The gentle and fertile landscape of the Loire Valley is tinted with France’s lavish royal past. Majestic palaces and breathtaking chateaux’s flank the course of the longest river in the country which meanders its untamed way to the Atlantic. The beauty of the ancient castles, historic towns and limestone hills has earnt the 300km stretch of valley a Wold Heritage Site status since 2000.
One of the most delightful ways of exploring this infamous region is on horseback. You will be guided by lifelong equestrians with in-depth knowledge of the Loire and its breathtaking surroundings. Riding across the countryside you will pass by green inviting vineyards, sumptuous apple orchards and vibrant yellow fields of sunflowers. You will trot through areas of noble history and marvel at the grandiose architecture. Tucked in among the vineyards are strangely beautiful troglodyte caves carved into limestone cliffs. After the quarrymen of centuries past had excavated the tufa stone to make the Loire's distinctive creamy white houses, they moved into the empty caves. They now make quirky homes and guesthouses, as well as a handy place to cultivate mushrooms or store wine.
With Equestrian Escapes you have the choice to travel to this exquisite location for a short break or a full week where you can become fully immersed in the culture and appreciate the spectacular scenery. Riding around this stunning scenery takes you back in time when the surrounding land was reserved as royal hunting grounds. Your guide will bring the history to life with stories of the political and royal intrigues that have been linked with these magnificent estates from the time of Richard the Lionhart and the Knights Templar, through to Joan of Arc and the Valois and Bourbon Kings.
During the time of the French Renaissance in the 15th century, the suburb fertility of the land drew the French rulers who built their royal residences, each ruler attempting to build the most impressive of them all. Not only were the buildings built in this lavish manner but the gardens had to be just as ornate, most notably the gardens at the world famous Chateaux Villandry.
Also known as the "garden of France", the Loire Valley produces succulent fruit and vegetables as well as some excellent wines, throughout your trip to the Valley you will be offered the chance to enjoy delectable food and sample the local wine. Chinon, Saumur and Sancerre are atmospheric bases for exploring the surrounding vineyards.
On day 5 of the week long trip with Equestrian Escapes you have the opportunity to take an excursion to the likes of Saumur which offers a host of alternative activities; a boat ride along the River Loire, cycling, visiting wineries for tastings, a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride, hot air balloon rides, golfing or you can tour the other exquisite castles of the area.
Read some customers accounts of their Loire experience
Louise – ‘Just to report back to you. We are having the time of our lives here in the Loire Valley. Firstly the stables are lovely. The host speaks really good English and is lots if fun. Secondly the accommodation is fabulous. We ate here last night and I have to say it was the best meal of the week so far. Oeufs en cocotte followed by quail with homemade mushroom ravioli with a foie gras sauce followed by again homemade chocolate macaroons with vanilla ice cream. It is quite charming. Photos to follow!
Christophe & Margaux – ‘We did a 2h ride and we really loved it !!
My companion even managed to overcome his fear of horses thanks to the sweetness and kindness of our host. Stroll along the Loire very charming, we discussed well, really nice exchanges. The staff are without exception very welcoming and really nice. We will be happy to return if you have the opportunity to come back to your charming region. Thank you very much it was both informative and entertaining!’
To enquire about your trip to the Loire visit /riding-holidays-France-Loire-Valley/ or call our travel experts, Hatty or Sarah on 01829 781 123.