The Loire is famous for its chateaux with over 300 in total to discover. This easy paced, gentle walking holiday balances peaceful, off-the-beaten-track discoveries, with the splendour and opulence of some of the finest Renaissance chateaux in France. There's no tough climbing; the highest point is at just 150m but you're still rewarded with beautifully unspoilt landscapes and enchanting views at every turn.
You follow a circular route from Chaumont-sur-Loire along peaceful riverside tracks, passing quiet hamlets, before continuing alongside the River Cher through Montrichard, Chenonceaux and Montlouis. On your return you'll enjoy wonderful walks through open fields and sprawling vineyards - with opportunities for wine-tasting - and on to Leonardo da Vinci's bustling town of Amboise, before returning to Chaumont-sur-Loire. Along the way you'll take in some of France's most impressive chateaux: Chenonceau mesmerises with its iconic arches over the River Cher (be sure to taste the chateau's wine and enjoy a scenic riverside walk); the majestic Chateau d'Amboise is a former royal residence and also houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci; while Chateau de Chaumont is set in beautifully tended gardens which host the annual Festival des Jardins.
The places you'll stay in have been hand-picked for their superb locations, atmospheric charm, excellent cuisine and warm, friendly owners. As well as chateaux, the Loire prides itself on its delicious local cuisine and wine and we've included evening meals everywhere except in Amboise - given the fantastic variety of restaurants on your doorstep, we thought you'd appreciate us leaving the choice to you.
Mainly flat walking along riverside paths and through open fields and vineyards. Much of the route follows waymarked GRs. Good views with not too much effort!
Arrive at your riverside hotel in Chaumont where there's a lovely pool if you fancy a dip. (Staying at Hostellerie du Chateau, Half Board)
Today a 20-minute transfer takes you to Bourre, before walking alongside the River Cher. En route you have the opportunity to visit the Cave des Roches, an underground town previously sculpted in a limestone quarry, and La Magnanerie de Bourre, a troglodyte site and silk-worm farm in a lovely hillside setting. The route continues alongside the Cher to Montrichard, a bustling market town which has kept its French traditions, a perfect place to have lunch. The final section of the route takes you along the GR41 through Chissay-en-Touraine to Chenonceaux with its iconic chateau. (Staying at Hotel La Roseraie, Half Board)
Explore the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches spanning across the river. It's the most romantic and beautiful of all the Renaissance chateaux and is associated with some famous names - rivals Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de'Medici (respectively mistress and widow of Henry II) and Mary, Queen of Scots who stayed here as the child bride of Francis II. After you visit you can taste the chateau's wines, hire a rowing boat (July-August), or take a pleasant riverside walk. Why not take the train to explore the lively city of Tours before coming back to relax with a swim in the hotel pool? (Staying at Hotel La Roseraie, Half Board)
You begin today with a transfer from Chenonceaux to Veretz-Montlouis. The route then takes you along the quiet back roads of the GR3, running parallel with the Loire. Leaving Montlouis you walk through the open fields and vineyards of the Loire region, with the opportunity to stop for wine tastings and perhaps take advantage of our wine-carrying service. The final stretch takes you beside the Loire River into the fascinating town of Amboise, providing you with numerous options for your rest day. (Staying at Hotel Le Pavillon des Lys, Breakfast only)
Amboise is filled with interest. It's well known for its Son et Lumiere display based at the massive chateau, which was turned by Charles VIII into a luxurious palace in the late C15. The town has bustling narrow streets, some excellent restaurants and attractive buildings. Leonardo da Vinci spent the last four years of his life at Clos Luce, now a museum with displays of models constructed from his original plans. there's a striking fountain (made in 1968 by Max Ernst) and fascinating stained glass, paintings and sculptures in the C12 church of St-Denis. (Staying at Hotel Le Pavillon des Lys, Breakfast only)
Today's walk leads you out of Amboise heading south east along the GR3 trail towards the charming village of Souvigny-de-Touraine. The paths then flow through the fields and wineries of the Loire region (your last opportunity for a tasting or to purchase a few bottles). The final stretch follows part of the Camino de Santiago trail back to Chaumont-sur-Loire beside the river, with its impressive C15 chateau. (Staying at Hostellerie du Chateau, Half Board)
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
NEARBY:This hotel is situated between the Loire river and the famous chateau itself, the Hostellerie du Chateau is a lovely, quirky hotel, that just oozes charm.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:Ideally situated in the centre of Chenonceaux and just a 400m from the chateau, the Hotel La Roseraie, built in the C18 offers comfortable rooms and a wonderful place to relax after a day walking or sightseeing with its garden and pool.
Room upgrades: Charme Room or Superior Room.
Located near the pedestrian area of Amboise, the Hotel Le Clos d'Amboise was built in the C17 and was once a doctor's mansion. Renovated over the years it has still retained a number of original features.
NEARBY:The Pavillon des Lys offers nine rooms spread out over the main building and in two small cottages on the hotel grounds, some of which have a view over the Chateau Royale d'Amboise and the Clos Luce.
Room upgrades: Deluxe Room, Suite or Suite Terrasse.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
NEARBY:A traditional hotel in the town centre - very convenient for the channel ports and also for exploring St Omer itself - an aristocratic town that boasts the finest Cathedral in Northern France.
The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.
Transfers included from Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 12:58 and back to Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 10:10.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email email@example.com to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
The holiday was very enjoyable once we had arrived. Be sure to check all the details of travel arrangements.
Both times we have been on your holiday they have been well organised and well planned. Hotels well chosen, food very pleasant. Hope to go one a few more in future years
A gentle walking holiday just right for our age with sufficient tourist interest to fill in the non-walking days.
Our 6th or 7th Headwater holiday. Although not as physically challenging as some of the others - purposely - this was one of the best. The hotels were excellent and their staff extremely friendly and helpful. It was a new experience having a "minder" as most of our other holidays used hoteliers as local reps, but this time Marc your rep was helpful, and charming . The walking was good, route notes so good we only referred the maps a couple of times. And the weather was great - who needs more? Thanks!
A great introduction to a luxury walking holiday
A lovely area to visit, with well-planned routes, excellent accommodation and helpful representatives.
We really rated Amboise and Blois and enjoyed a trip to Tours. The range of wild flowers we saw and bull frogs too whilst walking were amazing. The House of Magic in Blois was great so glad we found the time to stop there. The Headwater Reps were really helpful and enabled us to tailor the activities to our needs.
We had a well organised trip which went smoothly.
Excellent locations, accommodation, food and service from local reps. Good instructions and walks, but check the amount of walking on metalled surfaces before booking.
The local team gave us really useful practical tips and were very friendly
The holiday exceeded our expectations in terms of pure enjoyment, accuracy of walking routes and notes and we particularly appreciated the views, suggested stops for refreshments and quality of the hotels we stayed in
Easy walking, lovely views and good food
A very easy paced walking holiday in an interesting area of France.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
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Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 19th Apr 2019 to 16th Oct 2019, for 6 nights.
Continental breakfast and 4 evening meals
For people wanting to have bikes available for all 'rest days' these can be pre-booked for you (£60 per adult) and will be waiting at each hotel for you.
This holiday may be adapted into a 4 night version - just deduct £120 per person from the prices above.
Transfers included from Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 12:58 and back to Tours St Pierre des Corps train station at 10:10.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Rivers and Chateaux of the Loire Walk. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.