Wednesday 26 December 2018

Where to Find the Best Chocolate Eclair in the Loire Valley

Our clients like to experience the best France has to offer. We often see on travel forums questions relating to where to find good baked goods. Luckily for us, on one of our regular tours we can now visit the home of the officially designated 'Best Chocolate Eclair in the Loire Valley'. Our clients are in for a treat!

The prize-winning éclairs, surrounded by some equally tasty friends.
Explore the pastries of the Loire Vlley with Loire Valley Time Travel

If you love French pastries let us know and we will create a tour that includes this bakery. You can email us or use our contact form to get in touch. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

The Real French Cuisine

France is famous for it's cuisine -- so much so that it is UNESCO World Heritage Listed. Outside of France everyone thinks of elaborate and elegantly presented meals in Michelin Starred establishments. But French cuisine is much more than that. There is a solid and ongoing tradition of peasant food, designed to make use of every available resource. Nose to tail eating in France is alive and well. Our clients may be grossed out by the sight of offal at the butchers and on the menu, but it's an important part of what experiencing France is about. We would encourage (but not force) clients to try something new.

A typical November display in a butchers window in the Loire Valley.
November is offal month in France

If you aren't squeamish and would like to learn more about French country cooking, take a tour with us in November, officially designated 'Offal Month' in France. You can email or use our contact form and we will design a tour for you that includes talking to a specialist offal butcher at one of the best farmers markets in the Loire Valley.

Saturday 8 December 2018

The Mysterious Graffiti of the Loire Valley

The tuffeau limestone that is such a feature of the Loire Valley is very soft. Almost all the buildings are made of it, and a great many of them have grafitti. You don't need much to make your mark -- a pocket knife, a nail or maybe just a shard of pottery. Of course, if you carve your initials in a building today, that's vandalism. But if you left a message decades or centuries ago, that's all part of the Loire Valley's rich history.

What happened here in 1940?

If you are intrigued by the many mysteries these graffiti hint at, email us or use our contact form. We will devise a custom tour that allows you to test your puzzle solving skills and introduces you to some history you may not be familiar with.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Goats Cheese in the Loire Valley

Many of our clients are cheese lovers and we are delighted to visit our favourite cheese producer with them. At the fromagerie they get to taste several different cheeses, ranging from squidgy mould covered cheeses that look a bit scary but actually taste great, to fresh young cheeses that have a flavour so delicate you can hardly believe it isn't still untransformed milk.
On your tour of the Loire Valley learn how goat's cheese is made and matured

If you would like to taste some Loire Valley goats cheese, email us or use our contact form and let us create your perfect tour.

Sunday 18 November 2018

An Exceptional Vintage in the Loire Valley

The grape harvest is in and the wine has nearly finished fermenting. Everything points to 2018 being an exceptional vintage in the Loire Valley.

On your tour of the Loire Valley learn how wine is made and vintaged

If you would like to be amongst the first to taste this vintage, book a tour with us during 2019. You can email or use our contact form.

Thursday 8 November 2018

Chateau Cats in the Loire Valley

Many of our clients are cat lovers and are thrilled to discover that several of the really famous chateaux in the Loire Valley have resident cats. At Chenonceau you might meet Noisette, the ginger cat who likes to hang out at the entrance. Villandry has Felix, a handsome black and white cat who wanders at will throughout the garden and is often photographed by the visitors. And sometimes we are joined for lunch by a friendly cat (although it will be tempted away by the waiters if you don't appreciate its company).

Luckily this client liked cats.

If you would enjoy meeting cats in the countryside and gardens of the Loire Valley let us know. You can book a customised tour by sending us an email or use our contact form.

Monday 29 October 2018

Modern Art in the Loire Valley

Many of our clients are art lovers. They enjoy seeing Old Masters on the walls of the chateaux but they don't expect to see modern art. Nevertheless, a number of internationally known artists lived and worked in the Loire Valley in the 20th century and their work is on display in some surprising places.

An Alexander Calder stabile in a village market square.

If you are intrigued by the lives of modern artists as much as peers from four or five hundred years ago, let us design a tour for you. Send us an email or use our contact form to arrange your custom tour.

Friday 19 October 2018

Lesser Known Heritage in the Loire Valley

The French have an expression -- petit patrimoine. It translates literally as 'small heritage' and refers lesser known, local history. The Loire Valley is full of this lesser known local history as well as the big name chateaux. For example, did you know that the Eiffel engineering company built several charming footbridges in the area? Visiting France isn't all about visiting Paris and places like the Eiffel Tower, so come to the Loire Valley and see magnificent chateaux, but also hidden provincial gems.

If you want to see the heritage tucked away in little villages you need to know where it is and what it is. That's where we come in. You can book a tour with us and we can include one or two delightful sites that you would never otherwise find. Send us an email or use our contact form and ask us.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Visiting Villandry

When Joachim Carvallo bought the Villandry estate in 1906 his main objective was to save the building. It was only later, after restoring the chateau to a habitable level that he considered the garden. Faced with a pleasant but fairly ordinary 'English park' style garden he started thinking about the possibility of doing something quite different.

