Book a 2018 holiday before 14 August and our home pick-up service is doubled to 100 miles.
Meals included: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
Cruise to the heart of the Loire Valley aboard a purpose-built paddle wheel ship to explore the gorgeous gardens and the grandiose architecture of the region's famed châteaux. The Loire Valley conjures up visions of fairytale chateaux set against a background of green fields and rows of trees as far as you can see.
Please call our Travel Specialists to book this holiday with an extension
Fly to Nantes where you will be met and transferred to your ship for embarkation.
After breakfast, join an optional guided visit of Nantes and stroll along the winding streets of the Bouffay medieval quarter to the flamboyant Gothic Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul. Next, visit Feydeau Island, a former island now joined to the rest of the town and a superb example of 18th-century architecture. On the quays, explore the shopping area around the Graslin Theatre and the famous 'Passage Pommeraye' shopping mall before visiting the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. This Breton monument houses a residential palace with elegant facades and loggias dating from the Renaissance period. After dinner back on board, set sail for Saint-Nazaire.
Take an optional tour of Saint-Nazaire, a commune in western France framed with quaint fishing cabins. Begin with a visit to the museum Escal'Atlantic, housed in former German World War Two submarine pens, to explore the historic ocean liner experience. Head to Saint-Nazaire shipyard, one of the largest in Europe, recognised the world over for its shipbuilding know-how. Alternatively, visit the medieval city of Guérande, overlooking the salt marshes, the undisputed symbol of the region.
Continue along the Loire and enjoy an optional drive along the exceptional Muscadet Wine Route and continue to La Chapelle Heulin to visit Chateau Cassemichère (or similar) for wine tasting in the vineyard. Learn about the historic vineyard, visit the cellars and taste the lovely white wine: dry, light, fruity and floral.
Take an optional tour of the charming French town of Angers, the capital of the Anjou region and former home of the House Plantagenet. The old town of Angers features half-timbered houses such as the ornate 14th-century Maison d'Adam, the Cathédrale St-Maurice with twin 75m spires and elaborate stained-glass rose windows. Visit the famous medieval fortress of King René where the world renowned 'Apocalypse Tapestry' hangs, the most important set of medieval tapestries still in existence in the world today Cross the city of Canons and arrive in La Douter, a village at the heart of Angers. Later, perhaps join an optional trip to Saumur and the Cadre Noir Riding School, listed by UNESCO as part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Visit the Grand Manège, the stables and the Prestige tack room followed by a stroll around Saumur town for views of the castle.
A full day optional visit the chateaux of the Loire Valley. Drive to the elegant Château Azay-le-Rideau, a historic UNESCO monument, built on an island in the middle of the Indre. Visit the grand country house of Villandry and wander the incredible gardens. After lunch, head to Rigny-Ussé to visit the fairytale-like Ussé Castle, built in the 15th and 16th centuries and believed to have inspired Charles Perrault to write 'The Sleeping Beauty'.
Join an optional excursion along the Angevine Corniche. Drive along the Loire Angevine levee road, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for spectacular views of the river. Visit Vaults Castle and gardens (or similar), and enjoy a sample of Anjou wines. Continue along the Angevine Corniche road, passing pretty villages and many viewing points along the Loire. After lunch on board, this afternoon is spent cruising the Loire: along its banks you can see a wonderful natural garden which has been shaped by the river over the centuries. Soak in the most beautiful sights along the untamed river in France.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, or extend your stay in Nantes with two nights at the Radisson Blu Nantes.
The following cruise optional excursion package can be purchased at the time of booking from £281 per person and includes:
Day 2: Cruise along Erdre
Day 3: City tour
Day 4: Drive the Muscadet Wine Route and enjoy a wine tasting experience
Day 5: City tour, visit to Saumur and the Cadre Noir Riding School
Day 6: Visits to Castles of the Loire such as Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and Ussé
Day 7: Visit to Vaults Castle, gardens and Anjou wine tasting experience
Or from £300 per person
As above but on day 3 visit Saint Nazaire shipyard instead of Guérande.
Note: All optional excursions are subject to change and a minimum number of participants are required for them to operate.
Please call our Travel Specialists to book this holiday with an optional excursion package.
There's no need to shop around. Find a cheaper like-for-like tour from another company, and we’ll not only match their price but also give you a £50 discount when you book with us.
They have in-depth knowledge of the places you’ll visit and will be on hand every step of the way with commentary entirely in English. 96% of customers rate them 'excellent' or 'good'.
We've been creating unforgettable holidays since 1994. We are a member of ABTA and all our flight-inclusive holidays are fully protected by the CAA's ATOL scheme.