In the Footsteps of Louis XIV riding holiday in France - Far and Ride
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In the Footsteps of Louis XIV, France


Type of horses:

Paint, Arabian, Thoroughbred and warmblood horses (both pure and cross-bred)

Nature of horses:

Robust, good-natured, calm and confident.

Height of horses:

15 - 16.3hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220lbs

Tack type:

Comfortable trail saddles. All horses are ridden in simple bridles with "myler" type bits.


Travel Advice

Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.

Ride Description

This magnificent ride follows in the footsteps of Louis XIV, also known as 'Louis the Great' and the 'Sun King'. His French reign of more than 72 years is one of the longest recorded in European history and he is still known today for his opulent and extravagant lifestyle. The riding route leads you from the Vaux le Vicomte castle to Versailles, passing by Courances, Chamarande, the Vaus de Cernay Abbey and the castle of Breteuil. The region is full of beautiful landscapes, extensive forests, impressive castles and their gardens. The country is far from being flat but the ground and open space makes long canters possible. You can visit castles, an abbey, a variety of parks and gardens.

The riding route can occur in both directions. The organisers of the trail are the same as those which provide several of our other French trails and they are experienced hosts with a herd of responsive and forward-going horses. There are always two guides with every group for safety. If you love France and history then this is a wonderful experience and also quite easily accessible. You can fly into Paris and then take a train to Saint Rémy les Chevreuses where your hosts will pick you up. Experience a taste of Louis's life from horseback!

See Programmes.


Food & Accommodation

You will stay at various hotels and B&Bs during this trip. 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.

Breakfasts are always taken at your hotel/B&B.
Lunches are picnics out on the trail - you are usually met by the backup vehicle who brings fresh picnics to you.

Dinners are in local restaurants - sometimes these are restaurants within the hotels, or sometimes stand-alone restaurants.



During the ride you will enjoy cultural visits.


Further Details

Languages: French and English.

Health requirements: None specific.

Age limit: None specific. Older children can be accommodated if they are competent, experienced riders, travelling with their parents and capable of riding a large horse (there are no ponies available).

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation, meals, wine with lunches and riding.

Not included: Flights and travel expenses, travel insurance, group set-time transfers, other drinks, snacks or other services.


Travel Information

Depending on the direction of the trail you are taking (Versailles to Vaux le Vicomte OR Vaux le Vicomte to Versailles) you start either need to arrive at Saint Remy les Chevreuses train station or to Melun You will then depart from the other station at the end of the trail week.

Please note that if you are taking advantage of the group collection, that there are very strict arrival and departure times for these. This is to allow guests to visit the castle at Vaux le Vicomte either on arrival day or on departure day, depending on your direction of travel.

The cost for transfer is 20€ (EUR) per person, return fare, paid on arrival. Please note that no alternative transfers will be offered.


You will need to arrive at Saint-Rémy-lès-Cheveuse strictly by 6 pm. There are several ways to reach this station from Paris Orly airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and from Montparnasse station too. Please contact us about travel information and instructions from these destinations.

At the end of the week, there is a group transfer to Melun train station. This will either happen at approx. 9 am, straight after breakfast, or if the group wishes to visit the castle at Vaux le Vicomte, then the transfer will be scheduled for noon instead. Please check with us to confirm the times.

Again, it's possible to reach Paris Orly and Charles de Gaulle, as well as Montparnasse station easily from here. We can provide details of suitable routes if necessary.


You will need to arrive at Melun train station by 2 pm on arrival day in order to allow time to visit the castle at Vaux le Vicomte at approx. 3.30 pm. The station is easily reached from Paris Orly, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Montparnasse station. Please contact us for advice on best travel routes.

On departure, you will leave for Saint-Rémy-lès-Cheveuse station at approx. 10 am, following breakfast.

Airport: Paris Orly

Alternative Airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle



Versailles to Vaux le Vicomte Castle Trail

A magnificent trail ride following in the footsteps of Louis XIV. You will ride from Versailles to the castle at Vaux le Vicomte, passing by incredible buildings, gardens and landscapes. A great ride for those who love French history and impressive architecture!

Day 1: Transfer from Saint Rémy les Chevreuses train station by 6pm. Dinner and overnight at a B&B at Magny les Hameaux.

