Thursday 28 December 2017

The New Year is Almost Here

It's winter in the Loire Valley, so the team are spending their time gearing up for spring and the start of the new season. We have taken the opportunity to visit family, and both cars are having minor work done, as well as the regular maintenance schedule which is so important to cars of their age.

This means that when it is time to emerge into early spring we will all do so, relaxed, but raring to go. If you want to explore the Loire Valley in 1950's style contact us now via email or use our contact form.

Sunday 22 October 2017

New for 2018: Tours for up to Ten People

Since 2015 we have been offering tours of the Loire Valley chateaux, winemakers, and food producers for groups of up to seven people using Célestine and Claudette, the Loire Valley Time Travel Citroen Traction Avant cars.

In 2018 we will be introducing tours for groups of up to 10 people, using three (almost) identical Traction Avants from the 1950's. Contact us now via email or use our contact form and ask about your group travelling in a classic 1950's convoy.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Prices unchanged for 2018

We have decided to keep the 2017 prices for all our tours for two people unchanged for 2018. This means that all the prices you see on the website and this blog will remain valid until the end of next year. Bookings for 2018 are already coming in, so email us or use our contact form to ask about touring the Loire Valley in 1950's style.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Say Cheese

Did you know that the Loire Valley is home to several famous AOP goats cheeses? Would you like to taste them and learn more about them? Book a tour with Loire Valley Time Travel and you can do just that!

Find out why the cheeses come in different shapes and how long they are aged. Learn what the coating on the outside of the cheeses is and what role organic rye straw plays in the production. Talk to cheese makers, affineurs and market stall holders about how much they make, where they buy it and where they sell it.

Email us or use our contact form to get more details.

Sunday 3 September 2017

A New Favorite!

One of the advantage of living in the Loire Valley is that we have time to discover new places to show our visitors. Some of them are amazing "why didn't we know about this earlier" places, and some are quiet little corners where time seems to have stopped.

Yesterday we visited a place I had seen in 19th century postcards, but never actually managed to find on the ground.

I can see it becoming a favorite diversion on our tour that visits Loches and Montresor. For more information email us or use our contact form

Wednesday 23 August 2017

The Sunflowers are Finished

The last two weeks of July and the start of August are the normal peak times for sunflowers in the Loire Valley. Sometimes the season is longer, but this year was warm enough for all the sunflowers to flower at their usual times and it was a spectacular show. Sometimes they last into late August, but not this year.

Not all is lost though. There will be sunflowers again next year, and if you want to see them with us and take some stunning photos, now is the time to book. Email us or use our contact form and ask us to find sunflowers in bloom for 2018.

Saturday 12 August 2017

Travel the White Roads in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley has its fair share of white roads. That is to say, unpaved local roads, made from crushed local limestone, which lead to all manner of local treasures. Because we know the area intimately, these narrow country roads off the main route can be included in your itinerary. Mind you, on a hot summer's day, they leave a coating of fine white dust on our lovely black classic cars!

One of our teenaged clients staking her claim on Célestine.
If you like to truly get off the beaten track, email us or contact us using our contact form, and let us design a tour just for you.

Saturday 5 August 2017

Want to Get Views Like This in the Loire Valley?

Do you like to get the best vantage point for your photo? Impossible to do if you are on a bus tour, but with a small private tour like ours, led by local residents, you can get some amazing shots. If you would like to visit the Loire Valley and go home with fabulous memories like this, email us or contact us using our contact form.

Saturday 29 July 2017

Wine and Chateaux in the Loire Valley

If you love wine and chateaux then the Loire Valley is the perfect destination. The old limestone buildings and the neat rows of vines on the river side slopes form an irrestistable picture of France.

If you would like to spend time in the peace and tranquillity of the Loire Valley then email us or contact us using our contact form. We would love to show you our favourite places.

Saturday 22 July 2017

Learn About Wine in the Loire Valley

We like to wind up a day's touring in the Loire Valley with a winery visit. We will usually have passed several wineries in the course of the day and by the end of your tour you will likely have picked a lot of new information about vineyards and winemaking. For example, if we passed a vineyard such as the one in the photo we would talk about what the grape variety is, what the soil type is, how old the vines are, why there are so many newly planted vines amongst the old ones and how this parcel of vines is managed.

If you would like to learn a bit more about winemaking in the Loire Valley email us or contact us using our contact form.

