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





Horses



Type of horses:

Freiberger or Freiberger/Arabian crosses - mostly homebreds

Nature of horses:

Sure-footed and safe, trained with natural horsemanship methods

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16.2hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 14 stone

Tack type:

English or trail saddles

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

The Loire Valley comprises 800 square kilometres along the banks of the Loire River in central France and is often referred to as the Garden of France due to its abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards and fields of artichoke and asparagus that line the banks of the river. The central part of the Loire Valley was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for its cultural landscape with historic cities and villages along with great architectural monuments- its chateaux. There are more than 300 chateaux in the region ranging from those built for defence in the 10th century up to the splendour of those built half a millennium later.

Our partners for this ride base themselves in the region of Sologne where the notable chateaux within riding distance include Chambord, Villesavin, Beauregard, Chaumont sur Loire, Le Clos Luce, Chenonceau and Cherverny. Your lead guide, Ken has competed in TREC and carriage driving and specialises in natural horsemanship techniques. He is also an equine physiotherapist so you can be assured of happy horses. His partner is responsible for the care and training of the horses and is also a TREC rider and natural horsemanship advocate. They also breed many of their horses and are proud to offer multi-skilled, adaptable, well educated and respectful horses. They breed Franches-Montagnes horses (Freiberger) which are renowned for their good temperaments, but also have crosses with Arabians for more stamina on long rides.

Trails are available from two day/one night weekend breaks up to full week-long journeys.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

You stay in a selection of 2 or 3 star hotels in twin/double rooms.

Breakfasts are taken at the hotels.

Lunches are cold and homemade including mixed salads, local meats, savoury tarts and breads, traditional cheeses etc. Sometimes lunch is eaten as a picnic and sometimes taken in local restaurants.

Dinners are three courses and provided by the hotels or at restaurants and will include local specialities.

Drinks are not included and can be paid for locally.

 

Activities

There are plenty of opportunities to visit the castles and gardens that you ride to each day. Visits are optional and entrance fees payable locally, so you can just visit the ones which interest you, or you can visit them all.

Non-riders who are cyclists and wish to hire a bike and meet up with the riders along the way can be accommodated. Please enquire.

 

Further Details

Languages: French and English

Health requirements: General good health

Age limit: Children from 12 years and older are accepted with their parents.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, riding

Not included: Flights, transfers, drinks, entrance fees

 

Travel Information

The best way to reach the riding centre is to arrive by train into Blois Chambord Station, which is about 1.5-2 hours from Paris. You can either fly to Paris and then board a train, or take a train through the Channel Tunnel and change in Paris. The trains are very reliable and easy to book.

Transfers from the train station are 40 Euro per car payable locally.

Airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle

Alternative Airport: Paris Orly

 

Programmes


Loire Valley Trail



Follow a trail from Sologne to Touraine, discovering the famous Loire Valley wines along the way. Spend your last day in the 'City of Horses' - Saumur, with a visit to the Cadre Noir!

Day One:

You should arrive before 6pm to meet the team and your horses. A transfer is possible from Blois Chambord train station (payable locally). Dinner and overnight in a guesthouse in Courmemin.

Day Two:

Set off riding from Courmemin to reach the castle of Cheverny where an aperitif of Cherverny wine will be followed by lunch in a restaurant in front of the castle. Optional visit (c. 1hr) of this fully furnished castles and its outbuildings, where you can also observe one of the last hunting packs of hounds. Continue riding in the afternoon through Sologne to reach Ouchamp where you have dinner and spend the night at the Relais des Landes.

Day Three:

Leave Ouchamp and the Sologne behind you and ride to Chaumont sue Loire, a hilltop castle above the Loire. An aperitif of Mesland wine is followed by lunch in the castle restaurant and an optional visit of the castle or its magnificent gardens (c. 1hr). In the afternoon, ride along the banks of the Loire (a UNESCO World Heritage site) until reaching Mosnes. Dinner and overnight at Domaines des Thomeaux - a three star hotel with a spa.

Day Four:

Depart Mosnes and follow the Loire towards the royal city of Amboise where you can admire the XVth century castle. Take lunch in a small, typical restaurant in front of Le Close Luce - the former home of Leonardo Da Vinci. Optional visit of this beautiful XVIth century monument and its inventories museum. Remount and ride south to Chenonceau castle - optional visit of this castle which is famous for its beautiful vaults which span the river Cher. Leave the horses and transfer by road to Azay Le Rideau for an exclusive night in a troglodyte hotel.

Day Five:

Rejoin your horses and ride west along the banks of the Loire again to the castle of Usse. This XVth century castle inspired the castle in Sleeping Beauty and was created by Charles Perrault. After lunch and an optional visit you ride through the Touraine region to the medieval city of Chinon and its royal fortress. Optional wine tasting of Chinon wines to end the day before overnighting in a hotel in Chinon.

