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While in France, treat yourself to a remarkable day long excursion from Paris into the illustrious Loire Valley. One of our expert tour guides will usher you into Renaissance Age as you explore three of the world’s most renowned châteaux; the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, and the Château de Cheverny. While touring the Loire Valley, you will have a perfect opportunity to glimpse the life of the Kings of France and the members of their courts.
Your enchanting day begins at departure point, central Paris at 7:15 a.m. (all details will be listed on your voucher), when you board the deluxe air-conditioned coach and set off on a two- hour drive through the exquisite French countryside. Your relaxing drive takes you to the resplendent Château de Chambord around 9:30 a.m.
Tucked away in the midst of a vast hunting ground, Château de Chambord is one of the largest châteaux in the Loire Valley. King Francis I of France commissioned the chateau in 1519 as a hunting lodge, during its 28-year construction; Leonardo da Vinci assisted in its oversight. Be sure to see one of the Château de Chambord’s most notable features, the stunning double helix staircase. The double helix represented the Tree of Life during this time. The Château de Chambord gained notoriety for housing priceless collections from the Louvre during World War II.
Picture © Patrick Rebai
Your next stop on the tour is the grand and glorious Château de Chenonceau, which arose from the ashes of a chateau built on the site in the 11th century. The current structure resembles a visage from a fairytale, rising exquisitely over the River Cher. An architectural blend of late Gothic and early Renaissance, the Château de Chenonceau and its gardens were works in progress from 1515 to 1521. Chenonceau, often called The Ladies’ Castle, has been home to several renowned aristocratic French ladies. However, mistress of Henry II, Diane de Poitiers, is responsible for much of the chateau’s grandeur as well as the intricate gardens and the bridge that spans the River Cher. The magical architecture and lavish décor transport you back in time to a refined and characteristically French style of living. The Château de Chenonceau is so regal and remarkable that aside from the Royal Palace of Versailles, it is the most toured château in France.
Picture © Marc - www.chenonceau.com
By building chateau Chenonceau on the Cher river in the 1513, Thomas Bohier razed the castle-keep and the FORTIFIED MILL of the Marques family only keeping the dungeon. It is sad that he never managed to see the finished castle and was completed by his wife and son. Later, it became crown property. Henri II offered this castle to his favourite, Diane de Poitiers. She then decided to have a bridge built, linking the castle to the right bank of the river. This was done by Philibert de l'Orne, the resident architect. Following the death of Henri II, Catherine de Medicis took over the ruling and forced Diane de Poitiers to return the chateau Chenonceau to crown. During her reign and as the Queen mother, Catherine commissioned a great gallery to be built on the bridge.
Your final tour of the day is the Château de Cheverny or Amboise (see details below). This majestic home is the youngest of the chateaux you will see on your tour; its construction began in 1624. Richly appointed with furnishings dating from the 17th century, the chateau features remarkably well-preserved interiors as well as a pack of seventy plus hunting hounds which live in kennels on the grounds.
Picture © Chateau Cheverny
One of the first truly "royal" residences of its kind, chateau Amboise was built during the 15th and the 16th centuries on the orders of Charles VIII, Louis XII and François 1. Following in the footsteps of the great kings of France, you will discover a magnificent example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Today, the Chateau still houses an exceptional collection of furniture which has been admirably preserved.