Sunday, 27 November 2016

Visit One of France's Favourite Villages


Every year the French television channel France 2 holds a competition to find the favourite village in France. Villages are nominated and featured during the series as it airs throughout the year. A viewer poll is held and the winners announced at the end.

This year the village of Candes-Saint-Martin, in the Loire Valley, came third. Last year another village in the area, Montrésor, came second. We love them both and regularly take clients to both. Just strolling around the picturesque streets is a treat.

 The elegant porch of the church in Candes-Saint-Martin, 
where you can see one of the very few contemporary portraits of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Candes-Saint-Martin fits in well for a day visiting the Abbey of Fontevraud and the Chateau-Fortress of Chinon. If you are a fan of Eleanor of Aquitaine this could be the perfect day for you.

Montrésor is a charming village that is well off the beaten track, with a beautiful late medieval church with rare original stained glass and a privately owned chateau from the same period that on the inside is like a time capsule of 19th century aristocratic life in the time of Napoleon III.

If you would like to see small French villages and quirky out of the way sites, email us and we will design a tour for you, so that you see the places others don't get to.

For other tour ideas, visit our website or click on the tabs at the top of the blog.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Why Book Early??

There are a number of reasons why booking your tour early is a good idea.

We are a small company, just myself as driver and Susan as guide. This means that once we have accepted a booking for a date there is no more possibility of taking another tour the same day. There are a couple of weeks that are really popular with people visiting the Loire Valley - for instance, this year we had one weekend in September we could have sold four times over, and next year that weekend is booked already. In previous years May has been really popular, and we have had to disappoint people wanting to book at the last minute.


Another reason is that we need to ensure that at least one of our cars is ready to go at all times: being over 60 years old, both Célestine and Claudette need more attention than most. This means we have to schedule regular maintenance - if we are at a busy time of year this could mean that at least once a month one of the cars will need an oil change, greasing and a health check.

Booking early helps us to plan your perfect tour - we like our visitors to make suggestions about where they want to visit, and be involved in the planning. Of course, we will book the restaurants and plot the route, but we need time to make reservations (especially if we are visiting a popular restaurant) or research a restaurant if the location is new to us.

So - book early, and relax in the knowledge that your trip is being planned to give you a relaxing day discovering the treasures of the Loire Valley.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

It's Wine Making Time!

In October when we visit wineries in the Loire they are very busy. The harvest is happening, and the winemaking is beginning for another vintage. Because we have forged excellent relationships with several wineries in the region, our clients are allowed in to see the magical transformation of the grape juice into wine taking place, and the winemaker is available to answer any questions you may have.

In the picture below, thewinemaker is checking the grapes as they are being gently pressed to release the juice that will make award winning wine. The underground cellar he is working in has been used for storing and making wine since the 17th century, and the cave has sections which date back to the 10th century. The variety of grape they are using here has been grown in this area since the 4th century.



If you visit at the right time, we may be able to sample the wine in its early stages of development, and gain an insight into which wines will be good for each vintage. If you would like to learn more about winemaking at a traditional family run vineyard in the Loire Valley, email us.