Loire Valley Walking Tours | Small Group Tours of France
From A$12,150 AUD
- 1. Explore pretty Azay le Rideau
- 2. Walk the trail of the Candes Wine estate.
- 3. Enjoy panoramic views of the Loire and Vienne rivers.
- 4. Take a 15-kilometre hike along the Corniche Angevine to Rochefort sur Loire.
|20 June 2022 |
Ends 07 July 2022 • 18 days
|06 September 2022 |
Ends 23 September 2022 • 18 days
|19 June 2023 |
Ends 06 July 2023 • 18 days
|13 September 2023 |
Ends 29 September 2023 • 17 days
Walking Tour of the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is the largest site ever registered in France as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and is regarded as one of .the most beautiful regions of France. The Loire valley walking tours cross a multitude of historic towns and villages, rich with architectural heritage and ancient history as the loire valley itinerary follows the river Loire. Many of these buildings including castles with history are explored on this Loire valley itinerary. This Loire Valley walking tours reveals religious buildings and castles such as Chambord castle, Loire valley vineyards beautiful cultivated land and wild landscapes.
The landscape that we explore on foot has witnessed thousands of years of interactions between man and nature. It is a cultural landscape of exception. The river Loire is central to the Loire valley itinerary as we walk through these memorable landscapes. The river Loire is the largest river in France, nicknamed "the Royal River." The Loire Valley was chosen as a royal residence in the 15th and 16th century. On this walk often with a local guide, we take several days in several locations to explore the cultural heritage of these landscapes. Your walk as part of a small group of like minded people on one of these Loire Valley walking tours is an amazing history led experience of the Loire Valley will be unforgettable.
Those walkers with an interest in walking in France on some of the most spectacular paths in the Loire Valley. Not only do you walk through amazing landscapes, but you also spend time visiting some of the country’s most famous chateaux. The tour is designed so that participants can do all of the proposed walks or opt out on days when they’d rather simply explore the more immediate environs of their accommodation.
Loire Valley walking tours, France
The Loire Valley is one of France’s most popular tourist destinations. However, on this tour, you’ll have the chance to see rather more than the average tourist. The Loire river has long been an important trading route. As a result of this trade the valley is dotted with major settlements including Orleans, Blois, Tours and Angers. These historic towns are nestled in to a landscape of rolling vineyards, forests and hunting lodges.
On any of the Loire Valley walking tours, you’ll have the chance to explore the countryside. As a small group you visit some of the more interesting chateaux. Some of the places visited include Chenonceau, and Chinon. There will also be time to wander through Medieval towns, such as Loches. Enjoy a wine tasting at the Chateau de la Viliane. The stretch of the valley that this tour follows between Sully-Sur-Loire and Angers has been designated as a World Heritage Site because of its ‘outstanding cultural landscape”. On this tour of the Loire valley, there is something for everyone.
Our Loire Valley walking tours begin in Orleans, just north of the river Loire. This small group of mature and senior walkers then travel west along the valley towards Angers and Saint-Florent le Vieil. Along the way we’ll pass through Blois, Amboise, Tours and Saumur. There will also be time for a few interesting side trips to towns such as Loches and Chrissay-sur-Manse.
Typically each day this small group covers between 8 to 15 kilometres a day of walking. The duration of each day's walking is influenced by the weather, as well as the level of group fitness and the structured activities organised. For Odyssey Travellers Walking in France is about a journey that walks through time. This walk through the Loire Valley provides the platform for history and culture to be explored in the amazing landscapes of one of the best regions of France with an excellent local guide .
For more details about this tour, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
You can also browse Odyssey's country profile on France where all other tour departures are listed as well.
About seniors walking tours from Odyssey Traveller
Odyssey Traveller offers a range of walking tours each year paced for senior travellers. The collection of walks are for active mature and senior travellers, particularly those who seek out walking tours that are typically off the main circuit. To help you prepare for any walking program whether with Odyssey or another company this list of articles is intended to help you prepare for your holiday.
- articles on Selecting walking shoes for women
- article on footwear and walking shoes
- article on what to pack when travelling.