Day 2: Breakfast at 08.00am with departure on horseback at around 9.30am. It doesn't feel as though you are so close to Paris! Today you are riding just a few kilometres away from the busy cities. You will leave Magny les Hameaux riding towards the forest of the Domain of Versailles. You will Saint Cyr l'école which was once the royal portal of the Versailles castle - it is majestic, impressive and huge! Here you head into the park of the castle of arguably the greatest king of all time. You will ride along the grand canal and come close to the Grand Trianon before stopping for a picnic at the Saint Antoine garden centre. In the afternoon you will return to the B&B in Magny les Hameaux, riding over the parade grounds ('place d'arme'), the pièce d'eau des suisses water basin and through the forests. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Breakfast is at 08.00am and transfer to the horses at 09.00am. Departure on horseback at 10.00am. Riding through the Chevreuse valley you will pass around the city and its 11th century castle. After the picnic lunch there is time for a visit of Breteuil castle which was built in 16th century in Louis XII style. The castle has some splendid furniture as well as fifty wax figures from the Grévin museum, recreations of historical figures and fairytale characters. During the afternoon the group will ride through fields and forests up to the Vaux de Cernay abbey, founded by the 12th century by Cistercian monks. These days the ancient abbey is host to a luxury hotel. In the evening there is a visit to the tour pond, one of the huge water reserves designed to supply the Versailles castles with water. Dinner and overnight in Rambouillet at the Saint Charles hotel.

Day 4: The morning will start at a similar time to yesterday. Once on the horses you cross the Rambouillet forest, a royal hunting ground dotted with hundred-year-old oak trees. The picnic today takes place near Marais castle, once the joy of a society comprising of writers and important politicians who were received here by Mme Labriche in the 19th century. The afternoon's ride is across a slightly hilly region with beautiful forests and also open plains offering great views over the land. The day ends at Breuillet where you will spend the night at the hotel Le Nouveau Monde. 

Day 5: Once again you will be on your horse by 10.00am. The morning ride features a stop at the church Saint Sulpice de Favière. This sanctuary is known as being the most charming of its kind in the area, the church having been built in 1245 in a gothic style. The picnic for today will be at Chamarande castle which was built in the 17th century in Louis XIII style - there will be time to visit the castle of course. It is known for supporting modern art! In the afternoon there are wonderful rides through the forests up to Itteville. The horses are left in a nice meadow surrounded by water which is near to the hotel Ile de Saussay where you will have dinner and spend your night. 

Day 6: Another start to riding at 10.00am and the horses will carry you through farmland, across meadows, through woodlands and along a passage on an ancient Roman road. Courances castle it the picnic spot for today and you can explore the 17th century gardens which are one of the most impressive examples of a renaissance water garden. In the afternoon you will follow a track suitable for galloping and will discover the varied and unique landscapes of the Fontainebleau forest. By late afternoon you will arrive at the Franchard canyon and will spend your night at the Le Richelieu hotel (near to Fontainebleau castle!). 

Day 7: Breakfast at 08.00am, meeting the horses at 09.00am and riding begins at 10.00am like yesterday. Your last day of riding starts by taking you through the Fontainebleau forest, following a varied path which allows you to discover the delights of the woodland... the landscapes, rocks, sand, birch, oak, beech. The final picnic is on the beach of the river Seine at Fontaine le Port. In the afternoon you will ride through semi-wooded areas and across fields to arrive on horseback at Vaux le Vicomte castle. This was built by Louis XIV's financial advisor, Nicolas Fouquet (known for his extravagant displays of wealth), in 1615 and it was used by Louis as a model for the Château de Versailles. After the ride there is a transfer to the Germenoy hotel for dinner and overnight. You will visit the castle in the evening or the following morning. 

Day 8: Transfer to Melun train station at approx. 9.00 am (following breakfast) or at around midday, following a tour of the castle at Vaux le Vicomte, if this was not managed the previous day.

Minimum group size: 5
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate and above, capable of riding at all paces.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days as per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2019: 7-14 July.
Pricing: 2019:

Price per person, based on shared accommodation: £1621

Single supplement £308.

Please note that prices do not include transfers, drinks in hotels and restaurants or entrance fees.