This rail holiday is the perfect getaway for wine lovers and aficionados of fine French vintages. This rail holiday uses convenient train connections to visit the French wine regions of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. We include a hire car in both locations and a train between the two, giving you complete flexibility during your visits and no long tiring drives which are often typical of a holiday to France.The Loire Valley and Bordeaux region compliment each other perfectly. Both are world renowned wine growing areas and are famous too for their beautiful chateaux, yet the scenery of the two regions is different. The main 280km stretch of the ‘Val de Loire’ was officially named as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, and its no wonder why when the region is liberally scattered with fine chateaux, quaint villages and attractive countryside. You enjoy a few days here before continuing further south to the patchwork fields and vineyards of the Bordeaux region. In this rail holiday, guests can explore the pretty villages, tour the grand chateaux of the regions and of course taste the delicious wines that France is famous for.Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to France.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay oneBegin your rail holiday by departing London St Pancras just after 9am and travelling by Eurostar to Paris, where you arrive at lunchtime. The rail journey continues southwards through changing landscapes to Tours. On arrival into St Pierre des Corps station you collect your hire car and drive the 34 miles to Chateau de Marcay. The hotel has a tranquil, rural setting; there are views over fields and vineyards and in the distance the rooftops of nearby villages. Spend three nights at Chateau de Marcay.Days two and threeYou have the next two days at leisure to explore the Loire Valley with your hire car. There is plenty to keep you occupied in the local area, including visits to vineyards, chateaux and even the intriguing troglodyte caves that are only a 45 minute drive away. Many of the local villages have weekly markets where you can try local produce, or simply while away the time sipping coffee in a charming café.Day four Return your car to St Pierre des Corps station and take the train to Bordeaux, leaving at midday. The scenic journey across France takes 2.5 hours. On arrival in Bordeaux, collect another hire car and drive to hotel Les Sources de Caudalie, 10 miles away. Spend three nights at Les Sources de Caudalie.Days five and sixAnother two days are yours to explore the Bordeaux region with your hire car. The time here is yours to spend as you wish, perhaps you will choose to visit the wonderful vineyards of Medoc, taste freshly caught oysters at Arcachon or discover the delightful wine towns of the region such as St Emilion. The city of Bordeaux itself offers architectural gems such as the Grand Theatre and Bordeaux Cathedral, whilst the Musée d’Aquitane houses a permanent collection of Bordeaux and Aquitane’s regional history.Day sevenReturn your car to Bordeaux and travel by train back to London via Lille, leaving Bordeaux late morning and arriving in the UK about 7 hours later.PRICESFrom £1,490 per person for first class rail travel.From £1,410 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 EurostarAt the hotels: 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Chateau de Marcay near Chinon3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Les Sources de Caudalie near BordeauxCategory A car hire for 6 days What’s not included?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.Chateau 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 Marcay.Les Sources de Caudalie – 5 star - near BordeauxThis excellently situated hotel is surrounded by the Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard and is owned by the same family. Les Sources de Caudalie offers high levels of service and comfort alongside a perfect combination of wine-tasting, gastronomy and relaxation. The 49 bedrooms, each one individually named and decorated to reflect the style and colours of the region, are spread throughout the wings and in small houses in the grounds. The hotel has two restaurants, run by chef Frank Salein: the Michelin-starred ‘La Grand Vigne’ and the more casual ‘Table du Lavoir’. Les Sources de Caudalie also offers a wonderful vinotherapy spa which uses the Caudalie products and cosmetics based on grape and vine extracts. This hotel comes highly recommended.See more detail on Les Sources de Caudalie.
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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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