Villandry Chateau has one of the most famous gardens in France. Tour the Loire Valley with Loire Valley Time Travel

The resulting garden is something extra-ordinary, deservedly the most famous garden in France. Domestic potagers are everywhere in France, supplying fruit, vegetables and flowers to almost every rural family in the country,  butVillandry has created a benchmark for the style outside of France. When visitors think of potagers, what they are really thinking of is Villandry.

If you would like to see for yourself this wonderful and inspiring garden, email us or use our contact form. and we will gladly include it in your itinerary.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Market Shopping

One of the highlights of many people's visit to France is a visit with us to one of the best traditional produce markets in the Touraine Loire Valley. Fruit, vegetable and mushroom growers, fishmongers, butchers (some of them specialists in pork products or horse or even offal!), poulterers, apiarists, cheesemakers and bakers all have stalls to sell their locally grown produce. It's lively and full of locals, the stalls are laid out with appetising and tempting displays of fresh food.

If you would like to soak up the atmosphere at a typical rural farmers' market in the Touraine Loire Valley email us or use our contact form. and we will design a tour for you that includes a visit to Loches market (Wednesdays and Saturdays only).

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Travelling Quiet Loire Valley Roads

Imagine travelling along quiet country roads, through forests and villages in the Loire Valley. This is exactly the sort of tour we like to offer with our classic cars and intimate knowledge of all the most picturesque sites.

Explore the quite road of the Loire Valley on your tour with Loire Valley Time Travel

If you like to truly get off the beaten track email us or use our contact form to book a day of old fashioned motoring through the countryside.

Sunday 19 August 2018

Local Delicacies in the Loire Valley

One of our most popular tours is one that we offer on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It begins with a visit to Loches market, where you will find many small local producers and artisans offering food that is grown or made in the Loire Valley. The most famous and traditional of the local delicacies are the goats cheeses like the log shaped Sainte Maure de Touraine or the disc shaped Selles sur Cher, and the slow cooked pork paste known as rillettes. But we can introduce you to people offering organic nut butters, beers, unusual terrines and patés, and even pasta in shapes that reflect the activities of the farmer who makes it.

If you like to buy one or two local delicacies to take home to your friends and family (or even to keep for yourself!) email us or use our contact form to book a tour that includes a visit to one of the best markets in the Loire Valley.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Troglodyte Caves in the Loire Valley

Many of our clients have heard about the many troglodyte caves in the Loire Valley and are intrigued by them.

See the inhabited caves of the Loire Valley with

If you would like a tour that includes going underground, into one of these caves, and discovering what they are all about, send us an email or use our contact form.

Monday 30 July 2018

Farming in the Loire Valley

Many of our clients live in farming areas or have a family farming background. Naturally they are curious about what type of crops are grown in the Loire Valley. We too come from a farming background and have many friends in the agricultural sector in France. We love to talk about farming in the Loire Valley, in as much detail as our clients require. They are often surprised to learn, for example, that central France is the largest cereal producing area in Western Europe and that agriculture, not tourism is the biggest industry in the Loire Valley.

If you would like to learn about more than just history when you visit the Loire Valley, and especially if you have an interest in farming, email us or use our contact form to get in touch. We'll design a tour that takes us through rolling countryside between chateaux and villages. Along the way we can show you the rural way of life in the area.

Friday 20 July 2018

Heritage Building Sites

Heritage buildings take a lot of maintaining. There is often scaffolding on old buildings, erected so that masons can check the health of the walls and make repairs as necessary. We don't think of scaffolding as something that is going to ruin your holiday photos. Because we've worked with heritage buildings conservation professionals for many years we see a site with scaffolding as an opportunity to show our clients a bit of behind the scenes work. Architects, masons and curators are always delighted if we take an interest in their work and happy to chat with clients.

On your tour of the Loire Valley you will have a guide knowledgable in historic conservation

If you like to do more than just skim the surface when you visit a historic chateau or church, send us an email or use our contact form to tell us you would like to book a tour that shows you not just the history of these wonderful buildings but how they are cared for in our own times.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Opera at the Chateau

You really never know what you are going to encounter on a Loire Valley chateau visit. Some of them put on shows in the evening and if you are lucky you can catch the rehearsals. Opera rehearsals at the chateau of Amboise are particularly good.

If you like to be surprised when visiting famous chateaux and see something more than just historic interiors, email us or use our contact form to book a tour.

Saturday 30 June 2018

Touring France in a Classic Car

Sometimes we are not the only ones touring the Loire Valley in our classic car. There are lots of French classic car clubs and it's always fun when we encounter them on an outing to a chateau.

On all of our tours of the Loire Valley we use classic 1950s Citroen Traction Avant cars

If you like French classic cars, French chateaux and French wine, book a tour with us via email or use our contact form. The local classic car owners will be delighted to meet you and share their enthusiasm with a fellow classic tourer.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

French Radishes Galore

Is this the biggest stack of radishes you've ever seen? It was photographed at the Wednesday market in Loches, and according to Fabrice, who grew them on his farm near the Chateau of Villandry, this is nothing compared to the pile he puts out for the Saturday market.

