Monday, 22 July 2019

Who Needs Sunflowers in the Loire Valley?


The sunflowers are a big attraction for many of our travellers, but don't be too disappointed if you miss them. The wild flowers in the Loire Valley can be stunning too. Check out these ox-eye daisies in profusion. We could also see vast swathes of poppies, and wherever we can, we will stop for photos. You couldn't do that on a bus tour.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Truffles in the Loire Valley


January is peak season in the Loire Valley for black truffles. They start appearing in late November, through to late February, but according to our local contacts, January is when the best quality is available. The price is around €1000/kg to members of the public at the specialist truffle markets. Along with truffles you can buy all sorts of other gourmet products at these special seasonal markets.

Tuber melanosporum photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

New Garden at Chenonceau


The Loire Valley chateaux are not stuck in a timewarp. They evolve all the time. New at the Chateau of Chenonceau is a whimsical new garden, created by their Head of Botanics as a tribute to the British garden designer Russell Page. The garden is partly based on drawings done by page for the Menier family, who have owned Chenonceau since 1913. Garden lovers all know about the famous potager at Villandry in the Loire Valley, but anyone who has visited agrees that the grounds of Chenonceau contain some very lovely gardens too.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

500 Years of Gardening at the Chateau of Chenonceau


The kitchen and cutting garden at the Chateau of Chenonceau was originally established by Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henri II of France. It has been continuously producing fruit, vegetables and flowers for 500 years. Today the fruit and vegetables are used in the well regarded Orangerie restaurant, nearby in the grounds. The flowers are used in the extraordinary floral creations displayed all over the interior of the chateau. Gardeners and florists alike love this chateau.

Photograph Susan Walter.   Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Old terracotta greenhouse seedling pots of the sort used before plastic pots were available. These are likely to be over a hundred years old, carefully stored as part of the chateau's heritage.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

An Animal Loving Chateau in the Loire Valley


All over the grounds of the Chateau of Chenonceau there are signs that the management and staff love animals. There are horses in the carpark, donkeys in a field and a sign at the entrance telling dog owners to respect the resident ginger cat, Noisette. Dog owners are also informed that if they choose to leave their dog in their car rather than bring it in to the chateau on a lead, they risk having their car windows broken if the staff think the dog is suffering. On a more amusing note, there are speed limit signs warning drivers that hedgehogs and cats may be crossing. We think this chateau, and others, such as Cheverny, are a delight for animal loving visitors.

Photograph Susan Walter.   Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Tours, Gastronomic Centre of the Loire Valley


Tours is one of the officially designated Cités des gastronomie (Gastronomic Cities) in France, along with Dijon, Lyon and Paris Rungis. If you love food, Tours is a great place to come. It sits in the centre of the 'Garden of France', so called for centuries, not because the Loire Valley has beautiful ornamental gardens, but because it is full of market gardens. That's much more important from a French perspective! Tours and the surrounding area where we take visitors has many, many restaurants dedicated to serving traditional dishes made from fresh local ingredients. Our tours include lunch in one or other of these restaurants.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Vegetables at Villandry


Many of our clients want to see the famous gardens at Villandry. You don't have to be a keen gardener yourself to appreciate the full effect of the colours and patterns here, all cleverly achieved with vegetables and box hedging. We are often asked if the chateau uses their homegrown produce in their café. The answer is no, but if you would like to find out what really happens to all the vegetables and how they manage the garden, book a tour with us. The answers will surprise you.

Peppers grown in the Villandry gardens.
Visit the finest gardens in France with a private guide for Loire Valley Time Travel. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

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. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Where is Ludovico Sforza?


Historic sites evolve all the time as we learn more about them. This year in the small town of Loches, a place in the Loire Valley that punches above its weight historically, the focus has been on finding the grave of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan and great patron of Leonardo da Vinci. Ludovico was a prisoner at Loches when he died in 1508, and there is no monument to mark his tomb. We have been following the archaeological dig closely, so when you tour with us you can be sure to get the latest and most intriguing news from the site.

Photograph by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Listening to the Wine Sing in the Loire Valley


Yes that's right. Singing wine is a thing. If you take a tour with us in October just after the grape harvest you might be lucky enough to be invited to listen to the new harvest fermenting in its barrels. It makes a singing noise that skilled winemakers can use to judge where the process is at.

