Day One Monday: Arrival in Reims.
Dinner at your leisure.
Day Two Tuesday: Epernay, Avenue de Champagne & Scenic route.
Vineyards of the Cote des Blancs and Grands Crus Villages, tour and Champagne tasting at Moët & Chandon, Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, Champagne tasting lunch, tour and Champagne tasting at a family winemaker and Dom Perignon's tomb in Hautvillers.
Pick up: 09:00AM Reims Tourist Office at the Central train station.
The tour begins with Scenic Route des Champagnes. It meanders among the vineyards and picturesque villages, offering a charming bucolic landscape. We take you to the Côte des Blancs for a sightseeing of some of the most famous Grandes Maisons de Champagne such as: Bollinger, Gosset, Deutz, etc. Enroute the countryside is enamelled with beautiful Grand Cru villages like Ay, Hautvillers, Bouzy, Le Mesnil and Verzenay
Tour and tasting at world famous Grande Maison de Champagne Moët & Chandon.
Founded in 1743 by Claude Möet, it became the first international brand in the world within 40 years. Its history is linked to some famous figures such as The Marquise de Pompadour and Napoleon 1st. This Champagne is also sold to many important historical events among which King Edwards VII’s coronation, Cannes Film Festival, the 120th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. It is probably the most famous Champagne brand in the world today.
Stroll along the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay. Located in the heart of town, Epernay is internationally known as the "Capital of Champagne". Epernay’s stunning main street appears like an exhibition of opulent mansions housing the most illustrious Maisons de Champagne: Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouet, Mercier, etc. Not to mention the 100km of tunnels under the pavement!
Lunch and Champagne tasting at either a winery or a Champagne bar. We will introduce you to local specialties with a tasting of three types of Champagne (Blanc de blancs, Blanc de noirs and Rosé) representing the main terroirs of the Champagne region such as: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blanc.
Drive to the Marne Valley on a journey through the vineyard to meet with another prestigious figure: Dom Pérignon who perfected the process of making Champagne. He highly contributed to the fame of Champagne and is now buried in the church of the former Benedictine Abbey of Hautvillers. On the way back to Epernay you will enjoy the discovery of a more modern face of Champagne: a tour and Champagne tasting at a family estate.
05.00 PM: your guide will drive you back to Reims Tourist Office at the Central train station.
Day Three Wednesday: Reims Heritage & Grandes Maisons de Champagne.
Sightseeing of the Grandes Maisons de Champagne in Reims, guided tour of Reims Cathedral, tour and Champagne tasting at Mumm, Champagne tasting lunch, tour and tasting at family estate in the Montagne de Reims vineyard.
Check out after breakfast.
09:00AM Reims Tourist Office at the Central train station.
You start your day with a sightseeing of Reims. City of coronation, Reims is also the city of Champagne, definitely the most celebrated and festive of wines! You will enjoy the sight of the Reims Grandes Maisons de Champagne: Veuve Cliquot, Taittinger, Pommery and many names that will make you think of a great party or a romantic dinner with a glass of champagne… And you are going to have more than one!
Arrive at the Grande Maison de Champagne Mumm for a guided tour and tasting at this world famous house. The Mumm Maison de Champagne was founded in 1827, however the Mumm dynasty dates back to the 12th century. They were German and in the 18th century they were already wine producers and merchants. Recognising the quality and the potential of the sparkling wines produced in the nearby Champagne region, in 1927 they decided to establish a branch of their wine company there. “Only the Best” being their motto, they soon seduced illustrious European royal families. The creation of the “Cordon Rouge” definitely established their fame: they became the official supplier of the British Royalty – which they still are – and they attracted artists such as Utrillo and Foujita. Mumm is also the official sponsor of Formula One F1 races.
Lunch and Champagne tasting at either a cellar or a Champagne bar (different to yesterday!) Again you will be introduced to three local Champagnes over lunch.
After lunch take the guided tour of the Cathedral of Reims. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage, 13th century Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral is one of Europe's most important Gothic structures. Let yourself be captivated by the unique stained glass windows and the exceptionally rich statuary – over 2 300 statues among which the famous Smiling Angel. It is here that King Clovis was baptized around year 498 giving birth to the Kingdom of the Franks and starting a long lasting tradition: except two, all of the Kings of France would be crowned here!