- article on maintaining muscle fitness in senior and mature age travellers
- article on selecting socks for walking
- article detailing six great short walks in Britain
- article on preparing for a walking holiday
- article on Pilgrim walks in Europe
- article on Preparing for a walking holiday
Articles about France & the Loire Valley published by Odyssey Traveller
The following list of articles, represents some of the articles published by Odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of France and in particular the Loire valley when visiting;
- The Historic Loire Valley
- The Loire Valley
- Ten things to do in France when you visit
- Questions about France
- Studying Gargoyles and grotesques
- Understanding South West France
- Around the world in six coffees
- Ten of the Best art galleries in Europe to visit.
- A guide on France for mature travellers
External articles to assist you on your walks through the Loire Valley.
Day 1: Orleans
Make your own way to your hotel in Orleans and meet with your Odyssey Program leader in the afternoon. (There is an airport in Orleans or you might like to take the train from Paris.) This evening we’ll walk to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 2: Amboise
After breakfast, there will be a half day city tour with a local guide to take in the main sights. Orleans is, of course, famous as the city most associated with Joan d ’Arc so a view of her statue and a visit to the Maison Jeanne d ‘Arc will be included. There will also be time this morning to visit the Saint Croix Cathedral. In the afternoon, our touring coach will transfer us to Amboise where we will spend the night. On the way to Amboise we will have time to enjoy a guided visit to Chambord castle. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel.
Day 3: Amboise
After breakfast this morning, our coach will transfer us to the town of Blois where we’ll have some free time to explore. From Blois, we’ll drive to Suevres to walk the 12k water mills of Suevres trail with a local specialist guide before returning to Amboise. Tonight, you’ll have the chance to explore Amboise and eat out in a restaurant of your own choice.
Day 4: Amboise
After breakfast, we’ll take the coach to Saint Ouen les Vignes where we’ll meet with our specialist guide for the 8k circular trail. Lunch will be included at a local restaurant. After lunch, we drive to Chenonceau for a guided visit to the chateau and then return to Amboise for the night. Dinner is not included tonight.
Day 5: Tours
After our continental style breakfast, this morning we say goodbye to Amboise and head towards Tours. Our first stop will be at Azay Sur Cher where we will take the 10kms circular Cher Valley trail, stopping along the way to eat our packed lunch. In the afternoon, we will drive to Rochecorbon and visit the Chateau Gaudrelle winery for a tour and tasting. Dinner tonight will be in Tours.
Day 6: Tours
After breakfast this morning, we take a drive to Esvres-sur-Indre, where we walk the 10kms trail with our specialist guide. En-route we’ll stop to eat our packed lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll drive to Loches with time to explore the pretty town of Loches dating back to the Medieval and Renaissance periods. From Loches we’ll return to our hotel in Tours. Dinner tonight will be at your own expense and a chance to explore the local restaurants.
Day 7: Tours
This morning, there will be a guided city tour including a visit to Tours cathedral. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore the city. Our included dinner tonight will be in a local restaurant.
Day 8: Tours
This morning our touring coach takes us to Brehemont where we meet up with our specialist guide for the 12kms circular trail between the Indre and Loire rivers. This will include a scenic walk along the rivers and a stop for lunch at own expense. The remainder of the day will be free. No dinner included tonight.
Day 9: Tours
This morning after breakfast we drive to the pretty town of Azay-le-Rideau where we’ll have time to explore before setting out on our 13kms walk to the Chateau D’Usse. Entrance to the castle is included. After our visit to the castle we will return to Tours. Dinner tonight is not included.
Day 10: Saumur
This morning we say goodbye to Tours and head towards Saumur where we will spend the next four nights. Our first stop this morning will be in Monts where we will visit the Candes Estate for a 5kms guided walk through the vineyard and along the Saint Laurent Valley. From here we drive to Chinon and walk the preserved area of Les Pays du Chinonais. Lunch today will be included at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we drive to our accommodation in Saumur. Dinner tonight will be provided in our hotel.
Day 11: Saumur
After breakfast, this morning we drive to Panzoult for our 10kms guided walk through woods and vineyards. We can admire the view over the valley of the Manse river and walk to the Cave des Vignerons. In the afternoon, we return to Saumur where we have entrance to the Ecole Nationale de Equitation. Dinner tonight is not included.
