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The Scenic Loire Valley

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Overview

1 Included Excursions
  • See the scenic landscapes of the Loire Valley and its magnificent chateaux
  • Discover the naval history of Saint-Nazaire
  • Spend time in Ancenis, built on an island
  • Visit the ‘City of Love’ in the capital, Paris

Known as the Garden of France due to its abundance of vineyards, orchards and agricultural fields the area around the Loire River has been an important part of France for centuries. The river is lined with ancient towns and cities and hundreds of castles built between the 5th and 17th centuries.

The French Monarchs built their magnificent chateaux and gardens in the gently winding Loire Valley, where the mild climate brings an abundant harvest of superb wines. Admire splendid views as we sail along the River Loire, whose banks are dotted with fairy-tale castles and delightful gardens recalling grandeurs of a bygone era.

This Holiday is Great For

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  • 46x44-icon-history

Itinerary

Day One: UK to Northern France
We travel from the UK to Northern France via Calais and check into a hotel, enjoying an evening meal to end the day. (D)

Day Two: Embark in Nantes
We travel onwards to Nantes to join the MS Loire Princesse enjoying a welcome drink before dinner. Join an optional boat cruise on the River Erdre to discover its fauna and its flora as well as admire the fabulous castles which line its banks. Nantes itself is the main city of north-west France and has been since the end of Roman times. The city has a beautiful cathedral and a number of historic churches as well as museums of fine arts, local history and the life of local author, Jules Verne. We moor overnight in Nantes. (B,L,D)

Day Three: Nantes to Saint-Nazaire
This morning enjoy an optional excursion to Saint-Nazaire, known for its large harbour and shipyard, and visit the Ocean Liner Experience, Escal’Atlantic. To the north of the town is Biere, a large marshy region, rich in flora and fauna with thatched cottages dotting the area. Enjoy an evening of dancing and we moor overnight in Saint-Nazaire. (B,L,D)

Day Four: Saint-Nazaire to Ancenis 
Our cruise continues onwards this morning to Ancenis, set on an island. During the afternoon you can join an optional excursion through the vineyards of the Nantes region to discover the Muscadet Wine Route and Clisson, a medieval town. If you choose to stay in Ancenis, explore the Chateau d’Ancenis a medieval castle, a number of Renaissance churches and the town’s historic old quarter which contains great examples of medieval houses. (B,L,D)

Day Five: Ancenis to Bouchemaine
Today we depart for Bouchemaine, where we moor overnight. The area surrounding Bouchemaine is made up of rolling green countryside and is a great place for a walk through the countryside. Or staying in town admire typical rural French architecture in this quaint village. There is an optional excursion to historic Angers and the famous Apocalypse tapestry, commissioned by Louis I, the Duke of Anjou. (B,L,D)

Day Six: Bouchemaine – Ancenis – Nantes
A highlight of our cruise today is an included excursion exploring the Loire Valley and its impressive chateaus. We visit the stunning Azay-le-Rideau chateau, a masterpiece of 16th-century architecture with all the refinement, elegance and grace of the glorious Renaissance era; and Usse Chateau, which is located at the edge of the dark and mysterious forest of Chinon, and fondly known as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. We get to explore the formal style renaissance gardens at Chateau de Villandry which are laid out in colourful geometric patterns full of shrubs, flowers and fruit trees. Later we rejoin the ship in Ancenis. Enjoy a gala dinner this evening and we sail overnight back to our last port of call at Nantes. (B,L,D)

Day Seven: Disembark in Nantes and travel to Paris
We travel to the French capital, Paris, for a two night stay in a carefully selected minimum 3 star standard hotel including dinner and breakfast. (B,D)

Day Eight: Paris
Spend the day at leisure in Paris. It’s hard to know where to begin when suggesting attractions in this fabulous city. From the glamorous Champs Elysees lined with exclusive designer shops; the spectacular Eiffel Tower; the grandiose Arc de Triomphe; the Louvre Art Gallery with its controversial glass pyramid; the striking Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cite and Montmartre, with the white domes of Sacre Coeur. (B,D)