Saturday 15 July 2017

Short Stops in the Loire Valley

When you book a tour with us we will send you an itinerary which gives you a broad outline of how your day is going to be arranged. It gives you a good idea of how long we will spend at the 'big ticket' venues, but we are often not specific about the shorter stops we might make. This is because it allows us to be flexible on the day, so we can respond to what you tell us you are interested in, or we can stop opportunistically as we pass somewhere attractive. Sometimes rather than just a 'drive by' or at the other end of the scale a full guided visit we can do something in between. For example, here Susan is giving a brief history of the chateau of Chaumont from a lookout point on the other side of the river. We take 10 minutes to do so whilst on the way to Cheverny where we will do a full visit. Two chateau for the price of one!

If you would like to see more than you expected on a day trip to the Loire Valley, email us or contact us using our contact form.

Saturday 8 July 2017

Hidden Histories

With Loire Valley Time Travel, because our tours are small and private, you get to see small intimate spaces as well as the grand famous ones. A good example of this are the mushroom growing caves we visit. The caves are a real labyrinth and can only be visited with someone very familiar with the underground galleries. The caves are really a former quarry, the source of the beautiful limestone in the nearby chateau of Chenonceau. There are lots of secret corridors, changes of level and spy holes. And some mysterious paintings on the wall of one of the underground rooms.

If you would like to see little known sites such as this which are nonetheless packed with history, email us or send us a message on our contact form and we will include the mushroom caves or another intriguing site on your itinerary.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Tulip Mania

Many of the Loire Valley chateaux have beautiful grounds and gardens. In spring several of them have magnificent displays of tulips. At Chenonceau, pictured here, the tulips are grown in the kitchen and cutting garden created by Diane de Poitiers. The flowers from here feature in the awe inspiring floral arrangements that adorn the interior of the chateau in every room.

If you love flowers and will be here in the spring, email us or send us a message on our contact form and ask us to design a tour that includes some of the wonderful gardens in the Loire Valley.

Saturday 24 June 2017

Christmas at Chenonceau

The Chateau of Chenonceau is always beautifully presented, but at Christmas time they really pull out all the stops. The floral arrangements in every room get sparklier and are joined by Christmas trees and other seasonal foliage.

If you are visiting the Loire Valley in December and early January why not book a walking tour with Susan at the most splendid chateau of them all. Learn history in the most glorious surroundings, and as a bonus you will see for yourself how wonderful the decorations and floral arrangements are. Email us or contact us using our contact form to check available dates and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions or would like a tour tailored to your particular interests or situation.

Saturday 17 June 2017

It's Not All About the Chateaux

The Loire Valley is famous for its Renaissance chateaux, and rightly so. But lovers of modern art history can find plenty to thrill them here too. For example, the 20th century sculptors Alexander Calder and Max Ernst lived and worked here for many years. Works by both of them are dotted about in the towns and villages and visitors are astounded at the level of respect these sculptures receive.

If you love modern art as much as the more distant past, email us or send us a message on our contact form and we will be delighted to include some 20th century masterpieces on your customised itinerary.

Saturday 10 June 2017

Saving Local Heritage

At Loire Valley Time Travel we don't just expect heritage sites to be maintained for the benefit of our clients. We are actively involved in saving local heritage. At the moment we are working with our local history society to raise the funds to conserve the Chapel of All Saints in the village where we live.

At the request of several expat contacts we organised a site visit for English speaking medieval history enthusiasts. We asked Jean-Philippe Barthel, the architect who is leading the restoration project for the chapel to come down from Blois to explain the work planned and explain why this obscure chapel in a rural village is important. He was delighted to do so, donating his time, and those who joined us on the visit were absolutely enchanted by this small delapidated building. Susan provided translation services and hopefully this outreach will result in the chapel being more widely appreciated and perhaps some more badly needed funds. We were happy to take the initiative and organise the event and will be following the work closely.

If you would like to join a pair of passionate local historians and gain insights into the Loire Valley that you just won't get elsewhere, email us or send us a message on our contact form and book a tour.

Saturday 3 June 2017

Karaoke at the Chateau

Because we specialise in small group tours we go to places the big groups don't. These are often owned by marvellous characters who are as much worth visiting as the places they live in. For example, earlier this year we visited the little known chateau of Montrésor. The owner is an ebullient eccentric who loves inviting people to visit his family's unique chateau, a time capsule from the middle of the 19th century stuffed with art treasures.

