Tour the Loire Valley with a Loire Valley Castles and wine tour to Amboise, Clos Luce, Chenonceaux.This Loire Valley tour begins with a pickup at the Tours or Amboise tourism office when your TGV train arrives from Paris and is available Wednesday and Saturday year round.
- Loire Valley Tour days: Wednesday and Saturday year round
- Loire Valley Tour Duration: 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
- Included: Entrances to Chenonceau, Amboise, Clos Luce, and lunch (train tickets not included, but we'll help you purchase them)
- Vehicle: Minibus that holds a maximum of 8 passengers
You can take the train from Paris (we can help you get the train tickets).
First stop in your Loire Valley tour is the Chateau of Chenonceaux. Chenonceaux is situated along the Cher River and has a compelling history!
King Henri II gave Chenonceaux to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers in 1547. Diane loved the chateau and added the arched bridge which connected the castle to the other side of the Cher River. During World War I the gallery of the arched bridge became a hospital ward. During WWII, it was used as a way to flee the occupied Nazi zone to the "free" Vichy zone on the other side of the Cher River.
Diane de Poitiers also supervised the creation of beautiful flower and vegetable gardens along with the planting of a variety of fruit trees.
King Henry II died in 1559 and Catherine de Medici, the widow of Henry II, expelled Diane (the mistress). Catherine created beautiful gardens of her own. Today, it's possible to contrast and compare the gardens of these two ladies and to imagine the battles of love and war which took place within the Chenonceaux Castle.
Lunch is included at a special winery and you'll taste Loire Valley wines Vouvray, Monlouis, Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saint Nocolas de Bourgueil wines.
Next stop in your Loire Valley tour is Amboise castle, once the home of Kings Charles VII, Charles VIII, and Francois I.
Amboise Castle overlooks the Loire River and has some of the first Renaissance decorative motifs seen in French architecture. In the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, adjoining the Château, Leonardo da Vinci is buried. He died in Amboise in 1519. Da Vinci had lived the last few years of his life in the town of Amboise, having arrived there at the invitation of King Francois I, who was raised at Amboise Castle.
The son of Francois I was Henry II. Henry and his wife, Catherine de Medici, raised their children in Château Amboise. The history of the castle is marked with a lot of stories. A very tragic happening which took place in Amboise was the Amboise conspiracy. In 1560, the Huguenots (a group who belonged to the Protestant Reformed Church of France) failed in their attempts to gain power in France. They hoped to kidnap King Francois II. Instead, their attempts failed and more than 1200 Huguenots were massacred and their bodies were hung on iron hooks on the castle. Certainly this event contributed to the Wars of Religion that divided France from 1562 to 1598.
The final visit in the tour is Clos Luce. Clos Luce was Leonardo da Vinci's home from 1516-1519. At the invitation of King Francois I, da Vinci left Italy to make Amboise his residence. (When da Vinci came to France, he brought a very famous painting with him called Mona Lisa!!) Today, Clos Luce is a museum honoring da Vinci and his many inventions.
Your Loire Valley wines and castles tour to Chenonceaux, Amboise, and Clos Luce will end with a return to the Tours or Amboise tourist office.