Loire Castles riding holiday in France - Far and Ride
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Loire Castles, France




Programmes


• Loire Castle Trail

 

Horses



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:

English saddles. Some horses are ridden bitless in hackamores whilst others have traditional bitted bridles.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride 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 one of the trails you will visit Chaumont sur Loire (15th century), heritage of Diane de Poitiers, Amboise (15th century) which was once the residence of several French kings, 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. There is also an option to visit the castle of Blois which was built in the Middle Ages by the local counts. They were powerful feudal lords and it's an exceptional site, well worth a visit.

On other trails you visit Villandry, Fontevraud and Chenin. And on the Saumur Trail, there is a visit to the world renowned Cadre Noir (French National Riding School).

Your guide on these rides will be David Delbourg, a seasoned French trail guide. David has been leading horseback tours in France for over 15 years, as well as in a wide range of other destinations such as in Argentina, Canada and Morocco. He also trains apprentices for the challenging Equestrian Tourism qualification in France. He is always accompanied by a second guide who will usually ride at the back of the group.

In order to see these magnificent buildings you will meet at 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 its galloping along beautiful trails or following along a winding riverbank. These are wonderful trips for riders with an interest in history and architecture.

See Programmes.

 

Food & 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.

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

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

 

Activities

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

 

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 from specified stations, other drinks, snacks or other services.

 

Travel Information

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. Depending on the trail chosen you will arrive at either Montrichard station or Chenonceaux station.

There is a group transfer from the station, strictly at 6.30 pm, on arrival day and then a group transfer on departure day as well (usually departing at approx. 9 am).

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

Airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle

Alternative Airport: Paris Orly

 

Programmes


Loire Castle Trail



A seven night trail ride starting and ending in Pontlevoy. You will journey across the Loire Valley and its majestic renaissance castles, mild climate and fertile growing lands, staying at different characteristic accommodations each night. A great trail ride for lovers of French history, culture and architecture! 

Day 1: Arrival at Montrichard train station in time for group transfer, strictly at 6.30 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 l'Auberge de l'Ecole in Pontlevoy (or similar hotel nearby).

Day 2: 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 seven centuries.

Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel l'Agriculture in Tour de Sologne (or similar).

Day 3: In the morning, you will meet your horses and ride toward Chambord where you will enjoy a tasty picnic lunch. Chambord is the largest castle in the Loire area. Its architectural achievements are unmatched in this region; a wonder of elegance in the heart of an extensive natural forest reserve spanning approx. 13,850 acres. In the afternoon you will have a chance to visit the castle before riding on to the Villesavin castle (16th century), which has been very well preserved through the centuries.

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

Day 4: Today you will ride through the forest of Chambord to the castle of Beauregard where you can enjoy your picnic. The castle was built under King François I and was a former hunting lodge of Chambord. Beauregard has always been famous thanks to its gallery of 327 portraits of well-known characters from the French courts amongst other remarkable qualities. You will be able to visit the castle before riding on to Candé-dur-Beuvron.

Dinner and overnight at l'Hostellerie di Chateux in Chaumont-sur-Loire.

Day 5: Today you will enjoy a leisurely morning ride along the banks of the Loire river, heading towards the village of Chaumont-sur-Loire. This charming place has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status and is well known for its feudal fortress, constructed in the late 15th century, which overlooks the village and the whole valley below. Following a picnic lunch close to the castle, there will then be time for a visit in the afternoon. The castle was the subject of an argument between Queen Catherine de Médicis and her rival Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henri II. A feature not to be missed is the grand stables, built in the 19th century and considered at the time to be the most luxurious in all of Europe. In the afternoon you will enjoy a short ride across the Sudais forest in order to reach your overnight stop.

Dinner and overnight at L'Hostellerie du Château in Chaumont-sur-Loire.

Day 6: The ride today takes you further along the Loire river and past one of its many small beaches. You will then turn up the hill, through vineyards and over fields of cereal crop. Eventually, you will reach Amboise where you will eat today's picnic and can visit the castle. The 15th century was a time of great wealth for Amboise with the kings Louis XI, Charles VIII and François I all adding to the embellishment of the castle and its surrounding village. In the afternoon, you will cross the forest of Amboise to reach Saint Martin le Beau where your host family, which manages the hotel and the family restaurant, receives you to taste their wines typical of Touraine and Montlouis.

Dinner and overnight at hotel le Pigeonnier in Saint Martin le Beau.

Day 7: After breakfast, you will head down into the Cher Valley, where you will be able to enjoy some long canters along the river. Eventually, you will reach the magnificent castle of Chenonceau built on the Cher river. Named "Château des Dames" (Castle of the Ladies) it was originally built at the beginning of the 16th century by Catherine Briçonnet. The castle has been famously held and refurbished by many great French female personalities including Diane de Poitier (mistress of King Henri II), Catherine de Médicis (Queen and widow of Henri II), Louise de Lorraine, Madame Dupin and Madame Pelouze. You will enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds and a short visit of the castle. In the early afternoon, you will leave the banks of the Cher to arrive for the evening in the town of Pontlevoy. 

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

Day 8: 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.



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: 22-29 June, 29 June - 6 July, 20-27 July (FULL)

There is also a special stationary version of this tour available 27 July - 3 August (different price). Please contact us if interested.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£1594 per person sharing

Single supplement £320.

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