Day by Day itinerary
UPDATED 2020 ITINERARY
Be aware that our tour will require a fair amount of walking each day
with some of it on cobbled streets and uneven surfaces, uphill climbs, and stairs
Our group will be limited to 12 participants plus the tour leaders
*** Meals included: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Travel to Paris, Charles De Gaulle airport. Bon Voyage!
Everybody is responsible for booking their own flight. The tour starts in the hotel in Paris
Download printable version here
Friday, August 28th : Paris
Free time in Paris. Rachel will meet the group in the hotel lobby late afternoon and we will walk to a restaurant for a welcome dinner D
Saturday August 29th : Paris - Tours
This morning, we will ease into the flow of the City of Light with a leisurely walking tour and an independent lunch in Paris. We will then travel by TGV (high speed train) for Tours. After hotel check in for a six-night stay, and time to freshen up, you will meet your local hosts Zurg & Yopo with a welcome aperitif and buffet B - D
Sunday, August 30th : Tours
We will start the day with a guided tour of The Musée du Compagnonnage housed in a former
abbey. The museum exhibits, masterpieces created for reception into a guild, along with
Companions’ attributes (sticks, flasks). The Companions are the highly skilled artisans of France
known throughout the world for their magnificent monuments and buildings. These carpenters,
stone carvers, metal-workers, and other craftsmen belong to independent guilds, which were
first established in the Middle Ages and have survived centuries of change. As of 2010, UNESCO
inscribed the “Compagnonnage” into the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
It will be a good introduction to the many crafts we will encounter throughout our trip.
The rest of the day is free for you to explore Tours on your own. There will be an optional
French conversation class in the late afternoon. In the evening, we will enjoy an apéritif
together in a traditional guinguette (type of restaurants popular in the 19th century) along the
Loire river. B - Apéritif
Monday, August 31st: Chaumont-sur-Loire – Vineyard of Vouvray
This morning we will enjoy a guided tour of stunning Château de Chaumont, once acquired by
Catherine de Medici in 1560. After an independent lunch on the chateau grounds, we will
experience the international garden festival, an open-air contemporary landscape art show in
the estate of the chateau. Every year, landscape artists from all over the world create
contemporary gardens on a specific theme.
Late afternoon, after a scenic drive through the rolling landscapes of the Loire valley, we will
visit a vineyard to taste Vouvray wine and sample regional specialties. Vouvray is the largest wine appellation in the Touraine region, producing white wines in a range of styles from dry and sparkling to sweet dessert wines. We will return to Tours in time for an independent
dinner. B - Apéritif
Tuesday, September 1st: Traditional and quaint villages of the Loire Valley
In the morning, we will wander through the scenic backroads of Southern Touraine and make a
few stops at various villages and off the beaten path sites like a 5,000-year-old dolmen, a
private chateau, and troglodytes’ dwellings. We will share lunch in a local traditional village
In the afternoon, we will have a guided tour of the museum of the Prehistory housed in the
Renaissance château and medieval fortress of the nearby village Grand-Pressigny. It has an
impressive collection of prehistoric objects from Southern Touraine.
Afterwards, we will be hosted in the 16th century home of tour hosts, Zurg and Yopo, for a
music and poetry performance, a tasting of wine and regional specialties, followed by a concert
and folk-dance performance under the stars. There will also be plenty of opportunities to
mingle and exchange with the local performers. B - L - D
Wednesday September 2nd - Loches
Today we travel to Loches, birthplace of our host, Zurg. Loches is a medieval fortified town
built on a long rocky outcrop above the Indre River. We will stroll through the winding streets
filled with architectural gems including the collegiate church and its lovely farmer’s market.
We will purchase our lunch at the market and share a picnic on the grounds of the chateau
overlooking the valley.
We will tour both the Renaissance château, Logis Royal (Royal lodgings) and its nearby 11th
century dungeon, a model of military architecture, later converted into a royal prison by Louis
XI. The Renaissance Logis Royal is a highly significant site in French history where figures such
as Joan of Arc, Agnès Sorel and Anne of Brittany resided.
For dinner, we will experience a gourmet meal in a gastronomic Michelin star restaurant in a
small village.. D
Thursday, September 3rd – Tours – Amboise
We’ll spend the first part of our day in Amboise, perched on a cliff above the Loire River and
pay homage to Leonardo da Vinci, buried in the chapel’s chateau. We’ll enjoy a self-guided
visit of the Clos-Lucé, the Manor House in which Leonardo da Vinci lived under the patronage
of the King François I. In addition to period rooms, the manor houses a museum of fascinating
displays and 3-D models highlighting Leonardo’s life and ingenious inventions.
The outdoor park also features full scale model of his inventions. There will be time to have
lunch in the park of Clos Lucé and explore the town with its narrow streets, boutiques, and
timbered housing. We will return to Tours in the afternoon to give you time to unwind and
pack before meeting at a local crêperie for a casual group dinner. If time permits, we will view
the light show celebrating 500 years of Renaissance.. B - D
Friday, September 4th – Versailles
Today we leave the Loire Valley and head to the town of Versailles. We will start with a guided
visit of Le Potager du Roi, the kitchen garden of the King Louis 14 near the Palace of Versailles
where you will learn about the history of gardening, the trendy dishes at the Court, and many
anecdotes about King Louis 14 and his favorite food.
Afterwards, we will enjoy an afternoon of French hospitality at the 18th century home of
Isabelle. She will serve wine and homemade French dishes inspired by the tastes of the French
court. Rachel’s sister, who is a singer, will perform some of her favorite French songs.
Then, we will stroll through the magnificent park of the Palace to see a few highlights.
After saying our “au revoir,” with an apéritif at a wine bar, we will head back to our hotel at
Charles De Gaulle airport.
B - L - Apéritif
Saturday, September 5th - Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
Catch your departure flight for the US, via Paris. Au Revoir !
How is this tour unique?
• You will interact with locals and artists and be hosted for a few meals in their home.
• You will discover sites off the beaten path. The itinerary is a mix of cities, small historic
towns, and quaint villages
• You will taste regional specialties and wines in a 16th century home and vineyard
• You will shop at a local farmers’ market
• You will have diverse dining experiences (bistros, private homes, a crêperie, and a
gastronomic Michelin star restaurant)
• You will attend a poetic and musical performance in a private residence
• Your tour leaders are French. They will not only share their love of their home country,
but also provide individual coaching in French tailored to your level and needs
• The tour is bilingual and you will have the option to practice your French with the tour
leaders and various hosts as much or as little as you want
• We will provide a balance between group activities and time on your own
• Our group will be limited to 12 participants plus the tour leaders