Day Six:

Continue riding west to Fontevraud and its famous XIIth century abbey - this is a long morning ride. After lunch and an optional visit, you remount for a quick ride to the castle of l'Herpiniere in Turquant. Optional tasting of organic Saumur Champigny wines before dinner and overnighting in a hotel in Fontevraud.

Day Seven:

In the morning you are transferred to the famous Cadre Noir of Saumur (entrance payable locally) followed by lunch in a restaurant. Your final afternoon ride takes you to Montsoreau village which inspired Alexandre Dumas' "Lady". Optional visit of the village and its castle before riding back to Turquant to complete the trail. 

Transfer to Saumur train station in the evening (or back to Courmemin with the horses, but this is later, after 9pm).



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be comfortable in all paces in the outdoors.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 nights / 6 days riding (4-6 hours riding per day)
Departure dates: 2019: On request from April to November.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£1611 per person sharing

Single supplement £369

Small group supplement to confirm for 2/3 riders: £324 per person

Extra night on half board basis: £117 per room

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.



Loire Weekend Break



On this weekend break, you will spend all your nights at the same guesthouse and ride out in a different direction each day. There are a number of castles within riding distance and the itinerary will vary depending on which is available during your weekend. Each morning you will ride to a castle, where you stop for a picnic lunch and an optional visit before riding back to your guesthouse for dinner in the evening. 

On a 2 night/3 day stay, three of the following castles will be visited, whilst on a 1 night/2 day stay, two of the following castles:

- Cheverny: the mansion on which Herge modelled Captain Haddock's country house, Marlinspike Hall.

- Chambord: the biggest and most prestigious castle in the Loire valley

- Villesavin: the Chambord bailiff's seat in the sixteenth century

- Le Moulin: a magnificent and little known, miniature private castle, home to the Strawberry Museum

- Beauregard: a beautiful 16th century caste with a famous portraits gallery

We would recommend arriving the night before (at extra cost) so that you can start your riding early on Day one.



Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be comfortable in all gaits across varied terrain
Type of ride: Centre based trail
Total riding time: 3 days / 2 nights or 2 days / 1 night (4-6 hours riding per day)
Departure dates: 2019: 13-14 April, 4-5 May, 18-19 May, 1-2 June, 29-30 June**, 6-7 July, 20-21 July, 17-18 August, 21-22 September*, 5-6 October*, 12-13 October*, 19-20 October, 1-3 November

* Special 'Bellowing Stags' Programme
** Special 'Chambord 500th Anniversary' Programme
 
Pricing: 2019:

2 days/1 night programme: £297 per person sharing
2 days/1 night 'Bellowing Stags' programme: £360 per person sharing
2 days/1 night "Chambord 500th Anniversary' programme: Price to be confirmed

3 days/2 nights programme: £463 per person sharing

Single supplement: £54 per night
Small group supplement (to confirm for 2 riders): £54 per person per day

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.



Loire Castle Trail



A trail ride discovering seven magnificent castles in the Loire Valley: Chambord, Villesavin, Beauregard, Chaumont sur Loire, Le Clos Luce, Chenonceau and Cheverny.

Day One:

You can arrive at any time before 6pm and will meet your guide and horses. Dinner and overnight in Courmemin.

Day Two:

Set off on your first ride across the Sologne with its beautiful lakes and forests. After lunch on the banks of the Beuvron in Bracieux, you'll ride to the little XIVth century church of Sainte-Nicaise and your first castle - Chambord. This huge hunting lodge was built by Francois 1st in the XVIth century and is now a French heritage jewel. There is time to visit the castle before remounting the horses to ride to Villesavin castle - here the horses spend the night and you transfer to a hotel in Tour en Sologne for dinner and to overnight.

Day Three:

Start the day by visiting Villesavin castle where the horses have stayed. This small Renaissance castle was once the seat of the Chambord bailiff. Mount your horses and ride to the small XVth century castle of Bearegard for lunch. This castle houses a famous gallery with 327 different portraits of historical characters and walls painted with Lapis Lazuli. After your visit you ride out of Sologne and into the Touraine region to the village of Ouchamps. Dinner and overnight in Relai des Landes.

Day Four:

Leave Ouchamps and cross the Beuvron in Cande to reach the banks of the Loire river the majestic castle of Chaumont sur Loire, which was built on the ruins of an old fortress under the orders of the Count of Blois to protect his castle from invasions. After lunch you visit this castle and its famous gardens where you can admire the beautiful stables and circular riding arena. During the afternoon, ride along the banks of the Loire to reach Mosnes. Dinner and overnight in Domaine des Thomeaux.