Visit award winning wine makers with a private guide for Loire Valley Time Travel. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

If you would like to be privy to the secrets of a French boutique winery, email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

How Chateaux Can Rise From the Ashes


Chateaux and other heritage sites are like phoenixes. Many will have suffered a seemingly devastating fire at some point in time. These fires are almost always tragic accidents, these days caused by something associated with renovations such as electrical faults or the presence of flammable materials like solvents. After the shock, it very quickly becomes apparent that the building can and will be reconstructed -- often better than before. In the Loire Valley these events are used to ensure early career conservators and artisans are exposed to an exceptional opportunity to further their training. At Loire Valley Time Travel we are very keen to ensure that our clients understand how important this is and that disasters like fires always have another, more positive story to be told.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Fire Risk and the Loire Chateaux


As you can imagine the devastating roof fire in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris has focused the minds of heritage professionals everywhere. At Loire Valley Time Travel we've always included information about how the chateaux are managed, not just for fire but for general wear and tear. So if you didn't realise before how fascinating and important the subject is, perhaps you do now, and we will be happy to give you an insight into the challenges of opening these great buildings to the public.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Chenonceau and the River Cher


The Chateau of Chenonceau famously sits in the river Cher, so it is a constant challenge to manage the stability of the building as the water levels rise and fall with the seasons. In years like 2016 it was flooding in June which threatened the chateau, with the highest water levels in 60 years. But in April of 2019 it was the opposite problem, with lack of rain over the winter causing record low levels.  Learn more about the dangers, the vigilance required and the traditional methods of ensuring the building is safe on a tour with us.

Photograph Susan Walter.   Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

How to Find a Private Guide in the Loire Valley


The best way to find a private guide or tour operator in the Loire Valley is to do an internet search with the key words 'private guide' and 'loire valley'. You will pick up a few independent guides and a number of aggregator sites with a search similar to this. The aggregators are not tour operators, they are simply providing a platform which brings information about many guides into the same space, for ease of comparison and choice, and they act like an agent booking a service. One of the most well known is Viator (part of TripAdvisor and Expedia).

Photographed by Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

Our advice is to check out the aggregator sites (ie the sites which list lots of guides and act as a central booking service) but don't necessarily book with them. They all charge a commission, so you will pay more if you book through these sorts of sites (usually about 25% more). If you see a guide you like on an aggregator, try to find their own website. That way you will be able to contact them directly. Guides and tour operators usually have Facebook pages or write personal blogs, which can give you a lot of information about the themes and geographical area they cover.

Not only will it be cheaper if you contact them directly but you will be able to engage in a real dialogue with the guide, so they know what you are really interested in and you can be sure they are someone you would like to work with to create a tour. Good guides will personalise their tours for private clients. If you are nervous about booking a stranger directly and do want to use one of the booking sites, make sure you choose one which will allow you to have a dialogue prior to booking with your guide. Also choose a booking site that will act as a mediator between you and the guide if something goes wrong. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does you don't want to be dealing with a booking site that is only interested in getting its commission.

At Loire Valley Time Travel we recommend you book us directly, or, if you prefer, book Susan W through Tours by Locals.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Creamy Christmas Cheese in the Loire Valley


November is a busy time for our favourite goats cheese producer in the Loire Valley. He is preparing for Christmas and must carefully age and turn hundreds of cheeses so they will be perfect from mid December to the early New Year. He sells most of his product in speciality cheese boutiques in Paris, but we are lucky enough to have him on our doorstep and he lets us visit with cheese loving clients throughout the year.

Jean-Luc turning creamy Christmas cheeses.
visit award winning cheesemakers in the Loire Valley with Susan, private guide from Loire Valley. Tour the Loire in a classic car.Time Travel

If you love cheese email us or use our contact form. We will design a tour that includes a visit to Jean-Luc and you can taste his cheese for yourself. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 24 May 2019

New Interiors in the Chateau of Azay le Rideau


Following the enormous task of restoring the exterior of the Chateau of Azay le Rideau the curators have completely refurbished the ground floor 19th century rooms dedicated to the last private owners, the Biencourt family. Using photographs showing how the Biencourts furnished, decorated and occupied the spaces the curators have recreated a series of comfortable, fashionable 19th century interiors, ranging from drawing room to billiards room, dining room to sitting room. Let us show you the very splendid result and tell you how it was achieved.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Chateau of Azay le Rideau Restoration


