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“Perfect stress free way to see the Loire Valley”

Loire Valley Time Travel Day Tours
Ranked #2 of 9 Food & Drink in Tours
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: The owners of Loire Valley Time Travel are originally from Australia, and toured the world before settling in France and deciding to share their love of the Loire Valley with visitors. On all of our tours Simon drives the classic cars, while Susan shares her wealth of knowledge about the Loire's history, way of life and natural environment. We provide custom private tours of the Loire Valley, traveling in our classic French 1953 Citroen Traction Avant, and we try to make a day with us like having a day out with friends. We visit the grand chateau you have always dreamed of seeing, stopping along the way at small overlooked sites that can range from WW2 memorials to ancient ruins and troglodyte caves.
Niwot, CO
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Perfect stress free way to see the Loire Valley”
Reviewed May 18, 2014

We spent two days with Simon, Susan, and the beautiful Celestine at the end of April. We really appreciated the fact that we could just relax and not have to navigate the roads ourselves. Susan is a wealth of information and made our tours of the Chateaux educational and easy. Both Simon and Susan are a pleasure to be with and we enjoyed great conversation and lunches as well!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank lgran1287
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Erie, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Greatest Vacation of our lives..do it!”
Reviewed November 30, 2013 via mobile

We recently took a week's trip to France - 4 days in Paris, then were looking for the perfect 3 day excursion to follow-on. We found their link, and they were able to respond immediately with helpful suggestions on how to navigate the train system and provided great suggestions on where to stay and eat. Susan and Simon picked us up right on time the first morning at our B&B - and our family of 4 piled into "Celestine" - a 1953 Citroen Traction Avant...a simply beautiful car that took us back in time. Our 2 day trip through the countryside was bliss - Simon takes country roads through small villages, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the area. Upon stopping at the chateaus, his wife Susan (who follows in a car behind) takes over tour guide duties, and gave us incredible access and knowledge about the local chateaus - some of which were actually closed to all other visitors that day! We had lunch in small local restaurants, with no other tourists in sight, and truly felt like we were in our own world. We've tried all manner of tour guides before - but nothing comes close to the knowledge, experience, and ambience of Simon and Susan. This trip was worth far more than the price we were charged - and they took care of everything, including lunch, tickets, etc. We have never done so much (and still been so relaxed) in two days of vacation. Thanks for a wonderful family trip that we will treasure forever!

Helpful?
6 Thank Doug B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Fantastic Day in the Loire Valley”
Reviewed November 7, 2013

If you're looking for a wonderful 'Out of the Way' experience, do not hesitate to book a day trip (or 2!!) with Simon and Susan of Loire Valley Time Travel!!!....You will not be disappointed!!! It's an easy train ride out of Paris to Tours, and Simon with 'Celestine', will pick you up at the train station and whisk you away into the beautiful countryside of the Loire Valley. They will share with you all of the back roads and well known landmarks as you glide along. Both are proud of the area in which they live and love to share the history, as well as the flora and fauna with their new found friends. Everything is included - Admissions, lunch and admiring looks and smiles of the people you pass as you drive along. If you have any special requests, they will try to accommodate them. We went to the quaint and historical town of 'Loches', had lunch there and after touring some Troglodyte cave/dwellings enjoyed a pleasant drive through the countryside (...with a stop in the sunflower fields) to 'Chenonceau', a beautiful chateau steeped in history. We ended the day at a delightful winery, complete with tastings and were dropped back at the train station for our return trip to Paris. It was a truly magical day and a fantastic way to celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of our friends, who travelled with us. Thank you, Simon and Susan......Until we meet again!!!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Itchyfeet5153
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Castles, markets and wine, oh yeah!”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

Our tour guides in the castle regions near Tours were Susan and Simon Walters of Loire Valley Time Travel. From the moment I inquired about tour availability during our dates of stay to assistance with accommodations both Susan and Simon were extremely helpful and always very prompt to answer any questions. They are the ones that initially suggested La Maison Jules in Tours for a B&B along with a couple other accommodations. Both Susan and Simon get a shout out for that suggestion!

Once we had booked with Susan and Simon and explained that we were traveling by train they agreed to pick us up at our door at La Maison Jules. How’s that for service? . From the moment we got in the car, which was a 1956 Citroen (Simon actually switched cars during one of our stops to a 1953 Citroen) they seemed to know exactly how to explain the history of each area we explored and tie it into the culture and architecture. The only complaint, and I do mean only complaint, that I had was that it was sometimes difficult to hear Simon over the road noise. Having said that I also have to admit that my hearing isn’t nearly as good as it used to be!

One thing we really enjoyed about the day was that Simon did not take any major roads to any of our destinations. The trip had a very rural feel and the scenery was great. Our first stop was Loches which I would estimate to be about 30 – 40minutes outside of Tours. The town was small and had a real “community” feel. Susan walked us through the town including the market (well worth the stop but only open on Wednesday and Saturday) all of the time giving us a history of the city and answering many of our questions which she did very well. Loches is a very old city with origins back to around 500. Since I’m not a historian I will not attempt to get too specific but the castle was built during the medieval period and the original walls are still standing. Also, Richard the Lionheart occupied this castle in the 12th century with his father Henry II of England and it was in this castle where Joan of Arc convinced Charles VII to go to Reims to get crowned. This boosted the morale of the French and it was during his reign that the French started to take over more control of the area. In other words, this castle is very cool and is definitely worth seeing. The city itself was constructed during both the medieval and renaissance periods and you can definitely see it in the architecture. This is where Susan’s knowledge of the history really started to help us connect the dots from the English rule to French rule and the transition from the medieval period to e renaissance period. We had one of those “aha” moments and for a couple of remedial historians I would have to give Susan 5 stars just for being so patient with us. This actually made the remainder of our time in France more enjoyable because we could actually start to see the differences in each town that we visited.

