visiting the loire valley

by Sharon Santoni

For the first time this year, we are taking guests to visit the Loire Valley. This fertile region of France, best known for its spectacular chateaux is also renowned for its pleasant climate and gentle living.

I wanted to design a tour for our guests that would include some chateaux visits, with a few gardens (of course!), some shopping, a cooking class and lots of good food and wine along the way. This is the foundation, and once I had that, I started adding in other ideas.

Last year, I drove down to the Loire with my husband, to test some addresses and check out my draft itinerary. This is something I always do before launching a new Tour. For one, it’s fun to have my husband along for the ride, and most importantly, you can never just plan a tour from a desk!

Nothing replaces jumping into the car with a map, a wish list and a healthy dose of curiosity. I get lost with alarming regularity, but I really don’t mind, because it’s often when I’m ‘lost’ that I come across an unexpected treasure.

It’s particularly important to try out restaurants. Of course we can all ready the Michelin guide, or check out internet sites, but nobody can actually tell you how warm the welcome is, how comfortable the seats, and how good the food tastes unless you get there in person.

The things that I am very excited about during this Loire Valley tour are the private visits. When doors and gates are opened to us and us alone. When we find ourselves en tete-à-tete with the owners of these properties, who have designed the gardens, and chosen refurbishments for the interiors, and are happy to share their experience with us.

Garden visits will play a big part of the tour, especially visits to potagers which are so big in the Loire. I’m particularly excited about visiting the Chateau de la Bourdaisière, with its stunning potager, astounding collection of dahlias and charming interior design.

We will stay at the hotel called Les Hauts de Loire. A beautiful manor house in its own extensive grounds, with plenty of space to wander and relax at the end of each day. We are only taking a very small group of 6 guests, and we currently have a couple of places remaining.

We will be in the Loire from August 29th to September 3rd. If you would like more information about this tour, or any of our other destinations, then please drop us a line. We have a few spaces left on two other tours, and we’d be happy to tell you more.


Kristen williams February 8, 2023 - 7:50 pm

Bonjour! I will be in Paris for the month of April 2023 and would love some information about your Loire tour(s).

Judy Domingues February 8, 2023 - 9:31 pm

Just a note about the hotel!! My husband and I stayed at Les Hauts de Loire back in October, 1995. The safe in our room was not working, and I had a David Yurman ring stolen from my suitcase. I had it hidden deep into the suitcase, so they had to dig to fine it. When I complained to the staff that night after dinner they just shrugged it off. They knew who had cleaned our room that night, but did nothing. In hindsight, we should have called the police to investigate.
I am sure the first thing people will say is that I should not be traveling with expensive jewelry. I have made over 75 trips to Europe from Texas over the past 30 years and I have never had anything stolen from me again.

fredda westfall February 9, 2023 - 12:56 am

Love to take one of your tours but I am not going to get a covid vaccine to do that. All my friends who did have had complications from this vaccine and still got it multiple times. Other tours have dropped that and some cruises. Enjoy your newsletters.

F. Westfall

M.B. Jasso February 9, 2023 - 6:00 am

Your tour sounds lovely but, I actually will not go on any tour that doesn’t require Covid testing. I have had all vaccines and boosters with absolutely no issues. If I’m going into a congested area while touring, I wear a mask to insure the safety of my fellow tour members. Nothing is foolproof, but health and consideration is everything!

FYI… I live part of the year and own homes in Spain…I follow protocols when necessary.

medital February 10, 2023 - 11:26 am

your post is great

Weekend View - French Country Cottage February 11, 2023 - 6:48 pm

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Fred Mike February 13, 2024 - 12:38 pm

I am already enchanted by the idea of exploring the Loire Valley with your well thought out tour. The personal touch of testing addresses and trying out restaurants adds an authentic touch.
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