Loire River
Loire River
4.5
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles32 reviews
Excellent
23
Very good
8
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marneyBrisbane
Brisbane1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Friends
When we went to the Loire Valley, we decided not to hire a car and to use trains, buses and perhaps do a tour. It is quite easy to view a number of interesting Chateaux and Towns without hiring a car.

A Tours is the central hub of the region, it is best to stay in Tours. Accommodation is available near the Railway Station. We stayed at the Grand Hotel, which is near both the railway station and the Tourist Office. Tours itself is well worth exploring and the Chateaux of Amboise with Clos Lucé nearby, Chenonceau and Blois are easily accessible by train. From Blois there is a bus leaving from the railway station that does the circuit Blois, Chambord, Cheverny. Azay-le-Rideau and Langeais have train stations and it is not hard to get to the Chateaux from there. The towns of Chinon and Loches are also accessible by train from Tours. Chinon had a fortress and Loches a Keep and a Royal Palace.

With a base in Tours for a week a traveler can easily go to the railway station, buy a ticket and head off to one of the above destinations for the day. The Tourist Office offers and arranges half day or full day tours with a company. We visited Azay-le-Rideau, Vilandry, Ussé and Langeais in a mini-bus day tour, which worked well. However we preferred to use the train and take a day to explore one town and chateaux and to have time to go at our own pace.
Written June 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann427
Melbourne, Australia34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Friends
I just came back last week from France and the last part of our trip was a personalised guided tour for 2. This was with Riverloire .com Thierry was a great person to deal with and the tour is adapted to your needs. Everything is paid for in advance so no extra expenses (only your own personal expenses). The whole tour, we did 4 nights 5 days was first class accomodation very good At Le Pavillon Des Lys just around corner from main street and an amazing view if the Chateau d' Ambiose from our window. The breakfasts were amazing and staff very friendly and helpful. We visited Chateau Chenoneau doing a boat trip under Chateau ,an amazing lunch at a first class restaurant and a visit inside Chateau and finished off that evening with a Hot air balloon ride over Chateaus.Fantastic. We als visitd Chateau Sur Loire,Chateau Villandry Chateau d' Ambiose and Chateau du Clos Luce where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last 3 years. He is buried in Chateau.We also did a wine tasting.Our guide was just wonderful and The whole trip a joy. First class the whole way
Written August 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WUFFA67
Worcester, UK38 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2015 • Couples
First season on a new boat and still needs a few wrinkles to sort out. The cabins are well fitted out with plenty of storage space and a good sized bathroom with shower that is easy to control. Beds are comfortable facing out. Dining room is spacious and the food good. Service by the waiters (mainly Hungarian) is good but no one in overall charge. No choice of menu but appetising food except for lukewarm soup served in cups! Drinks are included in the price as is norm by the ship operator, CroiseEurope. The lounge has good service with again inclusive drinks except for spirits and Champagne.
Unfortunately the river was low on water so could only go as far as Ancenis and not Angers as planned. All trips went ahead even though this put extra time on coach travel. Everyone had hearing devices for listening to the excellent guides who, at times, gave a little too much info, (not sitting exams on French history). The 3 chateaux visited in one day was exhausting but worth it. Started of with Azay-le-Rideau followed by lunch then the gardens at Villandry (marvellous) finally Ussé. All were different and well worth visiting, Ussé especially with children for the Sleeping Beauty display.
Angers another place visited but unfortunately by coach. This needs a full day at least to wander round. the fortress with the Apocalypse Tapestries need time to absorb.
Guérande and nearby salt reclamation are also well worth a visit. This was from St Nazaire with its U boat pens, sailing towards Nantes look out for the house (not occupied) in the river. Nantes is easy to get around, try the land train from the cathedral also chateau of the Dukes of Brittany. Watch out for the mechanical elephant.
Back to the boat, what is missing is toilets in public areas, you have to go back to your cabin if required from the lounge or restaurant. Because most of the passengers are French at the end of our trip Archers passengers were just left to get on with it.
Written September 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mariaanjos
Mertola, Portugal117 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Couples
Quiet and wonderful scenery, filled with charming villages and towns, and outstandind castles along the river bank. Go to Tours, Amboise, Blois, and take a walk along the river. If you go to Amboise on sunday, you have a great market in the river bank.
Written September 17, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MelbourneDes
melbourne274 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2011 • Couples
I really enjoyed the Loire Valley and we stayed in Amboise in the La Porte Bleue so our going to bed scene out our window was a magnificent view of the Amboise castle lit at night...I can highly recommend La Porte Bleue as a vacation rental and the owner Chantal Salvaudon was a delight...easily google La Porte Bleue Amboise

About the chateaus they were wonderful but I always felt( having done the ghost story tours of New Orleans )that the french would do themselves a favour if they supplied the marveling tourists with the background stories on the castles...i wanted the intrigue and the scandels and who did what to whom....as i wandered through the castles i felt my history knowledge was woeful and a juicy background story would liven up the magnificent interiors and exteriors

.. ..i actually came home and started looking some of the stories up for instance

the double helix starwell in the fab Chambord was designed so that the wife went up one side and mistress down the other...

