Pays de la Loire riding holiday in France - Far and Ride
Home  >  Riding Holidays  >  France  >  Pays de la Loire

Pays de la Loire, 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 Weekend Break



On these weekend breaks, 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

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: 4-6 hours riding per day
Departure dates: 2019: 5-6 October
2020: 11-13 April, 1-3 May, 21-24 May, 30 May-1 June, 20-21 June**, 27-28 June, 4-7 July, 30 July-2 August, 12-13 September**, 19-20 September*, 24-27 September*, 3-4 October*, 7-8 November

* Special 'Bellowing Stags' Programme
** Special Nature in Solegne programme where you overnight in a gypsy caravan
 
Pricing: 2019/20:

2 days/1 night programme: £284 per person sharing
2 days/1 night 'Bellowing Stags' programme: £327 per person sharing

3 days/2 nights programme: £426 per person sharing
4 days/3 nights programme: £568 per person sharing

Single supplement: £26 per night

Small group supplement (to confirm for 2 riders): £43 per person per day

Extra nights (half board): £69 per person sharing a twin or £95 in a single 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 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: 8-14 November
2020: 18-24 April, 11-17 May, 12-18 June, 10-16 July, 7-13 August, 16-22 October.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£1411 per person sharing

Supplement for special Chambord 500th anniversary programme £77 per person

Small group supplement to confirm for 2/3 riders: £361 per person

Single supplement: £336

Extra night in hotel (half board): £112 per toom

2020:

£1411 per person sharing
Single supplement: £336 (payable unless a sharer is found)

Small group supplement to confirm for 3 riders: £473 per person

Extra night in hotel (half board): £86 per person sharing a twin room or £112 per person in a single 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 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 c. 9.30am across the Sologne and the beautiful lakes and forests of the region. Stop for lunch on the banks of the Beuvron in Bracieux near the little 14th century church of Sainte Nicaise. After lunch you reach your first castle - Chambord. This huge hunting lodge was built by Francoise the 1st in the 16th century and is now one of France's main heritage jewels. Optional visit (1.5hrs) and then ride onto Villesavin castle where the horses overnight. Transfer to your hotel in Tour en Sologne.

Day Two:

Start the day by visiting Villesavin castle where the horses spent the night - this small Renaissance castle was the Chambord bailiffs seat. Mount up and ride to Beauregard for lunch. The 15th century Beauregard houses a famous gallery with 327 portraits of historical characters, as well as Lapis Lazuli painted walls. After visiting (c. 1hr) you remount and leave the Sologne region behind to enter the Touraine region and the village of Ouchamps. Dinner and night in Relai des Landes.

Day Three:

Leave Ouchamps to cross the Beuvron in Cande and reach the banks of the Loire and the majestic castle of Chaumont sur Loire. Chaumont sur Loire was built on the ruins of an old fortress on the orders of the count of Blois to protect his castle from invasions. After lunch you can visit the castle and gardens (c. 1.5hrs) and admire the beautiful stables and riding arena. In the afternoon you ride along the Loire to reach Mosnes where you overnight in Domaine des Thomeaux.

Day Four:

Keep riding along the banks of the Loire to Amboise where you can admire the beautiful castle on top of the village. Stop for lunch at Le Clos Luce, a gorgeous Renaissance mansion which was the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci and also houses his inventions museum. After your visit, remount and leave the Loire behind as you head into another valley to end at your guides favourite castle - Chenonceau. There is time to visit the castle before your departure at 7pm. (We recommend adding an extra night of accommodation so you don't have to depart straight after this, but you can take a train this evening if you prefer).



Accommodation: You stay in 2 or 3 hotels with private bathrooms. Most of these hotels also have swimming pools, spa and gastronomic restaurants.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be comfortable in all paces across varied terrain
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 4 days / 3 nights
Departure dates: 2019:
28-31 October

2020:
19-22 April, 12-15 May, 13-16 June, 11-14 July, 8-11 August, 17-20 October.
 
Pricing: 2019/20:

£856 per person sharing
Single supplement: £168

Extra night: £86 per person sharing a twin or £112 per single (half board)

Small group supplement (to confirm for three riders): £293 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.



Sancerre on horseback



This trail ride through the heart of the Berry includes riding past Sancerre vineyards and through the 'Pays Fort'. Trails are possible from 2 to 4 days duration, subject to availability. The following is the proposed four day trail, whilst shorter stays will include only a couple of these days. We recommend adding extra days before/after so you are on-site and ready to start riding on day one.

Day One:

Meet your horses and set off riding through the forests of Berry to reach your picnic stop at the national pottery museum of La Borne. After lunch you will have time to visit the museum and potters workshops (your back up vehicle will be on hand to carry any purchases you make to your accommodation!). Continue riding through the Pays Fort region of Sancerre through the afternoon.

Day Two:

Ride through the Sancerre bocages (woodlands) towards the 12th century tower of Vesvres. After lunch the inhabitants of the village will offer you a guided tour of this fortified castle from the Middle Ages (c. 45mins). Remount and continue through the Pays Fort region back to your guesthouse.

Day Three:

A beautiful day with ever-changing landscapes. Cross the huge forests of the Pays Fort to reach the Berry fields and see Sancerre's west side rising on the horizon. Have lunch in a home-made brewery overhanging the valley with its vineyards - Sancerre's brewers have been making their unique beers here for over a decade (again, the vehicle will be on hand if you wish to purchase anything). In the afternoon leave Sancerre by the south side to return to the stables via the village of Chavignol which is famous for the goat cheese Crottin de Chavignol.

Day Four:

Your final day takes you to the Castle of Boucard, a private 14th century castle with a beautiful Renaissance courtyard. You can walk alongside the castle moat which is fed by the Sauldre river. Then a final ride back through the Berry lands to reach the stables for a departure at 6pm.



Minimum group size: 4
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: 4-6 hours per day
Departure dates: 2020: 8-10 May, 31 October-1 November
Additional dates possible subject to availability - please enquire
 
Pricing: 2020:

4 days/3 nights: £568 per person sharing
3 days/2 nights: £426 per person sharing
2 days/1 night: £284 per person sharing

Single supplement: £52 per night

Small group supplement to confirm for 3 riders: £52 per person per day.

Extra night: £95 per person sharing (half board).

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.