to the Loire Valley
The hills slope gently down to the river below, whose banks are lined with fruit orchards, and fields with artichoke, asparagus and other vegetables. The land here is rich. Snuggled between the fields and the river is a bike path. In the middle of the water, kayakers stop to explore the small, pristine isles on foot before continuing their paddling. On the far bank, vineyards, and, rising above, a majestic chateau.
This is the Loire Valley, the garden of France, the valley of Kings.Tailor my trip
As a local guide, it is this remarkable sense of details in the setting up of each trip that highly characterises Académie des Arts de Vivre. With AAV, guests experience a unique and optimised travelling experience.Noémie G. Expert Guide
5 things you don’t know
about the Loire Valley
The garden of France, the Valley of Kings… An idyllic holiday destination. Parts of the region, the 280 kilometers stretching from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire, are among the most fertile and architecturally rich, and have been classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Here are a few facts that you might not know about the Loire region:
Orléans was home to the original kings of France, with a dynasty dating back to the 9th century.
Around the World in 80 Days. Twenty thousand Leagues under the Sea. Author Jules Verne was born in Nantes, downriver from the Loire Valley.
Joan of Arc met King Charles VII at the Royal Fortress of Chinon, an important moment which led to lifting the siege of Orleans during the Hundred Years’ War.
The Chateau de Cheverny inspired Hergé, the author of the famous comic book series Tintin, for his drawings of Moulinsart.
Cointreau, an orange-flavored triple sec liqueur and ingredient to many modern cocktails, was invented in Angers, in the Loire Valley.
Loire Valley travel guide
The foundation of your luxury vacation is luxury accommodations—and in the Loire Valley, that means staying in a castle, just like the kings did. Actually, more comfortable than the kings, since AAV (Académie des Arts de Vivre) has handpicked the finest luxury hotels, retreats and getaways for pampering and indulgence.
Combining refinement and elegance, Les Hauts de Loire, a 19th-Century hunting lodge that is now devoted entirely to good living and the simpler, subtler pleasures in life, with a swimming pool, hotel spa, kids club, outdoor terraces and open air art gallery on 70 hectares of private park and forest. The restaurant has two Michelin stars.
The Chateau de la Bourdaisière is a magnificent castle of the XVth century built by French king François I, with all the comforts you expect from deluxe accommodations. Its luxurious gardens boast an extraordinary kitchen garden, one full hectare. It is located midway between Tours and the Chateau du Clos Lucé in Amboise, the former home of Leonardo da Vinci.
Travellers love the Chateau de Noizay, perfect for a romantic getaway: gourmet restaurant, cosy yet elegant décor, outdoor heated pool, tennis court, and in-room massage and relaxation treatments.
With an enchanting view overlooking the Loire river, the Hotel le Choiseul is a series of 18th century private homes surrounding a maze of Italian style gardens, with a heated outdoor pool.
Chateau d’Artigny was the dream of François Coty, the famous perfumer who rose to fortune during World War I, and the five star chateau has all the elegance and refinement associated with the period: marble, woodwork, frescos painted in trompe l’oeil, French gardens, spa, and swimming pool.
Accommodations at these luxury hotels include guest rooms and suites – and even villas– with tailor-made options to make your honeymoon, family getaway, and luxury holidays unforgettable.
Best luxury experiences in the Loire Valley
The splendour of Renaissance chateaux
Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Chambord. Legendary names. When you visit these Renaissance chateaux, your local guide will transform into a storyteller, sharing with you the stories behind the buildings and how that affected their architecture… and their beauty. Your day trip will include other magical chateaux nearby. For more on our chateaux experiences.
The best gardens in the Loire Valley
Your local guide will take you on a private tour of the very best gardens in the Loire Valley. Among them, the enchanting Chateau de Villandry, considered to be the world’s most exquisite vegetable garden with its extensive hydraulic system and terraces. From there, the owner of the Chateau de Valmer, a respected botanist and author, will give you a personal tour of the gardens which were carefully restored to their original Italianate design. For more on our garden experiences.
