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Chateaux de la Loire

Overview

These rides are an opportunity to visit the majestic Châteaux of the Loire Valley and incorporate several of the most important Renaissance castles. These impressive structures are part of the region's rich architectural heritage and act as a reminder of the area's popularity with French royalty an…

Highlights

  • Explore the majestic Chateaux of the Loire Valley
  • Ride through the forests of Chambord to its castle
  • Follow the Loire river and ride through vineyards
  • Discover French history, culture & architecture
  • Dine on delicious picnics and regional specialities

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg / 198lbs / 14st 3lbs

Description

These rides are an opportunity to visit the majestic Châteaux of the Loire Valley and incorporate several of the most important Renaissance castles. These impressive structures are part of the region's rich architectural heritage and act as a reminder of the area's popularity with French royalty and the bourgeoisie in days gone by. During the trails you will visit Chaumont sur Loire (15th century), heritage of Diane de Poitiers, Villesavin (16th century) which wasbuilt by the same craftsmen who built the royal residences, Chenonceau (known as the "Castle of the Ladies"), Cheverny (17th century) which has been owned by the same family for seven centuries and Chambord, the largest of all the castles built by François I. Some days are only half days of riding to allow more time to visit the chateaux.

In order to see these magnificent buildings you will meet in towns to the south of Paris which are easily accessible by train (or car if you prefer to self-drive). In addition to the castle sites you will have the pleasure of tasty picnics and of course, some great riding experiences, whether it's galloping along beautiful trails or following along a winding riverbank. These are wonderful trips for riders with an interest in history and architecture.

Horses & Riding

Tack

You will ride in comfortable trail saddles during these trips. Saddlebags are provided to keep personal belongings in during the day. All the horses are ridden in English style bridles with "myler" type bits.

Horses

The ride organisers have a lovely mixed stable of horses including paints, Arabian, Thoroughbred and French warmbloods (both pure and cross-bred). Many of the horses used on these rides have been bred by your hosts for the task. The horses live out in a large herd together during the down season and are well-mannered and well-rounded in their education.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Loire Chambord is a trail ride

Ages

16+ for trails.

Health

Riders should be fit and comfortable in the saddle for long hours. Canters may last several minutes at a time and you will be asked to ride in a light/forward seat, throughout.

Weight

90kg / 198lbs / 14st 3lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Full board meals are included. Dinners are in a traditional French regional style taken in restaurants and hotels along the route. Picnic lunches tend to be buffets involving cuts of cold meats, cheese and various mixed salads (including local wine). Breakfasts are continental style.

Please note that appetisers and drinks are not included with dinners.

Drinking water will be provided during the riding days, but guests are asked to bring their own refillable water bottles as individual disposable plastic bottles will not be available.

Accommodation

You will stay at various hotels, B&Bs or authentic medieval castles during these trails. Price is based around sharing a double or twin room, though single rooms are available for a supplement. Nearly always there are bathrooms joined onto the bedrooms.

Itineraries

Loire Chambord Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

During the rides you will enjoy cultural visits and there are many castles or ancient villages to explore.

Travel

We recommend that riders fly into Paris and then take a train to the nearest station, a journey that can be as short as 2 hours, depending on the time of departure. The usual meeting point is Montrichard station.

There is a group transfer from the station, strictly at 6.00 pm, on arrival day and then a group transfer on departure day as well (usually departing at approx. 9 am). The transfer charge is payable locally on arrival. Please note that no alternative transfers will be offered.

Testimonials

Robynne C., July 4, 2019

A fantastic trip that exceeded our expectations! Everything was so well planned and executed - from the pick up at the train station the first day to the lovely picnic lunches and amazing horses. Our guide Magalie and logistic support person Helene were both superb and took great care of us and the horses. Despite record high temperatures we loved every minute of it! My favourite memory is cantering up to Chambord and posing in front of the chateau on horseback for a group picture. Amazing!


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrival at Montrichard train station in time for group transfer, strictly at 6.00 pm, to the hotel you will be spending the night in. Those arriving by car are welcome to arrive in Pontlevoy earlier in the afternoon and can spend some time resting or exploring the town.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel l'Auberge de l'Ecole in Pontlevoy (or similar).

