This circuit encompasses several of the most important Renaissance castles. We will visit: Cheverny (17th century) which has been owned by the same family for 7 centuries, Chambord, the hugest of all castles built by Francis Ist, Chaumont sur Loire (15th century), Amboise (15th century) royal castle residence of several French kings, Chenonceau, known as the “Castle of the ladies”. All these castles are between Cher and Loire valleys, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.
Day 1 : Arrival at Montrichard train station, transfer at 6.30 pm to the Castle hotel of Vallagon, or in the hotel to Montrichard.
Day 2: Breakfast at 8 am. Introduction of the horses. Departure on horseback at 10 am. We will ride across a little troglodyte village called Bourré, and we follow the river Cher up to Thésée with its roman vestiges. Then, riding through hills covered with vineyards, we will stop at a wine producer’s place for a picnic and wine tasting. Galloping through beautiful trails, we will arrive at Chémery where we will spend the night in an authentic medieval castle.
Day 3 : Departure at about 9:30 am. During a long morning ride, we will travel through forests and fields to reach the forest of Cheverny castle. We will visit the castle and have picnic. The castle, built from 1604 to 1634, displays a Henry IV and Louis XIII style façade. Inside, we will discover a splendid decoration. The castle has been owned by the same family for 7 centuries. Then, we will need 2 extra hours to reach Bracieux, riding through flat land with forests here and there. Dinner and night at the hotel.
Day 4 : Departure at 9:30 am towards Chambord castle, riding through the domain’s forest. This is the hugest of all Loire castles. Its gigantic dimensions made it a precursor for Versailles. It has been created by Francis Ist. We will have picnic near the castle, and will visit the castle. Two and a half more hours on horseback, mainly through the forest, and we will arrive close to Blois, where we will spend the evening.
Day 5 : Departure from the hotel at 9 am (car transfer to the horses). We will travel through fields towards the Loire river banks near Candé sur Beuvron. We will have picnic at the castle of Chaumont sur Loire, which we will visit. This ancient fortress has been reconstructed in the 15th century. It was the subject of a quarrel between queen Catherine de Médicis and her rival Diane de Poitiers, mistress of king Henry II. A short ride will bring us to a meadow for the horses at Rilly sur Loire. The riders will spend the night in a hotel at Chaumont.
Day 6: Departure at 10 am on horseback. We will follow the river Loire near the beach, and also through a rolling landscape covered with renowned vineyards of the Touraine appellation and cereal fields. We will arrive at Amboise for a picnic and a visit of the castle. The 15th century is a wealthy period for Amboise, when the kings Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Francis Ist enlarged and embellished it. In the afternoon, we will cross the Amboise forest up to Herserie castle, which will offer us bed and breakfast.
Day 7: Departure at 10 am towards Chenonceau castle, following the Cher river. Picnic and visit of the castle built by Catherine Briçonnet at the beginnning of the 16th century. In this castle known as the “Castle of the ladies”, we will speak a lot about Diane de Poitiers, mistress of king Henri II, of Catherine de Médicis, queen and widow of Henri II, of Louise de Lorraine, Madame Dupin and Madame Pelouze. We will continue to follow the Cher river, we will ride through Montrichard and come back at the day 1 hotel, château de Vallagon, or in the hotel to Montrichard.
Day 8 : After breakfast, time to say “goodbye” and departure for the Montrichard train station around 9:00 am.
This route may be altered, depending on room availability in hotels, weather conditions and time spent visiting