You will start your day off by taking a train from Paris to the Tours central train station. Your guide will pick you up at the nearby, designated meeting location. Then you will be off in the mini-van to visit the beautiful chateaux of the Loire Valley.
The first castle up is the Chateau of Azay-Le-Rideau. This castle was built during the reign of Francis I during the 16th century. Here you will find an exemplary illustration of early French renaissance architecture. The chateau is built in the middle of the Indre River, with towers, turrets, and subtle influences and features of Italian art. Examine also the collection of Flemish and French tapestries which furnish the chateau’s apartments.
Next up you will visit the magnificent Gardens of Villandry. These gardens frame the Chateau of Villandry. These gardens were known for their beauty during the Renaissance. They are constructed on three different levels: the water garden with lime trees, a decorative flower garden, and the kitchen garden. The kitchen garden covers 12,500 square meters.
Then you will have lunch in a nice, regional restaurant in Tours.
During the afternoon you will depart for the Chateau of Chenonceau. This castle was built during the 16th century. It was modified by Diane de Poitiers and later by Catherine de Medici. This castle has inspired artists from the Renaissance on. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the French gardens.
The last castle is the Chateau of Chambord. Francois I built this castle in 1519. With 440 rooms this castle is very expansive and yet it was built like a fortress with Gothic roofs, turrets, and strong stone façades.
After your visit you will head back to Tours in your minivan. Then you will take the train back to Paris.
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✓ Guided tours are generally available at the entrance of the castles for free or for a few additional euros. This can be a great way to learn more about the history of each castle, BUT be sure to check the end time as not to miss the departure of the minivan for the rest of the excursion.
✓ The Chenonceau guided tour with a tablet is really worth following as it shows images and short movies.