Attend the world-famous International Garden Festival, visit the garden that inspired Claude Monet, stroll through the house Leonardo da Vinci once called home, and experience the grounds of Versailles Palace on this vivid tour of the verdant Loire Valley.
After meeting with your Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras International, we board the Eurostar to Paris. After arrival in the French capital, we continue by rail to the city of Blois, situated on the banks of the River Loire. Here we check into the Mercure Blois for a four night stay.
Today we enjoy an excursion to the International Garden Festival in Château de Chaumont. The festival has been one of the world's leading events in terms of spotting new trends and landscape designs since its inaugural year in 1992, and boasts over 30 themed gardens. You have the luxury of a Domaine ticket, which grants you entry to not only the day festival but the entire of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. After a guided tour that also includes entrance to Château de Chaumont itself, we return to Blois.
Today begins with an excursion to Château de Chenonceau, arguably the most iconic of its kind in the Loire Valley. The Château elegantly spans the River Cher and is a fine example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. After exploring the Château and its picturesque fountain gardens, we travel by coach to the town of Amboise, former home of Leonardo da Vinci, who died here in 1519. We visit his former manor house, Clos Lucé, which still contains a number of his inventions.
Day 4 is at leisure, you could further explore Blois at your own pace, or why not make a visit to nearby Château de Villandry? Celebrated for its rich Renaissance style gardens that include a variety of water gardens, ornamental flower beds and vegetable patches, all set within a puzzle pattern of low-box hedges.
Today we are driven by coach north to Rambouillet, stopping en-route at Chartres. On arrival we check into the Mercure Rambouillet for three nights. On Day 6 we travel by coach to nearby Giverny to visit the former home and gardens of Impressionist founder and painter, Claude Monet, and experience the environment that so inspired his work.
Today we visit the grand Versailles Palace, the opulent former seat of the Royal family until the French Revolution. The Palace gardens are equally as impressive. The grounds are some of the most recognisable in the world and feature a web of manicured lawns, extravagant fountains and dramatic sculptures. Much of the garden landscape is built around a series of lakes and canal waterways that feed the mesmerizing fountains in the centre of the park grounds.
We also enjoy the awe-inspiring interior of this wonderful building, rich in colour and jewels on a guided tour You can also see the historically important Hall of Mirrors, the former seat of the French government and famously the site of the Treaty of Versailles signing, which brought an official end to the conflict of World War One. The spectacular grandeur of the palace is matched only by its rich history and importance throughout the ever-changing political climate of historic France. On our return to the hotel tonight, we enjoy a final, farewell dinner together.
This morning we board a coach in Rambouillet and make the short trip to Paris. Here, we continue by Eurostar service to London St Pancras International where our tour concludes.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.
Just a short walk from Blois's impressive cathedral, the modern 4-Star Hotel Mercure Blois Centre enjoys a location at the heart of the city, close to the railway station and with views of the Loire Valley. Each room is en suite with a fresh, contemporary fell. They are well-equipped with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen television and tea & coffee making facilities. The hotel also boasts a restaurant and bar that looks out over a heated indoor pool, as well as a sauna, hot tub and hammam.
Our second hotel of the tour is the 4-Star Mercure Rambouillet, a former coaching in that dates back to the 1500s. Just a short walk from the spectacular Château de Rambouillet, some areas of the hotel provide scenic castle views. Here, you can relax in the restaurant that offers delicious regional food, or enjoy a drink in the restaurant. The rooms are air-conditioned throughout, and include a television, a minibar, complimentary Wi-Fi, and tea & coffee-making facilities.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!