Day 12: Saumur
This morning we drive to Avon Les Roches for a 10kms walking tour in the area including views of the ruins of the collegiate church of Roches Tranchelion. From here we take the short drive to Crissay sur Manse where we will have time for lunch and the chance to explore the town. Dinner is not included tonight.
Day 13: Saumur
This morning our coach takes us Champigny sur Veude for our 11kms guided walk along the Veude river. Entrance to the Chapelle Saint Louis will be included on this walk. In the afternoon, we return to Saumur where we visit Le Musee du Champignon. Overnight Qualys Hotel Le Londres or similar.
Day 14: Angers
Today we have two shorter walks on our way to the city of Angers. After breakfast, we drive to Candes St Martin for our 4kms walk around the area with panoramic views of the Loire and Vienne rivers. From here we drive to Gizeux for another 4kms walk around the area to view the main sights. In the afternoon, we continue to Angers where we stay for the final four nights of our tour. Group dinner this evening.
Day 15: Angers
This morning we have a specialist guide for our local historical tour. The tour includes entrance to Angers Castle with a view of the famous Apocalypse tapestry. The afternoon is yours to explore the city at leisure. In the late afternoon we visit the Cointreau Le Carre Distillery.
Day 16: Angers
This morning we drive to Chalonnes sur Loire where we set out on out 15kms walk to Rochefort with our specialist guide. We walk along the Corniche Angevine ridge of hills and stop along the way to eat our packed lunch. In the afternoon, we return to Angers.
Day 17: Angers
This morning we drive to St Florent le Vieil to walk the circular 15kms path. We will start our walk at the St Florent le Vieil abbey church and then take the riverside path. We stop to eat our packed lunch along the way and continue on past Notre Dame du Marillais and the village of le Seil. In the afternoon, we return to Angers. Our farewell dinner tonight will be in a local restaurant. Overnight Hotel de Champagne or similar.
Day 18: Angers
Tour concludes after Breakfast
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 17 nights of accommodation.
- 17 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 packed lunches and 6 dinners.
- Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International flights and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must have a high level of physical fitness and appropriate expertise in the program activities, and should except full days of fast-paced, strenuous physical challenges.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Loire Valley A World Heritage Site: Travel Guide Loire Valley - 2017
The Loire Valley is the largest site ever registered in France as World Heritage site by UNESCO. The site crosses a multitude of historic towns and villages, rich with architectural heritage and ancient history. It reveals religious buildings and castles, each more sumptuous than the last, cultivated land and wild landscapes exploding with biodiversity. This ensemble, which witnessed thousands of years of interactions between man and nature, is a cultural landscape of exception. The Loire River is at the heart of this landscape. Indeed, without it, none of this would exist. The largest river in France, and the wildest, it is nicknamed "the Royal River." The Loire Valley was chosen as a royal residence in the 15th and 16th century. Several days are needed to explore the natural and cultural heritage of these landscapes. Take the time to soak up the history, culture and landscapes, and your stay in the Loire Valley will be unforgettable ...
Here you’ll find all the information necessary to prepare your trip and your stay in Loire Valley in order to discover this exceptional site of indisputable universal value. You will find the following under the sections: the reasons for its selection for the World Heritage list, the history of the site, many practical informations (Tourist Offices, suggested tours, museums, events, transports), and a selection of accommodation and restaurants. Informations, prices and opening hours shown are for 2017.
But most importantly, this “Loire Valley, a World Heritage Site” travel guide also offers a suggested itinerary for visiting each site and monument. You'll also find tips (transport, pricing, activities ... ), anecdotes and all the possibilities for family-friendly visits to encourage children and families in their discovery. The area and city maps included on all pages show all the sites and monuments discussed.
By Jérôme Sabatier
The Roman Remains of Brittany, Normandy and the Loire Valley: A Guidebook
The Roman Remains of Brittany, Normandy and the Loire Valley is the third in a series of companion guides. The only specialist guidebook to the region, it provides context to many sites that deserve to be better known, some only recently conserved for the public. There are plenty of places to chose from: fifty-four treated at length plus fourteen shorter entries. There is an extended chapter dealing with the historical background and two feature sections. The book is easy to use as there are a large number of maps, plans and photographs in colour. To ensure accuracy, the author personally followed aqueduct routes, visited hidden temples, admired ramparts and visited all the museums. Through his writing a visit is transformed into an experience.