The Loire Valley has some of the finest wines in the world: Sancerre, Vouvray, Saint Andelin, Pouilly Fumé, Quincy, Reuilly… Your sommelier and chauffeur will accompany you to prestigious vineyards where you will have private tour the domains with the property owner before enjoying wine tastings of the most renowned vintages. For more on our wine experiences.
See the chateaux from above
There is a special magic to a ride in a montgolfiere, a hot air balloon, which is the logo of AAV evoking adventure, beauty, stability and travel. Floating above the Loire Valley with its chateaux, picturesque villages, cottages and farmhouses nestled in the enchanting countryside at sunset or sun rise, you will have a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When is the best time to visit the Loire Valley?
At any time of the year, the Loire Valley is for the discerning traveler who is looking for rich cultural experiences along with beautiful landscapes. Nature is abundant here, at all seasons.
The Loire Valley in winter:
In winter, fog and mist rise from the river, creating ghostly yet magical landscapes. The Loire Valley can be cold in winter but temperatures seldom fall below freezing. The main chateaux are open so you will have the pleasure of visiting them without the crowds. Blois and Orléans both have Christmas markets, with a carrousel, big wheel and skating rink in Orléans, sure to delight the kids.
The Loire Valley in spring:
The garden of France wakes up in springtime; the Loire becomes gentle and green, and flowers start to blossom. Spring is also the best time for biking and cycling, before the crowds and the heat of summer. Bird watchers will enjoy observing the large number of migratory birds who pass by in this season.
The Loire Valley in summer:
In summer, the Loire Valley’s world famous gardens come to full bloom, as do the festivities in the region: the yearly International Garden Festival at Chamont-sur-Loire, the classical music festival at Sully, and the jazz festival at the Chateau de Cheverny. Canoing and kayaking are also interesting now. In summer, the river is low, exposing small islands and sand bars which you can explore.
The Loire Valley in autumn:
Autumn is magnificent in the Loire Valley, so much so that the Chateau of Chaumont-sur-Loire has created an event called ‘The Splendors of Autumn’. This is a special time for nature lovers—the many forests and vineyards turn to red and gold, the light softens. Harvest time for mushrooms, pumpkins, apples and pears, this is also the ideal time for gourmets.
Travel tips about the Loire Valley
There are over 300 chateaux and 4,000 wineries in the Loire Valley, so the difficulty isn’t finding something to see but selecting what to see first, what will have the most meaning for you and how to make this your dream vacation. This is where AAV’s expert local guides and sommelier really come into play. With the knowledge and insight of AAV’s local experts, your holiday becomes a once-in-a-lifetime, unique experience, tailor-made for you. You will have private, exclusive encounters designed just for you—truly the ultimate luxury travel.
For film lovers
The Cannes Film Festival is all about glamor. Every January, the Film Festival in the city of Angers focuses on the first film of European cinematographers. If you like discovering the latest and most avant-garde talents in cinema, this is for you!
The Loire Valley has many examples of troglodyte caves, where man has dug into the stone to create a useful space, ranging from cellars to homes. Visit the troglodyte wine cellars at the Brédif Winery or the mushroom caves in Bourré. Some of the private dwellings are open for visits as well.
Delight the kids
For family vacations, visit the Chateau du Rivau, a fairy-tale castle whose whimsical gardens are inspired by mediaeval folklore. You will encounter elves, ogres, giants, good fairies and fantastic topiary animals. There is a treasure hunt for younger children and an escape game for teenagers and adults.
At night fall, go to the Chateau of Chenonceau where you can meet local winemakers, taste Touraine Chenonceau wines, stroll in the illuminated gardens, and visit the Grande Galerie over the river Cher. To cap off the evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner in the Orangerie.
A wine cellar like no other
The Bouvet-Ladubay winery is famous for its sparkling wines. To visit the wine cellar, you choose a vintage bicycle, put on a headlamp, then ride through five kilometers of ancient tunnels, formed by excavations in the 19th century to provide stone for building many of France’s monuments as well as, rumor has it, the foundations of Westminster Abbey.
If you wish to schedule a time to speak about the trip you have in mind, please click on the “Tailor my trip” button and fill in our form. We will get back to you very shortly after reception of your request.