Following the tour, we take you to the Montagne de Reims vineyards. 9 of the 17 Grand Cru villages in the whole of Champagne region lay on and around the Montagne de Reims. Here, the special terroir gives Champagne much of its character. During this visit, you will take in a tour and Champagne tasting at a family estate near Reims, dedicated to the true expression of Champagne.
Drop off 05:00PM Reims Champagne-Ardenne TGV train station. TGV to Tours departure at 05.54PM arriving in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps at 07.59PM. You may take a taxi to get to your hotel (not included in the tour).
Dinner at your leisure.
Day Four Thursday: Azay le Rideau, Langeais, Villandry.
The purest piece of Renaissance architecture in Azay le Rideau, lunch on the steps of Joan of Arc's Medieval Fortress of Langeais and Gardens of Villandry, when gardening comes to art.
Check out after breakfast. 09.30 AM Tours tourist office pick up.
To start the day, we take you for a guided tour of the Château of Azay le Rideau.
One of the purest gems of Renaissance architecture in the Loire Valley. Financer Gilles Berthelot’s chateau, delicately placed on an island on the Indre river, still shines today thanks to the lightness and balance of its mullioned, pepper pots, dormers and above all its graceful staircase. We will not forget to admire the chateau from every angle with a stroll around the English style garden, a jewel case of greenness for what is considered today as one of the most beautiful stone diamonds in Touraine.
We take lunch at a family estate or at a traditional restaurant, featuring local products and great tastings of Bourgueil or Chinon wines. A truly authentic moment.
Next is a guided tour of Langeais Fortress. A tour of the interior not only gives a good idea of the day-to-day life in the Middle Ages, but also provides reminders of a key event in French history: the marriage of Charles VIII and Duchess Anne of Brittany, which eventually led to her still-independent duchy becoming part of France. When Jacques Siegfried bought the Chateau of Langeais in 1886, he set out to recreate a model 15th-century residence, complete with furniture, tapestries and artifacts of the period.
Following the Fortress is a visit to Chateau de Villandry for a guided tour of one of the most spectacular gardens of Touraine. By its diversity and originality (Love Garden, Kitchen Garden, Aromatic and Medicine Plant Garden, Water Garden and the brand new Sun Garden) and by its size (15 acres, 1150 linden trees), Villandry is the Loire Valley garden not to be missed. With your guide, learn to speak the language of a medieval and Renaissance garden, and discover the power of thyme and basil on your health.
06.30PM: your guide will drive you back to Tours Tourist Office.
Night at your hotel and dinner at your leisure.
Day Five Friday: Blois, Cheverny and Chambord.
Blois, once siege of power, Cheverny, the quintessence of French furniture, lunch on King Francis I's wine and Chambord, a dream come true.
09.30 AM Tours tourist office pick up (300 meters from your hotel).
Start the day with a guided tour of the Chateau of Blois, which is unique by its combination of four architectural styles: Gothic, Flamboyant, Renaissance and Classic. Built by Counts of Blois, Louis XII, Francois I and Louis XIII, this chateau keeps the souvenir of many well-known historical events. This ancient city with a rich historical past merits your visit. In the XVIth century Blois was the capital of France, under King Louis XII. You can stroll through the old town, along its paved side-streets.
Drive to Cheverny for lunch at a traditional restaurant. The "Cheverny wine appellation" produces elegant red wines from pinot noir and gamay as well as fruity white wines from chardonnay and sauvignon. You will enjoy this moment to taste a wine for real connoisseurs: the"Cour Cheverny Appellation", a stunning white wine made from a grape called Romorantin, imported by King François I into the Loire Valley. Following lunch there is a guided tour of the Château of Cheverny, which has been owned by the same family since the XIII The Marquis Hurault de Vibraye. Thanks to some of the most beautiful furniture in the Loire Valley, they have succeeded in giving warmth and life to his chateau. The Chateau, which led to the creation of Moulinsart in the famous comic book Tintin, is also famous for the tradition of the horse-back hunt and its impressive pack of 100 dogs. You may have a chance to witness the spectacular daily event of "the dogs' soup".