 DJ for a day. The owner of the Chateau spinning disks

When we got there the owner and our very outgoing Texan clients got talking about Frank Sinatra, a singer they all adored. The owner of the chateau insisted on putting on one of his favourite Sinatra records and playing full blast out the window! Our clients immediately went into karaoke mode!! And much laughter and fun ensued. They've had a visit they will never forget.

Our clients waving to the chateau own whilst dancing

If you would like a personalised visit to the Loire Valley, with the chance of meeting some kind and wonderful locals who love to make your visit special, email us or contact us using our contact form. We will plan a tour just for you.

Saturday 27 May 2017

Taking Part in Local Events

Whenever we can we participate in local classic car events. The French Federation of Classic Vehicles organises an annual 'Use Your Classic Car' event and this year it was in Blois. We invited our friends Rosemary and Jean-Michel to join us on the event and they did us proud with their authentic costumes.

After joining hundreds of other classic cars in the centre of Blois, we went to lunch then drove around town to display the vehicles. The crowd of spectators was substantial and we were delighted to contribute to their May Day weekend.

Because we are embedded in the local social scene, we can offer an experience that is personalised and special. If you would like to join us for a special day out, email us or contact us using our contact form and tell us when you will be here and what you would like to see.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Random Encounters in the Loire Valley

You never know who you might encounter when you tour with us. Because our tours are small and flexible, if we come across something interesting we can stop. Earlier this year, one lucky family got to meet some friendly mounted huntsmen in the forest. They were waiting for the action to start and we were just passing, so we stopped for a chat and photographs

If you would like the chance of encountering something surprising in your tour, email us or contact us using our contact form and book a tour.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Another Special Day

Because we are a small company specialising in a small area of France we can create a tailor made tour to suit your interests. Many of our clients take the opportunity to take a specialised wine tour or concentrate on gardens.

But if it's your first time in the Loire Valley we understand that you want to see the famous places that you have seen on TV or read about in books, so we also have a couple of prêt à prendre ('ready to take') tours. The most popular of these are our Cheverny and Chenonceau tour and the Loches and Chenonceau tour as shown on our website.

So whatever your want to do - visit the famous places, or get off the beaten track - email us or contact us using our contact form and we will create a special tour for you.

Saturday 13 May 2017

Time for Another Photo?

There are some times that are set in stone: we will be at your hotel (or meeting your train) when we say we will, and we will get you back to your train in time so that it's not all a rush. And in France, lunchtime is sacrosanct. Apart from that we can be flexible about how much time we spend at the various chateaux and wineries we might visit on your tour.

This means that if you see something you would like to photograph all you need do is ask, and we will stop the car when it's safe, and if necessary go back for a better view. As long as it doesn't make you late for your train back to Paris there is always time for another photo.

If you would like to spend time with us in the Loire Valley and take photos that will bring great memories flooding back email us or contact us using our contact form to book a tour that give you time to do what you want to do.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

We're in the Movies!

When we made the decision to use classic cars for our business we had no idea that they would become well known personalities in their own right.

We don't take Claudette and Celestine out every day, but when we do they are much appreciated - many of the locals know the cars and wave when we pass, and when we are on the road other drivers will flash their headlamps in appreciation, pedestrians will stop and watch us pass, and when we park people are always asking if they can take a photo.

We were asked by a friend if he could film us using his drone, and this is the result. It's not a long movie, but we hope it gives a flavour of one of our days exploring the beautiful Loire Valley.

If you would like to explore with us, email us or contact us using our contact form.

Saturday 6 May 2017

Visiting Lesser Known Loire Valley Chateaux

We can take you to chateau you might never have heard of, but which are nonetheless fascinating. Because we accompany you on the visit we can tell you the stories of these places and you have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you like.

One of the nice things about visiting lesser known chateaux is that we might even have the place to ourselves. If you like to go off the beaten track and learn forgotten histories email us or contact us using our contact form and let us design a tour for you.

Saturday 29 April 2017

Putting the Chat into the Chateau

If you are the sort of visitor who loves to trawl the museum gift shop when you leave, you might get quite a surprise at the chateau of Chenonceau. Tucked away amongst the scarves, soaps and tapestry cushion covers, you might find the resident cat curled up. He'll be out on a sunny windowsill somewhere if the weather is good, but if it is cold and wet, chances are you'll find him snoozing somewhere comfy in the shop.

