A transfer is included from Blois train station to the hotel in Chaumont for those who wish to take advantage of this (approx. 20 mins). The lovely riverside Hostellerie du Chateau oozes real mediaeval charm - beamed dining room, minstral gallery, grand fireplace. There's a lovely pool if you fancy a dip after your journey.
Masses of wildlife - herons, hen harriers, roe deer - this morning as you cross the Loire and head north following the course of the Cisse to the pretty C13 Abbaye de la Guiche. Lunch in Coulanges - the C12 church is worth a detour. From here it's on through the Royal Forest of Blois until you reach your hotel opposite the famous chateau.
The small town of Blois sits on a small hill overlooking the Loire, and is very easy to explore on foot: C16 chateau, Museum of Fine Arts, C17 St Vincent de Paul church and Maison de Magie - House of Magic - are all worthy of a visit. Have lunch on the lovely square below the chateau, or you can take a river trip on an original flat-bottomed toue sailing boat and view the town from the water. If you want to explore further afield, local buses run from Blois to the chateaux of Chambord and Cheverny, or you can take the train (20 mins) into Amboise.
You leave Blois via the shady banks of the river Cosson and enter the Forest of Russy - look out for nut hatches, woodpeckers and tree creepers. Lunch in the village of Celettes where you must visit the stunning C15 Chateau de Beauregard - set in impressive parkland, this gem is an absolute must! Of particular note is its rare C16 kitchen, portrait gallery and recently restored Gallerie des Illustres featuring 327 portraits of different kings, queens and politicians. Your final stretch takes you on through acres of well-tended vineyards - lots of places to pop in for a spot of tasting - and poppy fields to the elegant village of Chitenay. Our ivy-clad hotel here has a pleasant garden terrace - an ideal setting for pre-dinner aperitifs!
The sleepy wine village of Chitenay is ideally placed to visit many of the Loire chateaux. We particularly recommend picture-postcard Cheverny - it has one of the largest art collections including a permanent 'Secrets of Moulinsart' exhibition - and, just 3kms further on, lovely little Chateau de Troussay with its elaborately decorated ceilings and rich furnishings collection.
You'll follow the peaceful river Beauvron past the C14 Chateau Fay and on through the pretty hamlets of Seur, Les Montils and sleepy Cande-sur-Beauvron. There's a pretty riverside park if you fancy a picnic lunch before continuing along the shady banks of the Loire into Chaumont. The impressive C15 chateau, once owned by Catherine de Medici, hosts the International Garden Festival each year and, on selected summer dates, stays open until midnight - as your hotel is just a few metres away, getting home isn't a problem!
The tour ends in Chaumont after breakfast. A transfer back to Blois train station is included for those who wish.