Next up today is a guided tour of the Château of Chambord, a national game reserve as large as the town of Paris. The Chateau de Chambord is a unique monument by its architecture and proportions. Leonardo da Vinci probably took part in the conception of the project. With more than 400 rooms and its double spiral staircase, Chambord is a highlight of the Loire Valley.
06.30 PM: your guide will drive you back to Tours tourist office.
Day Six Saturday: Chenonceau, Château Royal d'Amboise et Clos Lucé.
Chenonceau's charm at the «Ladies' château», the birth of the Renaissance in Amboise Royal Castle, lunch with rare and matured Loire Valley wines and all the Genius of Leonardo in le Clos Lucé.
09.30 AM Tours tourist office pick up.
You'll start your day visiting the Chateau de Chenonceau.The "Château des Dames", bridge built across the Cher, is famous for the great feminine figures who lived in it (Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medicis...) and for the beauty of its Renaissance gardens.
Lunch today is with a wine professional, specialised in matured Loire Valley vintages. Daniel, an oenologist, welcomes you into his caves made of former stone quarries, for a tour followed by a tasting of Vouvray, Montlouis, Chinon, Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil wines. In order to transcend your meal, you will pair your wines with a selection of delicatessen and cheeses (cheeses selected by Rodolphe le Meunier, 2007 cheese refiners' world champion).
After lunch, you will tour the Royal Castle of Amboise. Residence of Charles VII and young François d'Angoulème, future Francois I. You will discover in this wonderful castle, a perfect example of transition from Gothic to Renaissance, the Saint Hubert Chapel which shelters the grave of Leonardo da Vinci.
Following is a guided tour of the Manor du Clos Lucé. In order to make your tour thorough, we take you to meet the Genius in his Manor du Clos Lucé, a few yards away from the Royal Castle. Leonardo da Vinci spent there the last three years of his life and died there in 1519. After you tour his bedroom, office, reception room and kitchen, you will be in awe in front of the invention room, displaying models of the most spectacular machines Leonardo invented.
06.30 PM: your guide will drive you back to Tours tourist office.
End of the tour.
Transportation in a comfortable fully-optioned minivan
Semi-private English speaking escort guide
Two nights in a hotel**** in Reims with breakfast daily
Entrance fees and tastings at Moët & Chandon,
Visits & tasting at two family-owned Champagne estates
Avenue des Champagne tour
Dom Pérignon with Hautvillers stop
Two Champagne tasting lunches with drinks included
Tour of Reims Cathedral
Sightseeing of Reims Grandes Maisons de Champagne
Entrance fees and tastings at Mumm and at a family a estate
Three nights in a hotel**** in Tours with breakfast daily
Entrance tickets and tour of the Chateaux of Amboise, Clos Lucé, Chenonceau, Chambord, Blois, Cheverny, Azay le Rideau, Gardens of Villandry and town of Chinon, Three tours and wine tastings at a cellar cave
Three lunches (at a winery or in a traditional restaurant) drinks included
TGV from Champagne to Loire Valley.
8 passengers maximum per vehicle.
Taxi transfer, personal expenses, extras, other drinks, other meals
YOUR HOTEL IN REIMS FOR 2 NIGHTS
Check in hotel**** La Paix - superior room
Located in the heart of Reims, in an exceptional setting, a stone's throw from the Cathedral and the shops, Hotel de La Paix combines modernity and cultural heritage. Among contemporary lines, designer furniture, old stones and colourful variations, there reigns a serene, fluid and light atmosphere.
YOUR HOTEL IN TOURS FOR 3 NIGHTS
Check in hotel**** de l'Univers - superior room.
Very easy access from Tours train station only 150 meters away.
This hotel has been the most prestigious address in Tours since 1846. Many famous personalities of old world Europe as well as the New World stayed in this hotel of Tours. In addition to its rich and historic past, as underlined by its celebrated portrait gallery, it offers all the comfort of a grand hotel established in the best traditions of hospitality and elegance "à la Française".
Hotel may change according to their availability. Should a provider be unavailable we will offer alternatives of the same standard.