Sprawling chateaux, acres of vineyards, and 500 years of Renaissance history comprise this romantic 7-day private cruise along the Loire Valley. The hotel barge Nymphea is the ideal vessel for navigating the beautiful sandy beaches of the River Cher. Very few other ships can cruise this magical waterway. Your journey begins in Tours, with visits to the Renaissance gardens of Château de Villandry and the Royal Château d'Amboise, the royal palace of French Kings. Sample a variety of Touraine wines at Domaine de Fontenay. Continue cruising under the 5-arch bridge of the impressive Château de Chenonceau. Before disembarking in Tours, stop by the Montrichard vineyard to enjoy some vintages.
Experience their locally-produced wine at Touraine with your private group of up to 6 guests
Visit Leonardo Da Vinci's home at Chateau du Clos Luce
Tour Château de Chenonceau and gardens
Enjoy private wine tastings at Montrichard and the Domaine de Fontenay
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 three years of his life.
While cruising in the morning, you may pull into 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, cruise under the 5-arch bridge of the impressive Château de Chenonceau and moor at Chisseaux. From there, 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 moor near one of the more unusual dwellings, La Magnanerie. 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, 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.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!