The Nymphea is the ideal vessel for navigating the beautiful sandy beaches of the River Cher in the Loire Valley. Very few other vessels are able to cruise this magical waterway. You will even get to cruise through the arches of probably the most-photographed château in the Loire Valley, Château de Chenonceau – not once, but twice – a rare privilege afforded to very few boats!
Visit the Century-old Chateaus in Central France
Experience their locally-produced wine at Touraine
Visit Leonardo Da Vinci's home at Chateau du Clos Luce
Guests are met near Tours and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to hotel barge Nymphea where the crew and a Champagne Welcome await you at your mooring opposite the 17th century Moulin de Nitray.
A morning cruise through two locks takes you to the quaint town of Larcay where you moor under the weeping willows for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to Château de Villandry, the last of the great Renaissance châteaux to be built on the banks of the Loire. The château is world-renowned for its amazing array of ornamental, water, vegetable and herb gardens.
After a morning cruise past no less than six private châteaux, you tie up opposite the hamlet of Vallet, a cluster of classic Tourangeau architecture grouped around its 18th century mill. From there you drive to Amboise on the banks of the Loire, where you visit the Royal Château d’Amboise, a royal residence of the Kings of France for 200 years. You also get to visit Château du Clos Lucé nearby, Leonardo Da Vinci’s home for the last 3 years of his life.
Whilst cruising in the morning you may pull in to the tiny landing stage next to Domaine de Fontenay. A two-minute walk brings you to the courtyard where you can taste their range of Touraine wines as an aperitif before lunch. In the afternoon you cruise under the 5-arch bridge of the impressive Château de Chenonceau and moor at Chisseaux. From there you take a short drive in the air-conditioned minibus to visit Chenonceau, often called ‘the ladies château’, after those such as Henry II’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who added the bridge over the River Cher and the beautiful gardens. Upon your return, you cruise upstream to Chissay-en-Touraine and have dinner in one of the local restaurants specializing in Loire regional cooking.
A morning cruise takes you towards the troglodyte village of Bourré and we moor near one of the more unusual dwellings, La Magnaneraie. The Coquillat family have grown up in this hillside troglodyte habitation, which has been in turn a wine cellar, a quarry for the tuffeau stone, and lastly, a silkworm nursery. After lunch drive to Valencay, one of the most splendid châteaux of the Loire. We then cruise to Montrichard where we moor for the night.
Following breakfast, a short stroll takes you to the heart of Montrichard and into one of the largest street markets in Touraine. You also explore the 11th century château overlooking the medieval town square. Before lunch you can visit the local vineyard of the Meriau family, to taste the regional Touraine vintages. In the afternoon, you can enjoy another passage under Chenonceau and arrive at the hamlet of Nitray in time to visit the château and rose garden. Enjoy an aperitif from their vineyards before the Captain’s Farewell.
Day 7: Moulin de Nitray | Disembark
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the drop-off point near Tours.
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Prices for are estimated based on inflation. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure date.
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Nymphea has three compact, but comfortable cabins, two twin staterooms and one twin or double stateroom, all with air conditioning and en-suite facilities.
Cruise includes: Accommodation with private shower, all meals, selected regional wines and alcoholic beverages consumed aboard, all sightseeing tours and admittance fees as stipulated, use of the Vessels’ bicycles and other facilities, and round-trip transfers from the specified meeting point.
Cruise does not include: Air transportation, airport taxes, visas, health or accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, superior Châteaux vintage wines, crew gratuities, optional activities such as hot air balloon flights or items of a personal nature such as laundry, communication charges or purchases.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.