Over the past couple of years the beautiful Renaissance chateau of Azay le Rideau has been restored inside and out. Learn how the work served to train apprentice masons, carpenters, roofers and metal workers so traditional construction industry skills are maintained in the Loire Valley. We have a background in heritage management and conservation and know the project manager who co-ordinated this extraordinary 16 million euro project. We can give you insights into the conservation of this and other Loire Valley buildings that other tours cannot offer.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.
The chateau halfway through restoration, in 2016.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Looking to the Future of Notre-Dame


Fires in historic buildings under repair are nothing new. In fact, big restorations are a known risk factor. Everything that can be done is done to protect against fire, but sometimes tragedies happen. After all, we can't choose not to repair centuries old buildings -- they would fall down if there was no intervention. So it's a risk we have to take, and it is a situation visitors have to accept if they want to be able to see these buildings in the future. Don't think of scaffolding as ruining your photos, think of it as an opportunity to learn more about heritage building conservation, with an experienced and professional guide such as Susan from Loire Valley Time Travel.

Often, like at the Chateau of Azay le Rideau, under scaffolding for two years while the roof, attics and upper courses of masonry were carefully conserved, repaired and replaced where necessary, it all goes according to plan and the building is unveiled looking more beautiful than ever, and fit for a couple more centuries.

Sadly, sometimes it all goes horribly wrong and there is a disaster such as happened at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. In both cases however, the outlook is the same and is a positive one. We have an extraordinary opportunity to train new conservators and artisans in the care and maintenance of historic buildings. With Notre-Dame there is a heightened sense of the importance of the project because of its iconic status, but the heritage professionals who care for her are totally up for the challenge.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Sunflower Season in the Loire Valley

Lots of clients tell us that one of their hopes for their day in the Loire Valley is to see fields of golden sunflowers. They've usually been told that July is the season for the glorious sunflower fields stretching to the horizon. This is true, but not for the first week of July, and occasionally we get someone who has booked just that little bit early, only to be disappointed. It's sad.

Célestine by a field of sunflowers.
Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.But anyone who books for the last 3 weeks of July or the first week of August is guaranteed a treat. The sunflowers will be out and proud!

If you want to see the sunflowers in all their glory, let us design a tour that meanders from chateau to chateau through sunlit yellow fields.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

When to Visit the Loire Valley

If you are reading this blog then you are likely planning a holiday to France and will want to choose the best time of year to visit.

Not many people choose the winter months, because they think the weather will be cold and damp and the days are short. However, February is often one of the most spectacular months, with clear days and bright blue skies that are a photographer's heaven. Spring is a favourite time for many, with gardens bursting into colour again, and orchids and cowslips flowering on the roadsides. Remember that this is the wettest time of year here though and be prepared with a lightweight raincoat for the sudden showers.

In February the light is perfect for capturing architectural details
Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.Summer is when we get the most reliable weather, usually with dry warm days for weeks on end, but rarely getting unpleasantly hot so air conditioning is not required. Of course, July and August are when most people visit the Loire, so you might like to avoid the crowds and come in the autumn. The countryside is mellow and golden and September rivals May as the most beautiful month to visit.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Visiting the Chateau of Chaumont sur Loire

There are always fun ideas for gardeners at the Chaumont International Garden Festival, held in the grounds of the chateau there. The Festival has been running for over 20 years, inviting garden designers to create small gardens based around an annually changing theme. The budgets tend to be relatively small and so there is plenty that the home gardener can take away and easily achieve in their own garden.

Susan from LVTT and Australian client Louise
demonstrating a clever 'not a mirror'
arrangement in a 2012 Festival garden.
Photographed by private guide for Loire Valley Time Travel. Tour the Loire in a classic car.The gardens often have a humorous or fantasy twist to them, but they are also serious about putting the right plant in the right place. These are not typical show gardens, in that they have to survive from April to October. Occasionally a garden will be so good it is kept permanently and that is a real testament to the designer and their knowledge of plants.

Recently the chateau acquired another 10 ha of land just beyond the area the Festival takes place in. Work on the landscaping was undertaken in 2012 and a wonderful new landscape scale garden is now open for public visiting.