After our walk through Loches we stopped and had lunch which was great. The restaurant was located in Loches not too far from the castle and served some very traditional French food. We had plat de jour which included a salad, entree and dessert and a glass of wine. It was perfect and one of Susan and Simon’s favorites and I can see why. We were then off to Chenonceau.

The first thing we had to do was learn how to “not butcher” the pronunciation. I had Susan sound it out slowly and it’s pronounced “shen-non-so” or at least that’s how those of us from the northwest corner of the US would pronounce it. Some French words are ridiculously hard to pronounce but hey, try to have them pronounce Puyallup!! Ah, but again I digress.

Chenonceau is incredibly beautiful. First of all, Simon delivered us to the front of the parking lot and I have to admit being driven to literally the front gate of a chateau like Chenonceau in a classic car was special. Very nice touch. Now the chateau. The original castle dates back to the 11th century but most of it was destroyed and later rebuilt during the early years of the renaissance period. This chateau is huge and the grounds were our favorite part. I won’t bore you with the history but this chateau survived the WWI and II wars and was a key river crossing that no one wanted to destroy. My view is that once both sides saw the chateau, no one wanted to destroy it and not have access to it once they claimed victory. Made sense to me! . We could easily have spent the entire day just walking through the grounds but we have wine to taste so off we go.

The final stop with Susan and Simon was Domaine du Clos Roussely which is located in Ange’ approximately 20 minutes from Chenonceau. We had a chance to walk through part of the vineyard and taste some very good wines. This was a very good way to end the day. The drive back to Tour was about 45 minutes and followed a couple of rivers including the Loire and after some wine tasting was about as relaxing as it could be. Susan and Simon delivered us right back to our door which after a day of castle exploring couldn’t have worked out better. An outstanding day!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank dastravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“This Is How It's Done”
Reviewed October 14, 2013

My wife and I pride ourselves on putting aside time to write honest, critical reviews of the lodgings, restaurants and tours we experience while traveling. Not all our reviews are positive, as we like to consider ourselves as sophisticated, discerning travelers.

However, this is one rare occasion there is really nothing to add to what has been previously written and it will be a challenge to add anything unique to the review.

Our experience starts the night before our first day tour. Having realized we'd made a mistake booking at the troglodyte Les Hautes Roches in Rochercorbon (see review dated October 13, 2013), we called Susan for a recommendation for new lodgings more to our liking. Although it was late in the evening, she immediately returned our call, suggesting a couple of highly rated hotels and B&B's, and viola`, the next day we checked into the Domaine de las Tortinierre, a fine hotel we will review soon.

The next morning they arrived in "Celestine", the splendid 1953 Citroen 4 door Traction Avant. Riding in this wonderfully restored "mini limousine" was a nice novelty. Especially impressive was Simon's ability to perfectly manage the on dash gear shift, while simultaneously operating the wipers and turn signals, also both on the dashboard. As if this wasn't enough, he also had Susan pull out a specifically designated towel to hand wipe the interior windscreen while driving as there is no defroster.

A big benefit of this teamwork of Simon driving and Susan speaking is that neither one is distracted during the tour. Simon is able to drop us as close to our destination as possible, a big advantage in the rain we encountered, and Susan is able to answer questions and share her inexhaustible knowledge without having to keep her eyes on the road.

The tours were the best we'd experienced in France to date. Unlike some where the guide feels the need to augment the subject with tales of personal validation or humor that often misses the mark, Susan very professionally took us through each site armed with history, relayed in such a manner one couldn't help but want to absorb every word and want to know more. And when we did ask for more, Susan proved her knowledge was not scripted but was learned over her vast past experience working closely with the academic and curating professions.

Just as impressive was Susan's knowledge of subjects unrelated to the tours, as we filled in time chatting about everything from French political attitudes to horticultural history and present practices.

Simon is no slouch either. When warmed up, he proved he also has a tremendous knowledge of French history, as well as automobiles, music, ornithology, and horticulture. The natural banter between themselves while driving or during lunch was entertaining as well, especially for the American ear, hearing both British and Australian expressions not commonly heard in the States. Simon's dry humor against Susan's strict adherence to facts brought a bit of levity and a contrasting warmness to a day that potentially could have become overwhelmed with text book staidness.

A tribute to their knowledge of the community and local events and proof they can work off the script was when, upon discovering trips to the basket weaving Villaines les Rochers and the Chateau de Cande` would not be possible, they took us to a street corner to join a small neighborhood in cheering on the arrival of the Tour de Paris cyclers, a surprise treat!

Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give these two is that they are people we will both remember and often think about fondly as we look back at this trip and the rich splendor of the Loire Valley they so skillfully brought to us.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank MicklLaura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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