By James Stephen Bromwich
THE LOIRE VALLEY: French Impressions
THE LOIRE VALLEY is the latest in a series of distinctive travel books. It takes our reader on a journey of discovery, looking at the culture and cuisine of a region, and how its history, landscape and location contributed to its difference from the rest of the country.
THE LOIRE VALLEY is the result of a year-long stay in a beautiful area variously known as The Valley of the Kings and The Garden of France. The journey of discovery takes us on a four-hundred-mile trip alongside and on the biggest river in France. There are more than three hundred grand chateaux in the Valley, though the focus of the authors attention is on the last home and work place of Leonardo da Vinci, walks on the battlements of Richard the Lionhearts favourite castle and an underground search of modern troglodytes. And we also discover how and why frogs legs first became a delicacy in this part of France.
Together with reviews of more than a hundred Loire-side towns and villages, THE LOIRE VALLEY contains dozens of recipes for well and little-known regional dishes. As the author says, the purpose and intention of the book and series was to entertain and inform readers about a particular region of a diverse and fascinating country.
By George W East
Vintner's Daughter: A Novel
Loire Valley, 1895. When seventeen-year-old Sara Thibault's father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their vineyard to a rival family whose eldest son marries Sara's sister, Lydia. But a violent tragedy compels Sara and her sister to flee to New York, forcing Sara to put aside her dream to follow in her father's footsteps as a master winemaker.
Meanwhile, Philippe Lemieux has arrived in California with the ambition of owning the largest vineyard in Napa by 1900. When he receives word of his brother's death in France, he resolves to bring the killer to justice. Sara has travelled to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Philippe in a Napa vineyard, they are instantly drawn to one another, but Sara knows he is the one man who could return her family's vineyard to her, or send her straight to the guillotine.
This riveting tale of betrayal, retribution, love, and redemption, Kristen Harnisch’s debut novel immerses readers in the rich vineyard culture of both the Old and New Worlds, the burgeoning cities of late nineteenth-century America and a spirited heroine’s fight to determine her destiny.
By Kristen Harnisch
Deep in the Heart of France: A Guide to the Loire Valley’s Contemporary Caves
It is not common knowledge, even elsewhere in France, that the Loire Valley, that natural dividing line between the north and the south of France, is honeycombed with thousands of caves, a number of which are open to the public. This is your guide to nearly 200 cave lodgings, cave restaurants, cave art galleries, cave museums and many other "troglodyte" attractions. Also includes 22 walks in cave country.
Almost all of the caves of the region are human creations, cavities hollowed out of the earth in the course of the last two millennia or more. Originally some caves were excavated to serve as refuges from marauders, others as stone quarries, others as mines. Once created, a variety of uses could be found for a cave, not least of which was as habitation.
In earlier times, a broad cross-section of social classes lived in cave habitations, but by the 19th century living in this sort of digs had been relegated to the poor. By the mid-20th century only a handful of cave dwellers hung on underground, and to live in a cave was considered something of a disgrace.
There were other uses for the caves, though, once the extraction of the stone had ceased. Wineries quickly come to mind. Caves were used to make and age still wines, of course, but the sparkling wine industry, established in the Loire Valley in the early 19th century, put large sections of abandoned caves to use for the aging of its product. Mushroom cultivation, also brought to the Loire Valley in the 19th century, was a major industry in the region until fairly recently. A once-thriving silk industry often used caves to raise silkworms.
At the beginning of the 21st century the wineries are still going strong, but most of the other cave-based industries have either died out or have been reduced considerably. Loire Valley caves are now much more likely to be reborn as tourist sites (restaurants, lodgings, museums) or once again, habitation. New technologies and a newfound respect for caves’ ecological qualities have led to a renaissance of cave living. The troglodyte lifestyle appears to have a bright future.
By Robert Bonnell
France: A History: from Gaul to de Gaulle
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower...This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crécy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks...
John Julius Norwich (at 88) has finally written the book he always wanted to write, the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best.
From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
By John Julius Norwich