Day Nine: Paris to the UK
Today we leave Paris by coach and travel back to the UK via Calais. (B)

Extras included on this holiday

Free Drinks on Board

FREE drinks on board including beer, fine wines, spirits, mineral bottled water, fruit juice, soft drinks, speciality coffees and teas  

MS Loire Princesse

Cruise on-board the innovative MS Loire Princesse. This marvellous vessel is a new concept in cruise ships, inspired by an ancient technique - the paddle wheel. Debuted with Shearings in 2015, the MS Loire Princesse became the first paddle boat cruise vessel with cabins to sail along the longest river in France, the Loire.

Boasting 48 spacious outside cabins, each equipped with the latest technology, including Wi-Fi on-board. Each of the MS Loire Princesse’s cabins also has individually-controlled air-conditioning, plasma screen TV, radio, hairdryer, safe and mini-bar.

On-board, you’ll enjoy the atmosphere of an international clientele, and you’ll find a splendid restaurant, a huge lounge bar with central dance floor and a large sun deck. This makes the ideal place to relax and enjoy the stunning views along the Loire River!

 

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Cabins


Ship Gallery

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The Local Area

Included Excursions

Chateaux of the Loire

On this excursion we will visit three of the Loire’s most beautiful castles. We go first to the chateau at Azay-le-Rideau, one of the region’s most famous, it sits on an island in the middle of the Indre river and is considered one of the foremost examples of French Renaissance architecture. We then visit Usse chateau which is built in a flamboyant gothic style and was the castle author Charles Perrault had in mind when writing Sleeping Beauty and one of the castles Walt Disney drew on hen creating the iconic Disney castle. Finally we visit Chateaux de Villandry famous for its beautiful gardens which were extensively repaired by owner Joachim Carvallo in the early 20th century.

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Optional Excursions

Paris Guided tour and Montparnasse Tower

Enjoy an introduction to the French capital on our included guided city tour. Along the way you will see the many iconic sights, such as the glamorous Champs Elysees, lined with its exclusive designer boutiques; the spectacular Eiffel Tower that dominates the cityscape; the grandiose Arc de Triomphe that connects twelve wide avenues; Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cite, and Montmartre, dominated by the white domes of the Sacre Coeur. Our tour concludes at Montparnasse Tower, the tallest building in Paris, which stands out above the surrounding landscape and offers views of everything in a 25 mile radius on a clear day. We’ll take a trip to the 56th floor observation deck, where we’ll be able to take in breath-taking views over Paris.

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Evening Illuminated Paris Tour

Discover Paris in the evening, when the city becomes even more magical. Admire the Eiffel Tower as it’s lit with countless lights, and marvel at the brightly-lit shop fronts along the Champs Elysees as we explore the city in the evening. 

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Angers Guided tour and Apocalypse Tapestry

Once the capital of the historical Anjou province, Angers is known for its rich cultural heritage, which we will be able to learn more about during our excursion today. Angers has fantastic Renaissance architecture to admire, and we will take in sights such as Anger’s Castle and La Doutre, one of the city’s most famous neighbourhoods.

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Muscadet Wine route and Clisson

The Muscadet region has a long history of wine-making, and our scenic drive through this splendid region will take in some of the most beautiful villages known to this area. We will make our way to La Chapelle Heulin, stopping at a local winery to take in the excellent vineyards here. We will also enjoy a wine tasting experience during our excursion.

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Nantes guided tour

Discover Nantes, famous for the beautiful Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, as we explore this wonderful city. Our guided visit will take in some of the city’s best sights, such as Feydeau Island, the Nantes Quays, the city’s shopping district and the Graslin Theatre. We also explore the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, and admire the Breton monument during our tour.

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River Erdre boat cruise

We make our way to the Bateaux Nantais dock, where we enjoy a cruise on the beautiful River Erdre. Once described by King Francis I as the ‘most beautiful river in France’, admire the rolling hills and charming landscape as we travel.

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