Friday 31 January 2014

Villandry in the Spring

We are often asked if it is worth visiting the world famous gardens of Villandry early in the year.

It's true they don't reach their peak until the summer, but the formal structure of the garden means that there is still something to see earlier in the year. The photo above was taken in late March, just as the first of the seedling vegetables for the potager were being planted out, and the tulips were up in the Garden of Love, but not yet flowering. It's still quite an impressive garden, even if the green of the clipped box is not set off by a myriad of cleverly arranged bedding plants. As gardeners like to say, it has good 'bones'.

Obviously we won't spend as much time in the garden as we would in the summer. There isn't as much detail to take in, and some of the garden is not open to the public in the early spring. But we have that covered. Because we know this area well, we offer a short visit to the gardens, together with visits to other, less well known sites. It could be to a local artisan, or a medieval church with a fabulous interior, or even a remarkable 2000 year old Roman monument. On a typical tour we will also visit one other major chateau and a winery.

If you like the idea of being able to tap into our local knowledge to get the best out of the Loire Valley at any time of year, please email us and we will design a tour that works with the local conditions for you.

Saturday 11 January 2014

Célestine and Friends on Facebook

One of our tour vehicles, the stylish and elegant Célestine, has a Facebook account. We take a photo of all of her new friends with her somewhere along the route of their tour with us so it can be posted on Célestine's Facebook photo album.
If you would like to be seen with Célestine, email us and book a tour of the Loire Valley.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Visiting Wineries in the Loire Valley

We choose the wineries we visit very carefully. Naturally the first consideration is the quality of the wine, but for most people there is more to a winery visit than just the wine. We go to small estates where we can meet the winemaker. Usually we spend some time looking at the winemaking facility with the winemaker explaining the process and his/her philosophy, then repair to the tasting room to try a range of wine produced on the estate.
A typical example of the type of winery we visit is run by a personable young winemaker who has an inspiring story to tell of how he came to be making wine on the family estate. He has worked outside of France and came back determined to make wine at home and fulfill his dream. He is articulate, friendly and passionate, and it is his personality that makes the visit such a success, as much as the quality of his excellent wines.

If you would like to meet impressive young winemakers or those with years of experience behind them, all with a passion for producing the best wine they possibly can, email us and we will design an itinerary that includes at least one winery.