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Following breakfast, it will be time for a short briefing and an introduction to the horses. The morning will see you riding toward the village of Fougères-sur-Bièvre where a tasty lunch awaits you at the foot of the village's fortified castle. The structure was built in the late 15th century. In the afternoon you will head toward the beautifully furnished chateau of Cheverny - which will also welcome you to visit within its walls. The castle has been owned by the same family for over six centuries. From the Botancial Park to the splendid interior of the chateau and Tintin exhibition you can discover the authentic heritage that is still very much evident.

Dinner and overnight at the same hotel as last night.

Day 3

Riding: 3 hours

In the morning, you will meet your horses and ride through Cheverny forest, between wooded paths and wild moorland where you may be lucky enough to spot deer and hares. Stop for lunch at Villesavin castle (16th century), which was built by the same master craftsmen who built the great royal residences and has been very well preserved through the centuries. After lunch you have time to visit the castle before heading to your hotel to rest.

Dinner and overnight at the Hotel de Cygne (or similar) in Bracieux.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today you will ride to Chambord, which is the largest of the Loire castles. It's an unrivalled feat of architecture with a central double-revolution staircase and set within a vast 5440 hectare nature reserve where the deer still reign. After lunch you can visit the chateau before remounting to ride back to Chateau de Villesavin in the late afternoon.

Dinner and overnight in the same hotel in Bracieux.

Day 5

Riding: 3 - 5 hours

Today you ride through the forest to Chateau de Beauregard where you stop for a picnic lunch. Formerly Chambord's hunting lodge, it was built on the orders of Francois I and is famous for its Galerie des Portraits. A monumental work of 3 generations it features 327 portraits of illustrious figures, a remarkable lapis lazuli ceiling (7 times the value of gold) and an exceptional paving of 5600 Delft earthenware tiles. After visiting the chateau you set off on horseback to the village of Cande-sur-Beuvron.

Dinner and final night in Bracieux.

Day 6

Riding: 3 hours

The ride today takes you along the banks of the Loire river to Chaumont sur Loire. A charming village, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chaumont is also famous for its feudal castle which dominates the valley and village. Picnic where you leave the horses and then have a free afternoon to explore the Chateau de Chaumont sur Loire on foot. Dating from the late 15th century it illustrates both the defensive architecture of the Gothic period and the pleasure architecture of the Renaissance. Don't miss the 19th century stables, considered the most luxurious in Europe at the time.

Dinner and overnight at hotel l'Hostellerie du Chateau in Chaumont sur Loire, situated at the foot of the chateau.

Day 7

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast, you will enjoy a long canter through the Amboise forest to reach the Chateau of Chenonceau, built on the Cher River. Named the "Chateau des Dames" in French history it was built in 1513 by Katherine Briconnet and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis. Chenonceau was saved from the rigors of the Revolution by Madame Dupin. It is the jewel of the Loire Valley. Have lunch on-site and visit the chateau.

In the early afternoon, leave the banks of the Cher river to reach the horses night stay in Pontlevoy before returning by vehicle to overnight once more in Chaumont sur Loire.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast, you will be transferred together to the train station for your onward travel or to make your way home. (later transfers will not be possible).

* Please note that this is an example itinerary and riding days may be adjusted to accommodate changes in weather, security, technical criteria and other unforeseeable circumstances, at your guides discretion.

Experience Experienced

You need to be capable in all four paces (walk, rising trot, canter and gallop in a forward seat) across varied terrain in open spaces. You should ride regularly and be fit to canter for long distances, with soft hands. You should also be a confident rider. Those who are assessed to not have the required level for the ride may be asked to stop riding and will be charged additionally (c 300€ euros) for the transport of your horse back to base. No refunds will be given in this case.

Minimum group size 5
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

June 8, 2024 - June 15, 2024

June 16, 2024 - June 23, 2024

Aug. 10, 2024 - Aug. 17, 2024

Aug. 18, 2024 - Aug. 25, 2024

Pricing

2024
Sharing
£1940 $2470 €2285
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, wine with lunches and 6 days of riding as per the itinerary.
Not included Flights, train tickets, personal travel insurance, group set-time transfers (20€ EUR per person), drinks in hotels and restaurants, entrance fees to museums and castles, tips and personal expenses. The wine tastings and chateaux visits will require guests to pay an additional fee to take part. The extra costs for these total approx. 100€ (EUR) per person.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £370 $475 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone requiring a single room.
2024 - Train Station Transfer €20
Paid locally
Transfers are per person return and payable on arrival in Euro cash.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.