If you like fresh traditional French produce like these radishes (and those strawberries on the right!)  email or use our contact form and book a tour that includes a market and a great restaurant for lunch that serves produce from the market.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Fresh Market Produce in the Loire Valley

Many of the restaurants in the Loire Valley pride themselves on their use of fresh local produce. Proof of this, if any is needed, is in this photo of a market stall holder delivering boxes of vegetables to a restaurant in Loches. There is both green and white asparagus, aubergines, cave grown mushrooms, fines herbes and other delicious seasonal treats that will be skillfully prepared by the team in the kitchen.

If you enjoy a good lunch made from fresh ingredients grown in the Loire Valley why not send us an email or use our contact form to book a tour. Lunch in a carefully chosen restaurant is included in the price of all our standard full day tours in a classic cars.

Thursday 10 May 2018

History and Botany in the Loire Valley

Did you know that the famous symbol of French royalty, the fleur de lys, is based on a real flower? It grows abundantly in the Loire Valley, along the many watercourses in the area. It is one of our most iconic wild flowers, mentioned in literature and painted many times.

Yellow Iris (aka fleur de lys) growing in a village stream in the Loire Valley.

If you love nature and gardens as much as history, why not email or use our contact form and book a tour. We are botany and history enthusiasts too.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Sunday 1 April 2018

New Wine Partner

For years we've had to say to clients that we can't offer them a wine tasting on Sundays. This is because the local winemakers don't see themselves as tourist attractions, and Sunday is their only day off. They tend to spend it with their families. We do use independent wine merchants too, but they are very small businesses and also close on Sundays rather than try to juggle staff time within a very small team.

Summer Jauneaud is waiting to welcome you to La Cave.

Happily, well known local winemaker and restaurateur Fréd Plou has acquired La Cave Amboise. This charming boutique is situated right opposite the exit to the Chateau Royal in Amboise -- and they are open on Sundays for tastings. So if you email us (or use our contact form) to get in touch with us and ask for a tour on a Sunday, we can round off the day just like any other tour, with a special tasting of local wines.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Maintaining Classic Electrics

Our clients often ask if it is difficult or expensive to maintain Célestine and Claudette, the classic Citroën Traction Avant cars that we use as tour vehicles. It's important that we keep on top of maintenance issues and late last year we realised that Célestine's electrics needed work. Luckily, we have a company who specialise in classic car electrics almost on our doorstep and so she was booked in recently for the necessary overhaul.

Baptiste from Classic Auto Elec explaining to Simon the work they've done.

If you would like to experience old fashioned touring in a classic car in the Loire Valley, please email us or use our contact form. We would be delighted to design a tour for you (and lift the bonnet to show you Célestine's lovely new electrics if that's what floats your boat!)

Wednesday 28 February 2018

When Do You Eat Cheese in France?

In the Loire Valley most people eat some cheese every day. All the local cheeses are made from goats milk and that's what people will mostly eat, but they don't restrict themselves to just the local cheese. Hard mountain cheeses are popular, as are the stinky northern cheeses. Most restaurants offer a cheese course with a small selection of carefully chosen cheeses. Cheese is served, usually with a green salad and a glass of local red wine, and slices of baguette, after the main course and before dessert. It is never served with pre-dinner drinks.

The cheese course at a village community lunch.
Loire Valley Time Travel can introduce to artisanal goat cheese producers

If you love cheese and want to experience it the way the French serve it, email or use our contact form. and we will include a restaurant that offers a good cheese board in your tour.

Sunday 18 February 2018

French Charcuterie

Charcuterie is cured meat and in France it is usually pork. Charcutieres can be either artisanal or industrial, and many small towns in the Loire Valley have an artisan charcuterie. Certain products are specialities of the area, such as rillettes (pulled pork paste) and rillons (slow cooked pork belly). Others, such as boudins (blanc or noir), garlic sausage, saucisson (dry cured sausage) and hams, are widely made and available everywhere.

A typical working man's plate of charcuterie.

The local French love charcuterie and in working men's restaurants it features heavily on the lunchtime buffet. If you like eating as the locals do and want to try some local cured meat, email or use our contact form. and we will include a restaurant that does a great range of charcuterie in your tour.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Good Value Wine

Now that the New York Times has announced its 2018 list of the 20 best wines for under $20, a secret previously only known to a few wine writers and all of us who live in the Loire Valley has been revealed. Loire Valley wines are great value for money, being very affordable and punching above their weight in terms of quality. Four of the wines on the NYT list are from the Loire Valley.

Our clients enjoy tasting prize winning wine that retails in the US for about $18.

If you love good wine and good value, email or use our contact form. and let us design a tour that includes some of our favourite Loire Valley wineries.

Monday 29 January 2018

A Good Restaurant is Rewarded

The new BIB Gourmande Michelin Guide is out and we are very pleased to see that one of our favourite restaurants is newly listed. Many congratulations to Armelle and Julien at Le Clos aux Roses. A much deserved accolade.

If you like fine food and restaurants with a warm and convivial atmosphere, maybe it's time to email
or use our contact form. and book a tour. All the restaurants we use are very carefully chosen for their food and friendliness. Le Clos aux Roses is just one of them.