If you want novel ideas for your garden, or are keen to see where garden design in France is heading, email us and we will design a tour that includes the International Festival of Gardens at Chaumont, as well as other notable gardens in the area, such as the world famous Villandry.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Wild Orchids in the Loire Valley


For those of you interested in flora, the wild orchid flowering season has begun. It will peak in May-June, but a few species will flower later, in July-August. If you are only familiar with tropical orchids grown indoors, prepare to be underwhelmed, but for serious wild orchid lovers France is an important haven of biodiversity, with at least a hundred species of wild terrestrial orchids (ie small orchids which grow in the ground, up through the grass, not dangling from trees or rocks like tropical orchids do). In the Loire Valley we have about 45 species (we have 7 species growing in our orchard). Wild orchids can be encountered in lawns, roadsides and forests as well as nature reserves. Watch out for them and you may be as charmed as we are by them.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Sunflowers in the Loire Valley


For those of you who love sunflowers we can report that we are hearing from our farmer friends that they have just been sown in the Loire Valley. Typically they'll be in flower in the last three weeks of July and first week of August. For the moment, if you are in a rural area and hear what sounds like a gunshot or an explosion, don't panic. It will be a gas gun in a field just sown with sunflowers, and the purpose is to scare the pigeons not you.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Drought Danger for Chenonceau


At Chenonceau they are worried. There hasn't been enough rain this winter and the river Cher is at record low levels. Around the base of the arches which support the long gallery the water is barely 30 cm deep. Normally in the spring it would be at least 1.2 metres deep. Concerns about how the wooden piles driven into the river bed that form the foundations of the chateau building may dry out, causing the building to be vulnerable to vibration and cracking. At Loire Valley Time Travel we take a particular interest in the management and conservation of historic buildings, so we are keeping a close eye on this situation. When you tour with us you will get an insight into the challenges involved in preserving these iconic buildings.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Chinon Loses an Important Winemaker


The well known Chinon winemaker Pierre Couly died suddenly in his sleep at the age of 83 in February. Very active in the community and former president of the local winemakers industry association, he was one of those people no one had a bad word to say about. The winery is now managed by his son Bertrand and we will continue to visit to sample their wines with clients when we are in the area. We like the way they blend the best of modern scientific winemaking with age old traditions.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.


To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Baguette and Cheese for Dinner


A traditional and substantial lunch is all part of the experience we offer our clients, so they often find they don't want much more than a snack for dinner. Cheese and baguette, purchased from a small family run boutique or at the market is perfect. Sometimes it's nice to include a bit of cured sausage too.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Tours Stations Change Their Names


There are two stations in Tours. Until recently they were called Tours and Saint Pierre des Corps. Many overseas visitors thought that when they stepped on the TGV (fast train) in Paris Montparnasse that they would be getting off at Tours. They'd never heard of Saint Pierre des Corps. But the TGVs rarely call at Tours, which is a terminus. Most of the TGVs are on their way to Bordeaux, so people who want Tours and not getting off at Saint Pierre des Corps were ending up in Poitiers, more than an hour away from where they wanted to be.

So the names of the stations have been changed to Tours Centre and Tours - Saint Pierre des Corps. Hopefully that will be much clearer and prevent visitors having their day ruined.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

We are pleased to say we've never lost a client in this way, but we do make sure to give clear instructions on how to catch the train and where to go. The worst that's ever happened to us is clients who end up in the carpark when we are in the ticket hall. A quick call on the mobile sorts that out!

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Rare Plants in the Loire Valley


A little known secret of the Loire Valley is the number of rare and threatened wild flowers that are holding out in their last refuges here. Luckily for you, if you have an interest in botany, we are keen botanist too. Because we live here and network regularly with professional botanists in the area we know where colonies of rare flowers exist, and when they will be in flower. We are also very close to the Brenne wetland, known to keen birdwatchers, but not so well known for its rich flora.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Authentic France


At Loire Valley Time Travel we will present you with insights into France as it really is, not just the  romantic fairytale bits. That's not to say we ignore the quirky and unexpected. For example, everyone knows that food really matters in France and in particular, bread really matters. But what happens in small villages with aging populations when the local village baker retires and no one takes over the shop? It's happening more and more, but local authorities are increasingly turning to a modern solution for the problem -- vending machines. Whenever we pass something like this we explain it to our clients so they know that the tradition of freshly baked bread is still available everywhere.

Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel buying a baguette. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Watch Out for Wildlife in the Loire Valley


The Loire Valley is a mosaic of habitats, with lots of rivers and forests as well as large chateaux estates managed with wildlife in mind. The forests are home to quite a variety of wild animals and if they are lucky, visitors will see some of them. A good reason for using us is that we are also wildlife enthusiasts (and in fact, Susan has a qualification in biodiversity surveying and works with ecologists involved in the national program of wildlife monitoring). If anyone is going to spot animals in the undergrowth or out in the fields it is her.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Distant Glimpses in Chateaux Country


Everywhere you go in the Loire Valley there are chateaux. Some are well known and much visited. Others are still private homes or perhaps ruins visible on the skyline as you pass. They are all part of the Loire landscape and if there is a good place to stop and photograph the view we will do so. Because we are travelling in a classic car we can simply pull over -- something you can't do on a bus tour.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Traditional Crafts in the Loire Valley


Because the Loire Valley has a lot of low lying flood prone fields, in many places it has historically been a struggle to make a living from the land. One solution which was encouraged by the medieval kings was growing hemp, used for sails and rope to equip the navy. Later, in the 19th century, willow was grown to produce withies for wicker work. Whilst the hemp industry has faded away, basket making continues in a few places. Using a local guide like us means that you will not miss out on the more obscure history like this.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Rare Textiles in the Loire Valley


If you are someone with an interest in textiles you might think that Lyon is the city to visit for the history of the French silk industry. But the silk industry in France actually began in Tours, and in medieval and renaissance times the city was the 'Silk Capital of France'. Merchants came to buy silk thread, cloth and there were even a few tapestry workshops in the city. The merchants didn't only buy silk, but also wine, making Vouvray wine famous throughout northern Europe -- but that's another story for another day...

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

Nowadays there is almost nothing left of the silk industry in the Loire Valley. That's why when you visit it pays to have a local guide who shares your interest in textiles and knows where there are still examples of the once reknowned work of the weavers of Tours.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Hidden Histories in the Loire Valley


There are dozens of graves scattered throughout the forests and woods of the Loire Valley. Some of them are marked with simple white wooden crosses or a single plain stone slab, others are more elaborate with large carved crosses and detailed inscriptions. Many are the last resting place of World War Two Resistance fighters, buried where they fell. Some are the chatelaines of grand chateaux, who wanted to be buried near the place they loved. Others are poets and artists, buried in secluded spots that gave them inspiration. All of them require local knowledge to find and reveal their history, and that's were we come in.

Hidden in woodland near Le Grand Pressigny. Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Book Early for May


May has the most public holidays of any month in France and this year they fall in a way that means the period from Easter to mid-June is likely to be the busiest in the whole year. Good Friday is not a public holiday in France, but Easter Monday 22 April will be. Wednesday 1 May is Labour day, the following Wednesday, 8 May is Victory in Europe Day. It is followed by Ascension Day on Thursday 30 May. Ascension is usually considered the real opening of the main tourist season in the Loire, because by then the weather is likely to be good, the days long and everyone will look forward to making a long weekend of it by taking Friday off (faire le pont, literally 'making the bridge') and taking a mini break in the country from Wednesday to Sunday. Sunday-Monday 9 - 10 June is the Pentecost holiday.

Photo taken by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.
A village ceremony for 8 mai in the Touraine.

These holidays can prove problematic for visitors, and catch them unawares in various ways. For instance, in our experience, the Friday after Ascension is the busiest day of the year in the popular chateaux. Likewise, many of the family run wineries won't be open for visitors in the afternoon, as they don't see themselves as tourist attractions and choose to spend time with their family rather than take the commercial opportunity. Trains will run on a reduced service, and accommodation books up fast.

If you are planning a trip to France in May and are worried about how the public holidays might affect your trip, email us and let us design a tour for you with the benefit of our local knowledge.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Celebrate the Renaissance in the Loire Valley


Some of the most creative spirits in the history of the arts and sciences, intellectuals and enlightened humanists, lived in the Loire Valley 500 years ago. We are the lucky beneficiaries of this exceptionally rich heritage.

The year 1519 saw the start of construction of the Chateau of Chambord, the death of Leonardo da Vinci at Clos Lucé, and the birth of Catherine de Medici in Florence. The year saw the introduction of lasting changes to our heritage, the arts and literature, music, gardens, science and technology, architecture, trades and crafts, gastronomy and way of life. There was hardly a person untouched by these changes and barely an aspect of life unchanged.

