An amazing walk among the great architectural treasures of the Loire Valley.
Loire Valley (Vallee de La Loire in French) was added to the unique UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2000 due to its exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages, great architectural monuments – the Chateaux – and lands that have been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular the Loire itself. With cities such as Orleans, Blois, Tours or Nantes, the Loire Valley offers an incredible quality of architectural heritage. Also known as the Gardens of France, Loire Valley is a great place to enjoy biological diversity, endless well kept forests (such as Forest of Amboise) and last but not least, its world class wines. We have graded this walk as “easy” as the average walking time is 4 hours, without any major ascent or descent.
The Loire Valley is noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage,in its world-famous castles, such as the Château of Amboise,Château of Chambord or Château of Chenonceaux (“Château des Dames”), three of the most exceptional castles in France with Versailles but there are also lots of small castles you will see during these walking holidays like Leonardo da Vinci's last home (Château du Clos Lucé).
Day 1: Blois
Situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours, Blois is the capital of the Loir-et-Cher department in central France. In 1986, Blois was given the “Ville d’art et d’histoire” label, a description awarded by the Ministry of Culture to cities that work to enhance and protect their heritage.
Day 2: Chambord to Bracieux
Taxi from Blois to Chambord. This small town is best known as the location of the Château de Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley. It is one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture. The Chambord castle appears suddenly at the edge of a path, and the sight of its white massive structure that widens and takes shape, little by little, produces a dramatic impression, which is even more striking at sunset. After visiting the castle (even if you did it yesterday), you will walk to Bracieux. In this stage, you will cross the unspoilt nature of Loire Valley and its famous vineyards.
Walking: 15.5 km
Day 3: Bracieux to Cheverny
You have now reached a pleasant hamlet called Bracieux. Breath in the peaceful atmosphere of this area. After reaching “Les Ogonières”, walk along and across a small lake called “Le Grand Cotlereau”. Now, the road to Cheverny is “Le Chemin aux boeufs”, an ancient way, which was used to transfer bullock herds from Limousin to Paris.After crossing Cheverny forest you enter the town where you will stop for the night.
Walking: 18.5 km
Day 4: Montrichard to Chenonceaux
Montrichard is dominated by the gorgeous ruined medieval castle, Château de Montrichard. The castle was constructed by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou, and rebuilt in the 12th century. Leaving the town you will go along Cher River. Follow the path to Chissay, Saint-Georges, Franceuil and Chenonceaux; places which combine history with culture and heritage. The entrance to the Chenonceaux castle looks like something out of a fairytale. You’ll see it 1km before you cross Cher River and enter the town.
Walking: 19.5 km
Day 5: Chenonceaux to Amboise
About 26 km east of Tours, Chenonceaux is situated on the right bank of the Cher River. It is a small but beautiful village in the Touraine-Chenonceaux wine-growing area, right next to the Forest of Amboise. After visiting Chenonceaux castle, go to Civray-de-Touraine and follow the trail to Amboise through the forest. Enjoy the small lakes and idyllic clearings at every turn of the way.
Walking: 15 km
Day 6: Chaumont to Blois
Taxis from Amboise to Chaumont.Chaumont-sur-Loire is a charming village on the banks of the Loire. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chaumont-sur-Loire is known for its feudal castle which stands tall over the valley and the village. Walk along the Loire River, a peaceful and pleasant meander. After crossing the areas of Candé-sur-Beuvron and Chailles, you will pass through a stretch of vineyards. Take a break to admire the magical landscapes at sunset before you enter the city of Blois.
Walking: 24 km
Day 7: Blois
The late-Gothic Blois Cathedral and quaint cobbled streets are wonderful way to explore before finishing your French walking holiday through the Loire Valley. We can arrange extra nights anywhere on the itinerary, either during your trip or after you finish. We can also arrange a station or airport transfer
Minor price adjusting can occur due to meals plan and/or accommodation.
How to get there: The nearest airport is at Tours, from there you can take train to Blois (about 30 min). You can also fly to Paris. From Paris you can take a train to Blois with 1 change at Tours (Saint-Pierre des Corps) - about 2, 20 h. Timetable of the trains you can check on www.sncf.co.uk
From Montrichard you can take train to Tours (about 30 min) and then again train to Paris.
Recommended travel period of the year: spring - autumn