July 7, 2020
We are often asked what our favorite destinations for the best cooking vacations are, and as I explained in our recent video (see below!), that…Read This Post
What is there to see in the Loire Valley? Some of the world’s most stunning chateaux, Renaissance art, verdant fields, and rolling vineyards.
What is there to experience in the Loire Valley? Amazing wines and first class gastronomy!
In fact, the Loire is known for having some of the best wines of France, even though it is perhaps less known by Americans than Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne. Loire Valley wines are predominantly white (although you will find some reds as well). From fruity to sparkling to intense, the wines you can taste on our Loire Valley wine tours will thrill your palate and pair perfectly with the region’s signature dishes and artisanal products.
Discover on our Loire Valley wine tasting tours such privileged wines as Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Vouvray and Muscadet, to name a few. Most Loire Valley wines utilize the Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet franc or Melon de Bourgogne grapes. Each lends its own character to the wines they make, but a general rule of thumb with Loire Valley wines is that they are light, crisp, moderately alcoholic, and un-oaked, which allows the full complexity of the terroir to shine forth and makes them ideal wines for pairing with food.
But it’s not only the wines that you will enjoy on our Lorie Valley wine tours and cooking vacations. You will of course discover also some of the region’s famous chateaux. These magnificent structures number in the hundreds in the Loire Valley, but even a trip of a few days’ will whet your appetite for the beautiful and grandiose homes that were built by the area’s nobles – and kings!
There is the Chateau of Blois, a history lesson in itself, as it blends Gothic, Flamboyant, Renaissance, and Classic styles. The chateau of Cheverny epitomizes the classical style of the Loire Valley and is a perfect example of Renaissance art and interiors. The Chateau of Chambord, which was the first of the valley to be declared a UNESCO world heritage site, is perhaps the French Renaissance chateau par excellence.
The Chateau de Chambord has 426 rooms, 83 staircases, and 282 fireplaces.
But that is just the beginning of the amazing sites to explore. The Chateau of Chenonceau, one of the region’s most recognizeable, is known for the famous personages who resided there (including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici) and for its beautiful gardens. It likes charmingly over the Cher River – yes, built over the actual river bed!
Head to Amboise for two special sites: the Castle of Amboise, formerly a residence of French Kings, is the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci, while the nearby Clos Luce is where Leonardo lived before his death.
Still not convinced? The Chateau of Villandry boasts some of the most esteemed formal gardens in France, while the Chateau of Langeais, which was the wedding site of King Charles VIII and Ann of Brittany, boasts mammoth decorated chimney pieces.
What is amazing about the Loire Valley is you can easily pair it with a visit to Paris. Take the high speed train to Tours, which takes just a couple of hours, and we will pick you up for your Loire Valley wine tour.
If you have a more active nature, you can explore the area by bike – yes, by bike! Bike through the countryside or along the Loire river, explore charming villages and visit the area’s chateaux, and stop for wine tastings at local wineries.
Throughout our Loire Valley wine tours you can enjoy the local products that are such a part of the area’s fame: not only the region’s goat cheeses (you can also visit a goat farm to learn how the cheeses are made), but also the fresh produce, especially fruit, different types of rillettes (similar to a terrine or paté), excellent game, and tasty nougat.
Our Loire Valley wine tours and cooking vacations also include cooking lessons at local cooking atelier. You will join the chefs and explore French gastronomy the old-fashioned way – by making it yourself. And the best part: you can enjoy your creations paired with fine Loire Valley wines at the end.
Contact us today to discuss your next trip to France!
By Peg Kern
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