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Kings were often absent from Paris, preferring the heart of France in the Loire Valley, where their stays were in an array of grand chateaux that are still enjoyed today.


The landscape links such masterly of Renaissance Chateaux as Blois, Amboise, and Chambord. Here too, is the medieval castle of Chinon, where modern France was born in 1429 when Joan of Arc persuaded the future Charles VII to become king and take up arms against the English. For romance and intrigue, there is nothing better than   Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau and the Abbey Fontevraud; where the firey Eleanor of Aquitaine lies peacefully next to her Henry II.

The entire Loire Valley, with its abundance of fine chateaux and grand manors has been listed at a UNESCO World Heritage site. So there is a lot to see and experience. Loire Valley wines include 65 appellations of every style – red, white, rose, still & sparkling, dry and everything in between.


  • Discover Chambord a “hunting lodge” for the King as it sits in a national game reserve as large as Paris itself.

  • Rake your own Sea Salt on the marshes of Guerande

  • Walk the “double helix” stairway in Chambord, a creation of Leonardo Da Vinci.

  • Sip awhile at the Cointreau distillery

  • Cycle along the Loire River to spectacular gardens of Touraine and Villandry

  • A Seaweed cooking class or Seaweed Spa treatment – its healthy, either way.

  • Visit Clos Luce the final home of Leonardo and celebrate his 500th year anniversary.

  • Taste the wines Cheverny and Cour Cheverny, a stunning white wine made from a grape called Romorantin, imported by King Francois I

  • Enjoy food pairings of Anjou, Muscadet, Sancerre, and Pouilly-Fume.

  • Overnight on  Houseboat on the Sarthe River

  • Cooking Class with the  Director of the Culinary Arts Institute in Blois

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