Walking Loire Valley

Concise details on the Walking Loire Valley tour can be obtained by downloading the tour pdf [right]. Alternatively, read the tour description below and click through the sub-headings in the right-hand column for information on access, accommodation, availability, content and prices.

Walking Loire Valley comprises full-day walking through the ‘Garden of France’ plus the chance to enjoy some of its unique heritage – medieval and Renaissance castles, troglodyte dwellings and a world-class viticulture. Select your preferred tour length and enjoy the trip from mid-April to mid-October.”
Walking-Loire-Chateaux-departments-map

Walking Loire Valley is a fine walking trip along UNESCO’s world heritage ‘central Loire Valley’. It poses a moderate level of challenge as a result of distances traversed rather than any appreciable ascents or descents. There are two tour formats so take your choice based on your preference and the time available to you: a 10 or a 7-night version, where you will average 13 miles/21 kms walking per day. Whichever you opt for, you will enjoy a variety of trail, including riverside promenade and ledge, wood and forest, open countryside and, of course, vineyard walks through The Loire’s finest wine-growing areas.

Walking Loire Valley starts in Blois [ten-nighter] or Amboise [seven-nighter], both blessed with their own Chateau Royale and, more latterly, a Gare SNCF to facilitate your arrival. Sandwiched between these two railroad ‘book-ends’ is the book itself: the one you write. You walk for the best part of each day and then enjoy a series of cultural highs that most of Le Midi can only envy: numerous Renaissance and Medieval chateaux in an impeccable state of repair; troglodyte buildings and dwellings incorporated into the local architecture in the shape of hotels and guest house rooms, garages and even restaurants and snack bars; magnificent ornamental gardens that leave even the most horticulturally-challenged green-fingered; Europe’s largest monastic complex and final resting place of The Plantagenets; and, last but not least, an array of light, viticultural delicacies that embarrass Parker’s over-emphasis on high-alcohol taste bombs – enjoy a well-earned drink with your evening meal AND get up early and walk to the next watering hole that is sure to boast equally fine-but-light wines.

Complementing this fine array of cultural heritage is an excellent range of 2-star hotels that we are delighted to upgrade to 3-star in certain locations.

Walking Loire Valley promotes your own perfect balance between enjoying a good day’s walking and participation in the multifarious cultural opportunities that exist along this section of France’s longest river – all of which are documented in your comprehensive tour dossier. Tailor your walking holiday to your own unique interests in the knowledge that your hotels provide you with the early breakfast you need in order to maximise your opportunities for the day ahead.

Walking Loire Valley map

    There are two different formats for Walking Loire Valley:
    A. 10-night tour:


    £1135.00 Pounds Sterling or €1295.00 Euros
    [per person, shared double or twin-bedded room]

    # Please contact us to check for the latest Sterling prices. Sterling prices are confirmed at the time of booking.
    What’s Included
  • 10 nights B & B and all hotel taxes
  • 5 dinners
  • Luggage transfers throughout and two morning transfers
  • Up to 4 hotel upgrades where available
  • Hiking Insight Notes™ that empower & make orientation easy
  • 1:50,000 scale maps – perfectly adequate for orientation in this low-relief region.
  • A comprehensive and themed vacation dossier featuring the chateaux and wines of La Loire.
  • 7/7 Emergency telephone help-line service with native-English speaking local backup.

B. 7-night tour:

£880.00 Pounds Sterling or €995.00 Euros
[per person, shared double or twin-bedded room]

    What’s Included
  • 7 nights B & B and all hotel taxes
  • 4 dinners
  • Luggage transfers throughout and two morning transfers
  • Up to 4 hotel upgrades where available
  • Hiking Insight Notes™ that empower & make orientation easy
  • 1:50,000 scale maps – perfectly adequate for orientation in this low-relief region.
  • A comprehensive and themed vacation dossier featuring the chateaux and wines of La Loire.
  • 7/7 Emergency telephone help-line service with native-English speaking local backup.

