There's a fairytale island village plus awe-inspiring châteaux on this 3-day tour from Paris. It's a chance to immerse yourself in the charms of western France — Normandy, Mont Saint-Michel, and the splendor of the châteaux of the Loire Valley, known as the Valley of 1,000 Castles.
Over the course of the three relaxing days, while someone else takes care of the details, you see and learn first-hand the history of France from Roman, medieval, and Renaissance eras. When you arrive in the charming French countryside you'll find out for yourself why Normandy and the Loire Valley are two of the most visited destinations in France.
On your stops in the Loire Valley you'll discover the world's largest collection of medieval tapestries at the Château d'Angers and the 1491 wedding trousseau of Anne of Brittany at Château de Langeais. You pay a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci's final residence and the museum dedicated to his inventive machines at the Clos Lucé in the Loire Valley. Then there area the spectacular Renaissance gardens of Château de Villandry.
The best part of this tour package is that all the details have been arranged, giving you a relaxing, rejuvenating time in France.
Leave Paris and drive through the rolling countryside of Normandy to arrive in time for lunch in Mont Saint-Michel. There you take a guided tour to learn the fascinating 1,000-year history of the craggy island. Then, head over to the Loire Valley to spend the night in the charming university town of Angers .
Leave Angers and pass through Saumur, famous for its sparkling wines, wild mushrooms, and fine horse riders. Stop in at Château de Langeais for a guided tour. You'll have lunch and time to explore in the bustling small town of Amboise. Spend the afternoon visiting Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci's last residence and then the dazzling gardens at Château de Villandry. The day ends in the historic city of Tours.
After breakfast take a guided tour of the most romantic castle of the Loire valley, the Château de Chenonceau. Lunch is served in Cheverny at Hotel Saint-Hubert before your last castle visit at the magnificent Château de Chambord. Leave Chambord late in the afternoon and reach Paris in time for dinner.
Transportation in a luxury air-conditioned coach, all entrance fees, professionally guided tours, two nights accommodation in 3-Star hotels, and most meals.
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Originally built by the Romans as a fortress due to its strategic defensive location, it was the Counts of Anjou who expanded Château d'Angers to its current impressive size in the 9th century. Seventeen huge drum towers protect the outer walls,. Inside the Château d'Angers is its star attraction, the 14th-century Apocalypse Tapestry and the largest collection of medieval tapestries in the world.
Built for Louis XI in the middle of the 14th-century, this medieval castle rises high above the river and is one of the only châteaux still furnished in original period pieces.
Among the treasures of Château de Langeais is the wedding trousseau brought by the 14-year-old Anne of Brittany when she married the dwarf-sized, hunchbacked Charles VIII in December 1491. From the castle tower you can see the bustling town below and the rolling countryside beyond.
We love the château, but we are absolutely amazed by the restored Renaissance gardens where ten gardeners work full time to plant 60,000 vegetables and bedding plants each year to fill the kitchen garden and the ornamental flower garden.
The gardens of Château de Villandry are built on three levels. There's a water garden, framed by ancient lime trees; a flower garden at the château level; and below, the world's largest ornamental kitchen garden.
Stretching across the River Cher, many consider Château de Chenonceau to be the loveliest in the Loire Valley. This pure Renaissance building was a favorite of Catherine de Medici. Once she evicted her rival Diane Poitiers (her husband's mistress) Catherine added the elegant gallery to the bridge plus a formal garden.
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Château de Chambord is largest of the château in the Loire Valley and was inspired by the passions of the young King François I — namely hunting game and chasing women. François enclosed the surrounding forest with 20 miles of 8-ft high fencing to keep both of his prey close at hand. His son, Henri II, continued to add to the château with a chapel. Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have designed the innovative double staircase of Château de Chambord.
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