Day Five:

Keep riding along the Loire banks to Amboise with its beautiful castle at the top of the village. For lunch today you stop at Le Clos Luce, a gorgeous Renaissance mansion which was the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci - it also houses the Da Vinci Inventions Museum. In the afternoon leave the Loire river and head south to another valley river which is spanned by your guides favourite castle - Chenonceau. Dinner and overnight in a hotel in Chenonceau.

Day Six:

Visit Chenonceau castle and gardens before setting off to ride along the GR du Pays des Chateaux for a 'back to nature' day amongst the huge forests of Touraine. Picnic lunch in the countryside and open-air siesta before riding back to Ouchamps. Dinner and overnight at Relai des Landes.

Day Seven:

Ride out of Touraine and back into the region of Sologne to discover Cheverny castle - the mansion on which Herge modelled Captain Haddock's country house, Marlinspike Hall. Free time to visit before re-mouonting to ride through the game breeding parks where you may spot deer or wild boar. You'll be back at the stables for c. 6pm and are then free to depart from c. 7pm. 

 Transfers to/from Chambord train station are possible for extra cost (payable locally).



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be comfortable in all paces across varied terrain
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 days/6 nights / 6 riding days (4-6 hours per day)
Departure dates: 2019: 19-25 April (Confirmed), 10-16 May, 7-13 June, 23-30 June**, 12-18 July, 9-15 August, 8-14 November

**special Chambord 500th anniversary programme
 
Pricing: 2019:

£1476 per person sharing

Supplement for special Chambord 500th anniversary programme £81 per person

Small group supplement to confirm for 2/3 riders: £378 per person

Single supplement: £351

Extra night in hotel (half board): £117 per toom

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.



Loire Castle Short-Break



Visit a castle a day on horseback, on this fabulous short-break in the stunning Loire valley. We recommend arriving a day early so that you are ready to start riding early on Day one. 

Day One:

Meet the team and your horses and set off riding at 9.30am through the Sologne des etangs towards the Chateau du Loulin. The little private XVth century castle is one of the oldest Loire castles which was built before the Renaissance period. Picnic lunch at the castle and optional visit. Remount and ride through Mur de Sologne village, the former gateway to the Sologne region, returning to the stables for c. 5.30pm. Dinner and overnight in your guesthouse in Courmemin.

Day Two:

Start riding again at 9.30am on Grande Sologne tracks through hunting reserves where you may see deer or wild boar. Arrive at Cheverny around midday for lunch in its beautiful private forest. Transfer by car to the castle itself for an optional visit of the house or gardens. Rejoin your horses and ride across the 4000 acre forest back to Courmemin, arriving at c. 6pm. Dinner and overnight in your guesthouse in Courmemin.

Day Three:

Todays ride takes you to the monument known as Chambord's construction cabin! Villesavin castle used to be the home of Chambord's construction chief during the XVIth century. Picnic lunch in the castles garden and an optional visit. In the afternoon you will ride to Courmemin village for the last time, crossing the Fontaines en Sologne and passing the magnificent XIIth century church. Dinner and overnight in your guesthouse in Courmemin.

Day Four:

The largest and most beautiful castle is saved for your final day. The the morning you ride across the Grande Sologne and through woodland to reach Bracieux where you can see the XVIth century hall. After lunch on the banks of the river Nizeron you ride through the National Park of Chambord - the largest closed park in Europe. By the middle of the afternoon you will see the castle rising from amongst the trees. Optional visit. You will leave your horses here and transfer back to the stables at c. 6.30pm. Optional transfer to the train station(at extra cost).



Accommodation: On the guesthouse programme you stay in local guesthouses in twin rooms with shared bathrooms.

On the luxury programme you stay in hotels with private bathrooms, swimming pools, spa and gastronomic restaurants.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be comfortable in all paces across varied terrain
Type of ride: Centre based trails
Total riding time: 4 days / 3 nights
Departure dates: 2019:
Guesthouse Programme: 30 May-2 June, 27-30 July, 17-20 August, 21-24 September, 19-22 October
Luxury Programme: 20-23 April, 11-14 May, 8-11 June, 27-30 June**, 13-16 July, 10-13 August, 9-12 November

**Special Chambord 500th Anniversary programme
 
Pricing: 2019:

Guesthouse programme: £684 per person sharing
Single supplement: £162
Extra night: £99 per twin room (half board)

Luxury programme: £895 per person sharing
Special Chambord 500th anniversary programme: £972 per person sharing
Single supplement: £175
Extra night: £117 per twin room (half board)

Small group supplement (to confirm for two riders): £216 per person


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.