This rail holiday to France uses the Eurostar and high speed TGV services to travel from London St Pancras to Tours in just five hours. Once in the Loire Valley, we include a hire car for you to explore the area and travel between three chateaux hotels situated in different parts of the Loire valley, enabling you to see its varied landscape, numerous chateaux and towns along its rivers. The Loire Valley was traditionally the hunting grounds of French Kings and is renowned for its gentle countryside, vineyards, forests, rivers and of course the chateaux that once belonged to the French nobility. The area is also suited to a wide range of activities such as cycling, canoeing, walking, riding and golf.Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to France.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay oneLeave London St Pancras at around 9am and travel by Eurostar to Lille. Following a simple change of platform in Lille, continue southwards by TGV to St Pierre des Corps station in Tours arriving around 4pm. Here you collect your hire car and drive to your first chateau – Chateau de la Bourdaisiere, which is just 8 miles from Tours. Spend two nights at Chateau de la Bourdaisiere.Day twoFrom the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere, a Renaissance chateau owned today by a Prince who has created marvellous gardens of fruit trees, tomatoes and dahlias. From here you should visit the chateaux of Chenonceau and Amboise. The gardens at the Chateau of Chenonceau are beautiful and there is a magnificent vegetable garden.Day threeYour end-destination today is the 12th Century Chateau de Marcay in undulating grounds south of the mediaeval town of Chinon. However, en route you have the city of Tours with its mediaeval quarter and the delightfully picturesque chateau of Azay-le-Rideau. Day fourChinon itself, home to Rabelais, is worthy of a visit. The castle dominates the town and there are nearby vineyards too. However, a short drive away is the spectacular castle of Villandry on the banks of the river Loire and resplendent with its outstanding gardens. From here you can cross the river and visit the wine towns of St Nicolas de Bourgeuil and then stop at Fontevraud Abbey on the way back, resting place of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son, Richard the Lionheart.Day fiveToday you drive to Chateau de Noirieux – 55 miles away, but make sure to stop to visit the troglodyte houses built into the soft rock on the banks of the Loire and also the historic town of Saumur.Day sixThe Chateau de Noirieux consists of the chateau itself and a manor house but there are acres of fields and woods to explore. Anjou vineyards are nearby as is the city of Angers with its Cointreau distillery.Day sevenDrive back to Tours St Pierre des Corps rail station and return your hire car. This is a journey of about 80 miles. Take a train leaving early afternoon via Lille to London St Pancras where you arrive just after 6pm.PRICESFrom £1,340 per person for class rail travel.From £1,285 per person for second class rail travel. Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room.What’s included?First or second class travel on all trains (as above) including Eurostar At the hotels: 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Chateau de Marcay2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Chateaux de NoirieuxGroup B hire-car for the duration of your stay in the Loire Valley.What’s not included?Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (though we can arrange this on request at additional cost)Meals other than breakfast at the hotelsAny services not mentioned aboveDatesThis rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.For more information regarding rail services to and within France, view our train guide.
Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.Chateau de la Bourdaisere – 3 star equivalent – Montlouis sur LoireIn the heart of the Loire Valley, the 55 hectare estate of Chateau de la Bourdaisere offers spectacular grounds made for exploration. Set amongst these beautiful, expansive grounds the 16th century castle exudes a regal charm. The hotel has 29 individually decorated guestrooms divided between the main chateau itself and the Choiseul Lodge. The gardens are home hundreds of varieties of fruit trees, dahlias and vegetables in the kitchen garden. The hotel's own produce is used in the restaurant, and aspiring chefs can also take part in cookery classes. Other facilities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, fitness circuit and horse riding club.See more detail on Chateau de la BourdaisereChateau de Marcay – 4 star – near ChinonThis enchanting chateau dates from the 12th century though the main building is 15th century. It became a hotel in 1971 following a major renovation programme. This breath-taking property, surrounded by its own extensive lawns and gardens, now offers 30 bedrooms to guests. The rooms are scattered throughout the main chateau and the more modern wing. Guests can enjoy use of the two comfortable lounges, a TV lounge, a bar and of course an elegant Michelin-starred restaurant which serves regional cuisine alongside produce from the hotel’s own orchard and kitchen garden.See more detail on Chateau de MarcayChateau de Noirieux – 4 star - BriollayAlso a member of Relais and Chateaux, this four-star hotel is a beautifully restored chateau and manor house. The Chateau de Noirieux is a wonderfully relaxing and comfortable property which welcomes guests with a homely ambience, a perfect base to explore the western part of the Loire. The hotel has 19 guestrooms which are located both in the main chateau and also in the Manoir house. Guests can enjoy the fine cuisine of chef Gerard Come in the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, or at the more relaxed Bistrot. The hotel facilities also include a heated outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, tennis courts and complimentary bicycles.See more detail on Chateau de Noirieux
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Paris Airport Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK. Currency Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24) Size Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long Population 66 million Average temperature Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round
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