We will guide you through the maze of historical events and convey the enormity of the changes the Renaissance brought to the Loire Valley. Many of the sites we visit regularly will be having special events or exhibitions to interpret life 500 years ago.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Visiting a Cheese Boutique in the Loire Valley


Many people really love cheese, and we are no exception. Luckily, we know where to shop for cheese in the Loire Valley, so we can take you there.

discover goats cheese making with a private guide for Loire Valley Time Travel. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

If you want to include some cheese in your tour, let us know. You can email us or use our contact form and we will create a customised tour for you. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Meet the Mushroom Man


This is Hendrick. He grows mushrooms in a cave and he is one of the friendly local farmers and artisans you can meet on one of our market walks (Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays). The art of mushroom growing is surprisingly fascinating and Hendrick can explain it all in Dutch, French and English. And if you are staying somewhere that has a kitchen you will definitely want to buy some -- the quality is outstanding (especially compared to supermarket mushrooms!) If you are here on a day when there isn't a market but want to learn about mushroom cultivation never fear. We can go underground and visit one of the few remaining traditional mushroom growing caves.

Photographed by Susan, private guide for Loire Valley Time Travel. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Getting to the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is an easy day trip from Paris, and part of that is the TGV (high speed train) which delivers a reliable and well priced service. It only takes an hour from Paris Montparnasse to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours) where we meet about half of our visitors, and the train trip becomes part of the holiday adventure. We make sure our visitors have full instructions for buying tickets and it all works very smoothly. They comment on how comfortable the train is and admire the way Europeans expect to travel at 186mph by train as a matter of course. Travelling to the Loire Valley by fast train is all part of travelling in France the way a French person would do it.

Tour the Loire Valley with a private guide for Loire Valley Time Travel.

If you would like to visit the Loire Valley by classic car and start the day with a fast train ride contact us by email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

500 Years of the Renaissance in the Loire Valley


The Renaissance, an intellectual and artistic movement born in Italy, arrived in France (and more particularly, in the Loire Valley) thanks to Charles VIII and François I. These sovereigns brought to France numerous Italian artisans, architects and artists, in order to transform their towns, construct chateaux and churches, but also to promote a new way of life. The Loire Valley became an avant-garde intellectual hub. The evidence of this artistic flowering is all around us and during this year of the 500th anniversary there will be many special events and exhibitions to highlight this magnificent period of French history.

Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Rose in the Loire Valley


Rosé has long been an under-rated wine, sniffed at by the connoisseurs and treated as pop by the consumer. But it is undergoing something of a revival, and the Loire Valley winemakers are leading the trend. Making rosé actually requires considerable skill and dedication. Many winemakers will get up in the middle of the night to check a batch of macerating rosé. They want the colour and flavours to be just right. Here in the Loire Valley the tradition is for a dark peachy colour and once upon a time most rosés here would be absolutely dry. Nowadays though, many winemakers make a dry and a slightly sweeter version. All the winemakers we visit make a rosé, so if you are a fan of this light, summery wine, you won't miss out. And one of the winemakers we visit has had their rosé chosen by American Airlines, so you may have already sampled it!

A tasting session at the winery. Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Supporting Local Business

We've lived in a small town in the Loire Valley for ten years. We know how important it is to support small family run businesses in the area. After all, we are one ourselves. That's why when we take you to lunch it will be at a restaurant where we know the owners and the waiters. They live locally just like we do, and contribute to the life of the community. The restaurants we use are often run by a husband and wife team, just as Loire Valley Time Travel is. We, and our restaurant partners, are committed to giving our clients the best possible experience and working together to achieve that.


Discover family run restaurants on a private tour with Loire Valley Time Travel

If you would like to have a leisurely lunch in a typical French worker's restaurant contact us by email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley


The Loire Valley white wine is highly regarded by those who know, but it is a bit of a secret outside of France and really keen wine lovers overseas. One of the winemakers we visit regularly exports to the US and regularly wins national and international prizes for his wine (even beating the New Zealanders with his sauvignon blanc!) He's a great example of a winemaker with a vocation. He comes from a long line of winemakers, and his son, who will take over the business in due course will be the 7th generation of winemakers in the same place. But they are not stuck in the past. Christophe has developed his wine beyond what his father was doing, and I am sure that Quentin will do the same when his time in charge comes. When we visit, Christophe's wife Véronique does the tour, but Christophe and Quentin are always happy to stop and chat if they are around. Not only are they good winemakers, but they are genuinely nice people who enjoy the exchange with visitors.