What’s NOT Included in both tour formats

Lunches & drinks
Entrance fees into Chateaux, Abbeys, etc.
Personal expenses and any extra transfers
Hiking, personal and travel insurances
Travel to either Amboise or Blois and from Saumur
Single rooms – unless booked at single-person rate
  • Visit Renaissance chateaux and two medieval castles/chateaux forts;
  • Explore the magical 16th Century gardens of Villandry and the Abbey at Fontevraud – resting place of Richard the Lion Hearty;
  • Get to know three of the Loire’s tributaries – Le Cher, l’Indre and La Vienne;
  • Marvel at the Valley’s troglodyte dwellings and even request to stay in one overnight, subject to availability, 10-night troip only – boasting all creature comforts, bien sûr!;
  • Immerse yourself in UNESCO’s Garden of France and one of the Country’s top wine-growing regions, showcasing arguably the very best of French dry rosé wines. 
  • 10 or 7-night self-guided, hotel-to-hotel tour
  • Start any day, beg. mid-April to mid-October
  • Tour starts in Blois or Amboise and finishes in Saumur – convenient access and departure by train
  • Two star standard hotels with some upgrades to three stars
  • Approx. average of 13 miles/21 kms walking per day.
  • We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
  • Excellent levels of comfort throughout: 2-star hotels or chambres d’hotes du Charme;
  • 3 or 4 upgrades to 3-star hotels where available;
  • Conveniently-located and varied restaurants to suit different budgets and tastes where dinners not provided – information provided in tour dossier.
  • Blois SNCF station is 1½ to 2 hrs journey from Paris and 5 hrs from Lyon – see https://loco2.com/ for details.
  • Amboise SNCF station is 1½ to 2 hrs journey from Paris and from 4 to 5 hrs from Lyon
  • Saumur SNCF station is approx. 2½ hrs from Paris and 5 hrs from Lyon.
  • Maritime climate moderated by Continental influences. Warm, dry summers; mild and sunny spring & autumn
  • You walk through The Garden of France on a mix of trails, alongside river banks, through woods and forests, across farmland and alongside vines, with very modest elevation gains or losses.

 

Walking Loire Valley – Tour Itinerary

[Distances and times are approximate]

Day 1: Arrival in Blois by train [10-night trip]. and hotel check in. Early arrival recommended so as to maximize time in the Chateau Royal and enjoy a walk around the adjacent gardens – followed by a saunter around town and your first look at The Loire river. Night in Blois.

Day 2

Blois to Chaumont

[10½ miles-17 kms, 4½ hrs]

Chateau de Chaumont

You are collected from your hotel and transferred a short distance out of town to the start of the trail. You hike along The GR3 as it wends its way along the left bank of the Loire to Chaumont via the Beuvron tributary – not to mention your first experience of Loire Valley wood-walking. Once in Chaumont, you have plenty of time to visit Chaumont castle.

Night in Chaumont-sur-Loire

Day 3

Chaumont to Amboise

[15 miles-24 kms, 7 hrs].

Chateau Royal

We climb out of town to the west of the chateau, walk in and out of woods and reach the giddy heights of 112 ms. Then we enter the department of Indre-et-Loire before descending to l’Amasse, a small Loire tributary at Souvigny. Then its a mix of copse, wood and lost hamlets before arrival in Amboise. Time to visit the Chateau Royal and the Chapelle St Hubert.

Note: our 7-night trip commences from Amboise. Early arrival recommended so as to maximize time in the Chateau Royal and enjoy your first look at The Loire river.

Night in Amboise.

Day 4

Amboise to Chenonceau

[8 miles-13 kms, 4 hours]

Le Clos Lucé & the Allées d’Amboise

Before you leave Amboise, we highly recommend a visit Le Clos Lucé – home of Leonardo da Vinci. And it’s on the way! Then enjoy a charming, bucolic hike through the Amboise forest en route to arguably the quaintest chateau and gardens of the whole week – with access secured via walking a series of the symmetrical allées, so common in these traditionally walking-oriented parts.

Night in Chenonceau.