Ambois( inhabited by Charles the VIII who had six toes on each foot .)..was a sign of power and wealth and Charles who always seemed to be at war with Italy brought many Renaissance influences back home with him......but poor Charles didnt duck one day and smacked his head on the doorway in Amboise and died...would that not be a great ghost on a ghost tour...

We did head out towards the west but we had a flat tire and spent our castle hours trying to get a flat fixed with no french...i must say the tourist office in Azay de Rideau was extremely helpful in helping us get to someone who could fix the flat.....The wonderful dutch woman (forgot her name) was very helpful.

I would agree with other writers not to do too many castles in one day or you will suffer from the "not another castle" attitude we came across...with various tourists we met on the way....also if you can get an idea of the scandels in the various castles it would make the castles seem more alive...

salute

melbourne des
Written November 11, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Denise L
Pittsburgh, PA28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Friends
I have been on a number of Viking river cruises. The first, Douro River, was almost a disaster mainly because of the time of year and the weather. (See my review on that cruise.) This cruise was a pleasure. If I would offer one suggestion -- take the pretour. Although this was billed as the wine and chateaux of the Loire Valley you really didn't see the huge chateaux unless you took the pretour. I elect to take the Viking's pretours since my first Viking cruise. You are able to recover from jet lag, the group is smaller (about 30 - 35 people), and you have greater access to the guide. I was surprised by the city of Bordeaux -- it is stunning, especially at night. If you're on the river, watching the unique draw bridge (the entire section of the bridge actually lifts straight up) was interesting. The trips to the various wineries were fascinating. One of them had a great presentation showing the "life cycle" of the grape vine. I am not a wine enthusiast so I don't know if the trips to the various wine chateaux would be sufficient.
Written April 20, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WellTravelledYoungUn
Heysham, UK75 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Having been here many times I'd never truely appreciated it's beauty and historic intrest until i went with my pregnant fiancé.
Not being able to rush through and go on active days out (trips to local vin yards etc) we casually sauntered through the chateaux, along the rivers and through the town taking in the historic and natural beauty of the surroundings and intricate building work.
But as i said, lovely for a peaceful romantic getaway, possibly a bit boring for teens wanting adventure and excitement.
Written June 3, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rondonel
Oxford, UK391 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2012 • Couples
On our way from Brittany to the Loire Valley we didn't have much time but wanted to view the caves in this area if possible. We tried to find Rochmenier but came across a place called Doue La Fontaine. It is a small town and was very quiet and peaceful. A sign pointed to troglodyte caves and therefore we decided to take a look. I think we were lucky to find these ones as it was the best choice in the area. There is a small parking area right outside. It was a very hot day and the caves were nice and cool. As you first go in, you find yourself in a small room which has gifts and an entrance counter. The lady did speak some english but she also had a file with sheets of notes and translations in different languages that we could take on our tour and read as we went. There is a tour with a guide but we had just missed it and in any case he was guiding a french party. It was nice to go at our own at our own pace in any case. We were allowed to take photos so we could take our time. The caves are cut out of the tufa or limestone and the floor for instance is very sandy. In roman times, sarcophagi were cut out of the rock. The whole area has many of these caves and there is, in fact, a 32 mile drive around them starting from Saumur.
These caves are now used for different purposes, some are wine cellars, some are used for growing mushrooms, others as dovecotes and some wealthy Parisians use them as holiday homes. Therefore, one cannot visit all of them as many are private. Doue La Fontaine is also a special area for growing roses and the petals are harvested for many purposes. In the small gift area at the caves we visited, they had some lovely items for sale. The toiletries are very highly perfurmed from the deep red roses and one can buy soaps, bath oils etc. They also sell jam which you can also use by putting a spoonful in a glass, pouring sparkling wine or still wine on top and the 'jam' will rise to the top. Other items are special biscuits and both wine and troglodyte beer. We were limited firstly by time as we had to get to our destination and by the capacity of our boot for extra items as we had already visited places in Normany and Brittany.
This town and caves are certainly well worth visiting and not known that well. I would certainly like to go back to this area and explore more as it is very different from the ubiquitous museums, art galleries and castles that one visits for culture.
Written July 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mina P
Inverkip, UK7,939 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Couples
Loire is France`s longest river and its fertile valley boasts more than 1.000 great castles and quality vineyards. Loire`s wines come 3rd in France after Bordeaux and Languedoc. The castles usually produce their own wines and usually they are excellent. Not expensive for their high quality. The "châteaux" have made this region world famous and not without reason. So many important castles in a valley is something unique. You can't visit all of them, either because they are privately owned or some of them are in ruins. But there is no problem. There are so many to visit and so different in style that no one leaves disappointed! We managed to visit 13 castles, the most popular ones, in just 6 days! Quite exhausting but I loved every moment of it. We went in October and the weather was sunny and mild and even Villandry gardens had a lot of colour. October is the last month for castle visits and it wasn't so busy, that's why we enjoyed our visits better and away from crowds!
Written January 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bui Vu Quy
Hanoi, Vietnam11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Couples
Chateau de Chambord is one of places we should visit if we plan to traveling along the Loire river.
Chateau de Chambord is magnifique not only by his beauty grandiose but he keeps a lot of secret in side himself!
I love it.
Written August 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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