All 2016 tours booked and paid for in full before 31st March 2016 at 2015 prices

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Catching the Train at Montparnasse

If coming to the Loire Valley for a short break it makes perfect sense to come to us using the French train system, more particularly the very fast train (TGV). This train travels from Paris Montparnasse to St Pierre des Corps (the main station for Tours) at 300km/h (186mph) and takes about an hour to do the trip.

We can't book your rail tickets for you, but we will give you a handy guide to make the process easy. If you book early enough, the tickets can cost less than €20 per person each way.

Once you have your tickets (and we really can recommend the print at home variety) there is just the matter of the station to negociate. Paris Montparnasse is a big station, served by 4 differnt metro lines. If you arrive by Metro ligne  6 or Line 13, you are very close to the mainline station. Metro Ligne 4 and Ligne 12 are slighly further away, but served by a moving walkway.

Whichever metro you arrive at, follow the signs to "Trains Grande Lignes" (they look like this) to Halls 1&2. Your train will be shown on the departures board, and 20 minutes before departure the platform number will be shown. Customarily the trains to Saint Pierre des Corps leave from the eastern end of the grand hall (left hand side as you look at the trains).

If you have tickets you have collected at a station or SNCF boutique or have had posted to you, they need to be "composted" - not what you think, this machine stamps the date, time and station name on the ticket.

If you have print at home tickets all you need to is find your seats - the car number is shown on a display by the side of each door, and seats - the number is shown on the top of the divider between each pair of seats. Settle down, and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Planning to Watch the Tour de France

Watching the Tour de France is one of the great sporting spectator events in the world. Where else can you get so close to international sportsmen without any sort of barrier between you and them? The problem is knowing where to station yourself on the day. The Tour route is announced a few months before the event, but you need local knowledge to get yourself to that perfect spot.

One of the advantages of rolling up to an event like this in an iconic French classic car is that everyone is happy to see you and you get to park just about anywhere you like. In 2013 we managed to park in front of the cellar gate of the chateau de Montrésor. This allowed us to picnic on a grassy slope overlooking the race route and we had a choice of whether we were in the sun or the shade. Montrésor is a small but very pretty village, but there was not a great crush of spectators, just a nice friendly atmosphere.

If you want to use our local knowledge to get the best out of your visit in July when the Tour goes through, or any other month of the year, just email us and tell us what you are interested in. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Travelling with Wine

Earlier this year we were contacted by Lazenne. They wanted to alert us to their existence and their products, which they felt would be a good fit for us and our clients. They supply packaging and specialist luggage for transporting wine if you are a private traveller. Amazingly products like this didn't really exist in France before. Recently we met the young couple who spotted the gap in the market and set up the business. Paul was born in Poland but grew up in Canada. He came to Lyon to study, met Bénédicte and never went home. Now they live in the Champagne-Ardenne and are working hard on expanding their business. We liked them and their products a lot. Although we don't think all our clients will use them we were certainly glad to know about them and we were immediately able to refer some clients to them. Bénédicte sent us the client's order, plus a polystyrene box for ourselves, and we can tell you that the client was very happy and Lazenne's service impeccable.

 An example of Lazenne's range of practical and smart wine luggage.
Many of our clients are worried about getting through customs with wine on their return home. Lazenne have written a handy instruction leaflet on how to do it. They point out it is perfectly possible to bring home several boxes of wine for personal consumption, and often worth it if you want some great value souvenirs of your trip. If you would like us to take delivery of some wine luggage or packaging prior to your Touraine Loire Valley tour email us and let us know.