Day 5

Amboise to Vouvray

[12 miles-19kms, 6 hrs]

Across Montlouis Bridge

After-breakfast transfer back to Amboise. No chateaux on today’s agenda, so you enjoy a full day’s walking and discover the terroir of the chenin blanc grape [aka le Pineau de la Loire], cross the Loire River via a footpath alongside railway lines, and hopefully enter Vouvray in time to either visit a wine museum or enjoy a 30-minute tour of the local wine co-operative in English – subject to your arrival and local opening times – please state your interest at time of booking, as it is relevant to which accommodation we place you in. Interested in a troglodyte room subject to availability? Let us know when booking.

Night in/near Vouvray.

Note: our 7-night trip omits this day. You are instead transferred from Chenonceau to Vouvray after breakfast, from where you walk to Villandry.

Day 6

Vouvray to Villandry

[19½ miles-31 kms, 7 hrs]

Quick Touraine lunch?

A picturesque morning’s walk takes you to Tours, capital of Touraine. Unless you wish to add an extra night/day to your itinerary, we need to push on; so grab your packed lunch, jump onto the cross-city tramway, and reconnect with the trail at the southern edge of the City. You walk beside the Petit Cher and the Cher on route to Savonnieres, where the traditional flat-bottomed river boats abound. Climb the 100 steps to a fine passageway to the ancient village of Villandry, with its magnificent castle and ornate 16th century gardens. You’ll get to enjoy it tomorrow morning.

Night in Villandry.

Note: option to split this long day in two via an over-nighter in Tours. Please ask for details.

Day 7

Villandry to Azay

[8½ miles-13½ kms, 3½ hrs]

A stroll between two Castles

Get to the nearby gates of Villandry castle and its ornate 16th century gardens by 9am and you’ll have it to yourselves. Then it’s a relatively easy-going half day’s walk through the Vallee du Vau on route to the quaint village of Azay with its Renaissance chateau lapped by the waters of the river Inde. The village is very picturesque, too.

Night in Azay-le-Rideau.

Day 8

Azay to Chinon.

[17½ miles-28 kms, 7½ hrs]

Saint-Benoit-la-Foret

We cross l’Indre river and enter the Forest of Chinon. We follow some of the emblematic ‘allées’ of the region both to and from Saint-Benoit-la-Foret. The ledge walk from the outskirts of Chinon is worth savouring, which drops you conveniently at the front gates of Chinon’s magnificent medieval castle overlooking La Vienne river. This bijou village is blessed with so much to appreciate, including some fine red wine.

Option to shorten the day via a morning transfer – please ask.

Night in Chinon.

Day 9

Chinon to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye

[10½ miles-17 kms, 4½ hrs]

Plantagenets’ rest

If you didn’t have time to visit the chateau-fort yesterday, then now’s the time to do it. Then hug the river Vienne for the first half of the trail to La Chaussee. Then kick out across the Vallee des Veaux and through the Fontevraud forest. Enter Maine-et-Loire, pass the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Pitie before arriving in sacré Fontevraud, resting place of two Plantagenet kings and queens of England, including Richard The Lionheart. Both Abbey and village are a treat.

Night in Fontevraud.

Day 10

Fontevraud-l’Abbaye to Saumur

[16 miles-25½ kms, 6½ hrs]

Terroir Troglodyte

We commence by walking through the Fontevraud forest and across some scenic fields before arriving at a memorable belvedere above the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers. You can visit the Chateau de Montsoreau [made famous by Alexandre Dumas] and a troglodyte wine estate before striding out across AOC Saumur-Champigny country. Plenty of fine belvederes await along the balcony route to Saumur, with its ‘chateau d’amour’ perched on a tuffeau slope.

Want to split the last day’s walking, visit another chateau, stay in another troglodyte room and eat in a troglodyte restaurant? Ask us for details.

Night in Saumur.

Day 11: Departure day – end of your Walking Loire Valley tour – Saumur has a gare SNCF, so onward travel by train is very convenient.

Further Reading:
  • Heritage of La Loire – under construction
Other Moderate tours to consider are…
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Loire Chateaux Walks

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