureaux (bureaux de change) are faster and easier, open longer hours and give better rates than most banks. In general, post offices in Paris can offer the best exchange rates and accept banknotes in various currencies as well as American Express and Visa travellers cheques. The commission for travellers cheques is 1.5% (minimum about €4). Familiarise yourself with rates offered by the post office and compare them with those at exchange bureaux. On small transactions, even exchange places with less-than-optimal rates may leave you with more euros in your pocket.   

ELECTRICITY: Type C (European 2-pin), Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)   

CLIMATE / WEATHER: France has several climatic zones and substantial variations in its weather due to its great size and location on the western edge of Europe. The north and northeastern areas have predictably warm summers and cold winters with abundant rainfall while the Atlantic Ocean provides cooler summers from westerly winds and warmer winters along the western coast. South of the Loire river is where the weather becomes significantly warmer. The Mediterranean zone in the south and southeast has hot and somewhat dry summers, mild winters, and low, yet unpredictable rainfall. The south is also subject to the formidable mistral (violent winds) and sudden storms, but generally has reliable weather for visitors. The mountainous zones are in the Pyrénées, Alps, and Massif Central and have heavy winter snowfall, yet cool and sunny summers with abundant rain.   

TIME DIFFERENCE: (GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris   

BEST TIME TO VISIT FRANCE: Depending on what you want to get out of your trip, there is always a good time to visit France. Winter is a great time to enjoy snow sports in the Alps and Pyrenees, while the summer is great for soaking up the sun on the beaches of the Cote d’Azur. Generally, France enjoys a temperate climate with cool winters and warm summers, except for the Mediterranean areas that bask in warm temperatures most of the year. Popular tourist spots can get crowded during the peak holiday periods of Christmas, Easter and the school holiday months of July and August; if travelling during these times, be prepared to share France with many other travellers and holidaying locals.   

LANGUAGE: French is the official language but English is widely spoken.    

ACCOMMODATION: Travelling with LaCity Travel is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.   

FOOD / DRINK: LaCity Travel believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savoring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world. The gastronomic pleasures of France are world-renowned, so travellers won’t be disappointed with the food of France. There’s something to suit all budgets here, from Michelin star restaurants to humble cafes and market stalls.   

RELIGION: 63% of French people consider themselves Catholic, 30% declare themselves without religion.   

New Early History: France has a fascinating history marked by war, invasion, imperialistic expansion and revolution. Enduring the ravages of the Black Death, and the uncertainty of political upheaval and civil unrest, it's probably these events that give the modern French people their passionate, fighting spirit. 
Recent History: France’s recent history is as interesting as its beginnings. Invaded by Germany during World War I and World War II, France suffered many losses during both of these wars. Civilian and military lives were lost, strict rationing created harsh living conditions, and regular airstrikes and shelling created a climate of fear. The French Resistance has been the subject of many books and movies, mainly because it’s such an interesting example of the French spirit. The French Resistance is the name given to pockets of men and women who rallied against the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. Using guerrilla tactics, as well as underground press and other means, these groups provided safe houses and escape networks for Allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. They also provided intelligence and other information to the Allies, as well as committed acts of sabotage against the German military. Visitors to France can choose to see many sites that reflect these times including the beaches of Normandy and the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. 
More recently, France has enjoyed the stability that comes with being a part of the European Union and NATO; even though unemployment remains high, France is currently enjoying more peaceful times than it has had in the past.

SHOPPING:  Home to designer fashion houses, luxurious perfumeries, exclusive boutiques and antique merchants, France isn’t a great shopping destination for those on a budget. Regardless, there’s much fun to be had whether you’re window shopping or indulging in the real thing. It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.   

TAXIS: You should only use licenced, official taxis in France, as assaults and robberies have occurred in unlicensed taxis. Unlicensed taxis often target high traffic destinations such as airports, train stations, theatres and nightclubs. In Paris, licenced taxis have the sign ‘Taxi Parisien’ located at the top of the car. Private car companies are legal but must be pre-booked.   

DRIVING: Australians wanting to drive in France must have a valid Australian driver's licence and a valid International Driving Permit (IDP), issued by the relevant IDP authority in your state before leaving Australia. The minimum age to drive a vehicle is 18. Australians resident in France may exchange their Australian driver licence for a French licence within the first 12 months of their residency. It is obligatory for all vehicles to carry a reflective vest and warning triangle for use in case of breakdown.   

Wednesday 01 January - New Year's Day 
Sunday 20 April - Easter 
Monday 21 April - Easter Monday 
Thursday 01 May - Labour Day 
Thursday 08 May - VE Day - WWII Victory Day
Thursday 29 May - Ascension Day 
Sunday 08 June - Whit 
Monday 09 June - Whit Monday
Monday 14 July - Bastille Day 
Friday 15 August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
Saturday 01 November - All Saints' Day 
Tuesday 11 November - Armistice Day 
Thursday 25 December - Christmas Day   

HEALTH: No vaccinations are required to travel to France.   

SAFETY / SECURITY: France is generally a safe place in which to live and travel, but crime has risen dramatically in the last few years. Property crime is a major problem but it is extremely unlikely that you will be physically assaulted while walking down the street. Always check your government’s travel advisory warnings.   

SAMU (medical emergencies): 15 
Police emergencies: 17 
Fire Service emergencies: 18 
European emergency line: 112 
SOS Médecins (Paris – emergency doctors): +33 (0) 1 47 07 77 77 or +33 (0) 820 332 424 
SOS Dentistes (Paris – emergency dentists): +33 (0) 1 43 37 51 00   

TIPPING: it is usual to leave a tip.   

TRAVEL INSURANCE: All passengers must have comprehensive travel insurance. You can complete this with LaCity Travel if you wish. Check your Travel Insurance Policy for an Emergency number and details of services to be provided, Carry these details with you.   

Australian Embassy 
4, rue Jean Rey 
75015 Paris Métro 
Ligne 6 Station Bir-Hakeim 
RER C Station Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel

7 DAYS FROM $2,925PP

Champagne, Burgundy & The Rhone Valley - This wonderful journey takes us to some of France’s greatest wine regions. From sparkling champagne to the fragrant whites of Chablis and the classic reds of Burgundy, we not only taste these regional treats but also enjoy the wonderful landscapes in which vines have grown for centuries. Stay in charming towns rich in heritage, try superb French cuisine and learn about regional wines from local experts. This is a fantastic in-depth tour for lovers of good food, wine and culture.