Discover 3 highlights of the Loire Valley, listed in the World Heritage by the UNESCO, in this fully inclusive one day tour: You'll visit the castle of Azay le Rideau, the castle of Rivau and the gardens of Villandry. Enjoy lunch in a winery near Chinon. Entrance fees, lunch, wine around lunch, tour of each site are included.
In the morning: guided tour of the castle of Azay le Rideau. The location of that chateau on an island and the harmony of its facades make it one of the best examples of renaissance architecture in the Loire Valley. This chateau built by Gilles Berthelot, one of the kings financers is also famous for its magnificent staircase, typical of the French Renaissance, symbol of the social rising of its owner. You will tour the 16th century apartments: the gigantic ball room, Gilles’ bedroom, his wife’s bedroom, 17th century appartments furnished for king Louis XIII, 19th century apartments refurbished by the Marquis de Biencourt, the chateau’s last owner before the government took over.
Lunch in a winery. Located near Chinon, this estates specializes in cab francs, developing a wide range of reds and a thirst quenching rosé. Local food to be paired with the wines. This former fortified farm and 16th century chateau, now owned by a Belgian couple, produces organic wines. This buffet style lunch offer local meats, vegetables, deserts to match with different kinds of red wines, from the light cab franc made from young vines to a more structured red, slightly barreled and made from very old vines. They even produce a sparkling red to be paired with dessert.
First part of the afternoon: You will discover the Chateau of Rivau which offers a perfect balance between architecture, gardens and contemporary art. Visiting this confidential place is an original experience. The majestic aspect of this XVth century fortress contrasts with its quirky art exhibition. The huge garden of Rivau is its masterpiece, inspired by cartoons and fairy tales.
Second part of the afternoon: guided tour the gardens of Villandry. The large privately owned estate of Villandry is made of several gardens, of which the most famous are the Renaissance and the vegetable gardens. Around the Renaissance chateau built in 1536 by Jean le Breton, king Francis I finance minister are the 6 gardens that stretch on 17 acres: the vegetable garden, the Renaissance garden, the water garden, the herb garden, the sun garden and the maze. The estate of Villandry is privately owned and belongs to the descendant of M Carvallo, Spanish man, who, with his wife from New England, Ann Coleman, renovated the gardens and opened them to the public.
At around 5.30 pm and after a 30-minute drive you will be back to the Tours tourism office.