Tour the Loire Valley castles of Chenonceaux, Amboise, and Chambord from the town of Tours. Your Loire Valley tour begins with a pickup in Tours when your TGV train arrives from Paris. The tour can be customized for you to visit three Loire Valley chateaux or two castles and wine-tasting and can be arranged any day of the year.
For your private Loire Valley tour, we suggest Chenonceaux castle. This castle is situated along the Cher River and is often called "the ladies castle" because of its history connected with many women!
King Henri II gave Chenonceaux to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers in 1547. Diane loved the chateau and added the arched bridge which connected the castle to the other side of the Cher River. Diane de Poitiers also supervised the creation of beautiful flower and vegetable gardens along with the planting of a variety of fruit trees.
King Henry II died in 1559 and Catherine de Medici, the widow of Henry II, expelled Diane. Catherine created beautiful gardens, too. Today, it's possible to contrast and compare the gardens of these two ladies and to imagine the intrigue behind the Chenonceaux Castle.
During World War I the gallery of the arched bridge became a hospital ward. During WWII, it was used as a way to flee the occupied Nazi zone to the "free" Vichy zone on the other side of the Cher River.
Your private Loire Valley tour continues to Amboise where you can have lunch and visit the Amboise castle perched above the town.
Amboise Castle overlooks the Loire River and has some of the first Renaissance decorative motifs seen in French architecture. In the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, adjoining the Château, Leonardo da Vinci is buried. He died in Amboise in 1519. Da Vinci had lived the last few years of his life in the town of Amboise, having arrived there at the invitation of King Francois I, who was raised at Amboise Castle.
The son of Francois I was Henry II. Henry and his wife, Catherine de Medici, raised their children in Château Amboise. The history of the castle is marked with a lot of stories. A very tragic happening which took place in Amboise was the Amboise conspiracy. In 1560, the Huguenots (a group who belonged to the Protestant Reformed Church of France) failed in their attempts to gain power in France. They hoped to kidnap King Francois II. Instead, their attempts failed and more than 1200 Huguenots were massacred and their bodies were hung on iron hooks on the castle. Certainly this event contributed to the Wars of Religion that divided France from 1562 to 1598.
You can also visit the Clos Luce. Clos Luce is a mansion situated in the town of Amboise, just up the street from the royal Château of Amboise. There's even an underground passageway connecting the Clos Luce to the castle. Originally built in the middle of the fifteenth century, Charles VIII of France bought it for his wife, Anne of Brittany. Later, it was used by Francois I and his sister Marguerite de Navarre. Finally in 1516, King Francois I invited Leonardo da Vinci to live in Amboise and presented him with this lovely mansion. While there, Leonardo continued to work on his inventions and paintings for the last three years of his life until he died there in 1519.
Today, the Clos Luce is a museum which includes many models of the various machines and creations of Leonardo da Vinci.
If time permits, your Loire Valley tour may go by Chambord castle, the largest castle in the Loire Valley with 400 rooms!
Entrances and meals aren't included in the cost for the private tours.
Write us to tell us how many are in your group and we'll happily arrange this special day to the Loire Valley region.
If you'd like an itinerary to include several days or touring in the Valley, we can arrange this, too. The itinerary can be customized per your "wish list" of Loire Valley castles and wineries...whatever you wish to see and do!
Contact us for pricing for your private tour in the Loire Valley region of France.