A family run winery in Saint Georges sur Cher. Photographed by Susan, private guide from Loire Valley Time Travel. https://tourtheloire.com. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 1 February 2019

It's that time of the year...

Our classic cars have been tucked up in their garages over winter. Now it's time to lift off the covers and roll them out. Each will get a visit to our mechanics and given a thorough once over to ensure they are in tip top condition for transporting our clients around the Loire Valley from the beginning of March to the end of October.


Explore the Loire Valley on a private tour with the cars of Loire Valley Time Travel

To book a tour of the Loire Valley in a well maintained classic car contact us by email or use our contact form. For an idea of some of our tours check the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Let Us Drive!

Driving a different car for the first time can be stressful and confusing. Driving in a foreign country can be disorienting and frightening. That's where we come in. Let us drive and you can sit back and enjoy the view. Plus you get the fun of travelling in a classic French car. You will be the envy of all the locals.

Let someone else do the driving in The Loire Valley

To book a tour of the Loire Valley with driver and guide contact us by email or use our contact form. If you want some tour ideas, look on on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Big Yellow Headlights

Both of our cars have the traditional (for France) yellow headlights. But why yellow??

In 1936 the French government were becoming increasingly concerned about Germany - in March 1936 German forces reoccupied the Rhineland in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles in which it was agreed that the Rhineland would remain a de-militarised zone.

In response a slew of new laws were introduced, one of which was concerned car headlights. In future they were to be yellow so that even if they couldn't do anything about German incursions into France, at least they could tell (by headlight colour) when they were happening. This law lasted until 1992, when an amendment allowed headlights to be either yellow or white.

Tour the Loire Valley in a classic French car

To tour the Loire Valley in a classic French 1950s car contact us by email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Away from the Chateaux

The chateaux of the Loire Valley are the reason most people visit, but they are not the only old and interesting things to be seen. There are many lesser known historic sites to see and we are always delighted to add one or two into a customised itinerary. Some of these places are spectacular, some are mysterious, several are rare or unique examples of their genre, all are places you probably would not find on your own.

discover the less known sights of the Loire Valley with Loire Valley Time Travel

If you want to book a tour to discover the hidden corners of the Loire Valley contact us by email or use our contact form.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Explore chateaux that most tours don't visit


We are a small and flexible business catering to small groups of travellers who like to see the highlights but often appreciate getting off the beaten track. In our classic cars we can do just that, and because we live locally we know all the best hidden places. Some of the chateaux you've never heard of are the most fairytale in appearance or have the most extraordinary history.


Ask Loire Valley Time Travel to design your private tour of chateaux

If you would like to get off the well trodden tourist trail contact us by email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Looking Forward to Spring

Spring time is glorious in the Loire Valley. Gardens are full of blossoming trees and flowering bulbs. Gardeners and photographers will be especially charmed.


visit the Loire Valley in Spring with Loire Valley Time Travel


To book a tour to see the Loire Valley in its spring glory contact us by email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Why hire a private guide?


When you book a tour with us it gives you flexibility and a tour tailored for your interests and capabilities. Often we end the day feeling we have made new friends while introducing our visitors to the places we know and love. As private guides we understand that you want to develop your passion for a place, because we share that passion.

Our aim as private guides is to make travelling efficient and fun, giving you the best possible local experience. With us in the car there are no arguments with your spouse over their map reading abilities (we've had several couples admit frankly that this is a big reason they use private guides!).

Best of all, we know the best places to eat, love seeing something new, and learning about the local culture so we can show you places you would never have found on your own.

Let Loire Valley Time Travel design your private tour of the Loire Valley

If you would like to see what's unique and special in the Loire Valley contact us by email or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.

Friday, 4 January 2019

How We Choose Restaurants

All of our standard car tours are all-inclusive. That means we take you to lunch. We have carefully chosen restaurant partners who are popular with local people, and often completely unknown to tourists. We personally know the chefs and waiters and use restaurants who care about their diners because they see most of them regularly. The food they serve is traditional, generous and made from locally sourced fresh ingredients.

Explore the food of the Loire Valley with Loire Valley Time Travel


If you would like lunch surrounded by locals in a typical French restaurant email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.