The Loire Valley—right out of a fairy tale. Graceful castles and flawless manicured gardens. An idyllic landscape made lush by the majestic water of the Loire River. A rolling symphony of vineyards, orchards, fields and rivers. Decadent cuisine and exquisite wines. Order and elegance have shaped the Loire Valley. Now it's your turn.
1 Bike quiet rural roads to inspiring architectural landmarks | A sampling of Chinon's wine and local fare is the perfect way to begin our Loire Valley sojourn | Warm up your legs on a pleasant ride through the castle-dotted landscape to Château de Rochecotte, a beautiful estate brimming with charm and baroque décor.
2 Sample superb local vintages | Pedal through vineyards and picturesque towns like Restigné, where you can stop to admire the medieval St-Martin de Restigné cathedral | Discover Château de Gizeux, a historic monument dating back to the Middle Ages, and enjoy a picnic on the grounds.
3 Relax at gracious castle-hotels | A leisurely ride through fields, vineyards and forested Loire villages leads to Azay-le-Rideau, set on the bank of the Indre River | Visit the town's Renaissance château, considered one of the most magnificent in France and beloved for its splendid period furnishings and elaborate tapestries | Savor an elegant dinner of local seasonal specialties.
4 Delve into fascinating French history where it actually unfolded | At magical Château de Chenonceau, spanning the Cher River, our local guide reveals the castle's past as we walk through richly appointed salons and vast galleries | In Amboise, choose an outdoor table and sip a café on Rue Nationale, a prime people-watching spot.
5-6 Renaissance, medieval and classical châteaux are yours to discover | Cycle along rolling hills to Château de Chaumont, set among verdant lawns and meandering paths | Explore the castle's plush chambers and stunning collection of themed gardens | Opt for a final spin through the countryside or a leisurely morning at the hotel | Visit Leonardo da Vinci's former home, Clos Lucé, and be inspired by the artist's remarkable work on display in the property's museum.