So if you like souvenir shopping and are not allergic to cat hair, we are happy to give you some retail time after your chateau visit. Email us or contact us using our contact form and let us know which chateau you would like to visit in the Loire Valley. We would be delighted to design a tour just for you.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Wisteria Time

This photo was taken in May last year in a small village between the town of Loches and the most famous of the Loire chateau, Chenonceau. Chédigny is most famous for its roses and has a very popular rose festival, but the wisterias and lilacs peak before the roses have really got underway. We visit the village so often with our cars that we are treated almost as residents, which means we can drive along the road shown in the photo, something most visitors do not get the chance to do.

Chedigny can be visited as part of our Loches-Chenonceau tour (the first tour on this page). Email us or contact us using our contact form to book a tour that takes you places many other people never get to see

Monday 17 April 2017

Join in Local Loire Valley Traditions

When we design a tour for our clients we try to give them the most authentic local experience possible. We take them to restaurants the tourists don't find and surround them with ordinary French folk getting on with their lunch on an ordinary working day. 

France has lots of culinary and dining traditions. Restaurants such as the ones we use are ideal for being right in the thick of them. These two medical students from Wyoming were here in January and the dessert of the day was galette des rois (kings cake). They were the lucky recipients of the slices of galette with the feve (token) inside. That meant that they were crowned queens for the day by the restaurant owner. Of course, we made sure they learned the history of this little ceremony and they were made to feel most welcome by all the locals. There was much laughter and conviviality, all part of our tour experience.

If you would like to engage with the locals like this, email us or contact us using our contact form and let us know when you would like to book your tour.

Friday 17 March 2017

Private Guide for Groups in the Loire Valley

At Loire Valley Time Travel most of our clients book us for a private tour in our classic 1950s Citroen cars, Celestine and Claudette. Using classic cars limits our group size to a maximum of seven people.

So what do you do if your group is bigger than seven but you still want a guide? Luckily, in the last couple of years, Susan has started working with bigger groups. She can join you on your bus for a day or two of touring, or meet you for a half day walking tour. She will also help you with advice about where to visit, where to stay and where to eat and try to answer any other questions you may have. If your group has a particular focus, we can tailor the tour with that in mind. The group above were medical students visiting in January and Susan designed her presentation to highlight medical subjects throughout their visit to Chenonceau (you'd be amazed how much medical history is associated with the chateau!).

If you are organising a group visit to the Loire Valley, email us and tell us what you would like to do. We would be delighted to work with you to create the perfect tour (and remember, it needn't just be limited to chateaux).

Friday 17 February 2017

Dramatic Decorations at Chenonceau

Over the Christmas and New Year period the Chateau of Chenonceau added to its fairytale image by installing the most dramatic and dazzling seasonal decorations. Already reknowned for its constantly changing floral decoration, they put on an even more breathtaking display at Christmas time.

Why not book a tour with us and see it for yourself? Email us and let us know what you are interested in. We would be delighted to custom design a tour for you, and we are always keen to include something special like the Christmas decorations at Chenonceau.

Tuesday 31 January 2017

One for the Car Lovers

We use classic cars for all of our tours. Célestine and Claudette are 1950's Citroën Traction Avants (you can read more about them here) and they are very popular cars on the road - people wave and flash their lights, and we have been in many conversations in various car-parks.

When we are out and about we often meet other classic cars or motorbikes, but that can't be guaranteed.
However, if you're really into old cars, a time to visit may be the end of April. The Loire Valley is one of the most popular places to use an older car (the roads are good quality and quiet, the scenery is excellent, and there are no steep hills) and I suspect that it will be a popular place for people to bring their cars on the new "National Day for Old Cars" on the 30th April.

If you want to spend a day in a classic car with the possibilty of seeing other cars, email us and we will investigate what events are happening in the area. We will combine that with a visit to a chateau or two for the perfect car lover's history day out.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Some 2017 Dates for your Diary

If you are thinking of visiting France this year there are some dates you might like to write into your calendar. This year many of the movable holidays make a long weekend, and these may be good dates to avoid visiting the busiest of chateaux.

Monday 17 April Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques)
Monday 1 May Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)
8 May WWII Victory Day
(Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)
Friday 14 July Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
Tuesday 15 August Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Wednesday 1 November All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
Saturday 11 November Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
Monday 25 December Christmas Day (Noël)

Why not book a holiday in the Touraine and visit a small French town for Bastille Day with us? There may not be military parades, but there will be a flaming torch lit procession around town behind a band, then fireworks and a dance, lasting late into the night.

Email us, and we will help you plan a week or weekend with us in the beautiful south Touraine.