Friday, 10 April 2020

Chambord and Cheverny Tour


We should have been working today, with Australian clients who had planned to stay at the comfortable and friendly Clos d'Amboise Hotel then join us for two days of touring, but the Covid-19 lockdown has prevented them coming and they've had to cancel their trip altogether. Today would have started with a morning at the huge chateau of Chambord, then lunch at a large and popular workers restaurant in the nearby village of Bracieux. After a simple but generous lunch surrounded by locals we were going to visit the Chateau of Cheverny, with its wonderfully original interior and pack of lolloping hounds. To round off the day we would visit a small family run winery where our travellers get to taste a wine made from a rare grape variety only found in this small area of the Loire Valley. Good Friday is not a holiday in France, so businesses are all open normally.

The roof of the Chateau of Chambord. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
On the roof of the Chateau of Chambord -- the highlight of a visit to this vast hunting lodge.

Tulips at the Chateau of Cheverny. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Tulips from a previous year at the Chateau of Cheverny. The photos the Chateau are posting on social media for this year are of a truly magnificent display. Such a shame the public won't get to see them.

Domaine de Daridan wines. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The Daridan family have been winemakers for generations.

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, 5 April 2020

Mistletoe in the Loire Valley


Travellers who come early in the year to tour with us in the Loire Valley often ask what the green balls in many of the otherwise bare trees are. Sometimes they guess it must be mistletoe, but often they have never seen real mistletoe and are delighted to discover that it is abundant in the Loire Valley. In France there are much the same traditions of hanging mistletoe over a door or a fireplace at Christmas time that there are in anglophone countries. Kissing under the mistletoe is a way of signaling that you are betrothed, and mistletoe is a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

Mistletoe Viscum album in a tree.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Extraordinary Graffiti in the Loire Valley


Who are these characters? Where are they? Who created them? What are they depicted doing?

All these questions and more will be answered if you book a tour for us and request to see them. You won't find them on the regular tourist trail, you need to be a bit off the beaten track. But trust us, it's fascinating, and totally worth it. And you will get a surprise when we reveal who created them (no, it wasn't us...)

17C graffiti of duelling Protestant soldiers, Louis XII tower, Citadelle de Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

What's So Special About This Staircase in the Loire Valley?


This is clearly a ruined staircase. Why would it be of interest to anyone except nerdy archaeologists? Well, maybe it isn't, but if you have an inner nerdy archaeologist or architectural historian, you might still like to see it and learn why it is special. It's in a nearly unknown medieval chateau, and is overlooked when other later chateaux stake a claim to what is special about it. Let us know if you like to see what archaeolists see in a pile of stones.

Ruined very early straight staircase, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Villandry and Azay le Rideau Tour


We should have been working today, but we are stuck at home in the Covid19 lockdown, as are our American clients who had to cancel their visit to France. We hope that they will rebook when all this is over, in which case we would be delighted to show them the world famous gardens of Villandry, the remarkable painted medieval church at Lignieres de Touraine and the glorious newly restored chateau of Azay le Rideau. Lunch would have been at the Cote Cour, formerly owned by our friends Fred and Sandrine, and recently taken over by their young sous-chef Celine Calmes. What a way to start a new business venture! We will be doing all we can to support her as soon as we can. And Domaine de la Tortiniere, our favourite chateau-hotel, which is where our clients would have been staying.

The potager garden and chateau of Villandry.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The potager garden and chateau of Villandry.

Medieval wall paintings in the church of Saint Martin, Lignieres de Touraine.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Medieval wall paintings in the church at Lignieres de Touraine.

Early spring view from a window in the Chateau of Azay le Rideau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Early spring view from a window in the Chateau of Azay le Rideau.

House made smoked dry cured fat duck breast at Cote Cour restaurant, Azay le Rideau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
House made smoked dry cured fat duck breast at Cote Cour restaurant.

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, 25 March 2020

Loches Food Country Tour


Today we should have been touring with an American couple who had booked us for three days and wanted to focus on food, drink and off the beaten track. So today's tour would have visited the market at Loches followed by the Royal Citadel for a bit of history. Lunch was planned for Le Prosper, a tiny restaurant in a 16th century stone building and run by a creative husband and wife team. Then we were going to wend our way across country, via the rather extraordinary hamlet of Chanceaux pres Loches, then Dolus le Sec and finally stopping at Esvres sur Indre to visit our friend Charles, who owns and runs L'Art a Table, a specialist grocery store stocked with gourmet food and local artisanal produce. At the end of the day they would have the pleasure of staying at the lovely Domaine de la Tortiniere chateau-hotel.

Loches market.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Loches market.

Saint Ours, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Saint Ours, Loches.

Tour Saint Antoine, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Le Prosper restaurant shares a wall with the Tour Saint Antoine.

Hunting lodge, Chanceaux pres Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The literary hunting lodge in Chanceaux pres Loches.

A specialist grocer, Esvres sur Indre.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Charles cuts us some brie.

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, 24 March 2020

Chenonceau and Amboise Tour

Royal Chateau of Amboise.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Amboise

Today we should have been out with an American couple who booked us for three consecutive days of touring. They would have been staying at our favourite Chateau Hotel, Domaine de la Tortiniere, then we were off to the Chateau of Chenonceau, lunch at the Bistrot le Terminus in Nazelles Négron followed by a visit to the mighty Royal Chateau of Amboise. We would have rounded off the day with a wine tasting and tour of the caves at Chateau Gaudrelle in Vouvray AOC. All this has had to be cancelled because of Covid19. We very much hope the travellers are at home and planning their next trip to France and will be booking with us again. We will be delighted to see them.

Chateau of Chenonceau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Chateau of Chenonceau.

Bistrot le Terminus, Amboise.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The dessert and salad starters buffet at the end of service at the Bistrot le Terminus.

Tasting a new wine at Chateau Gaudrelle, Vouvray AOC.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Tasting a new sparkling wine at Chateau Gaudrelle with Emile, the son of the owner.


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, 27 February 2020

Relics of the War in the Loire Valley


In quiet corners of the Loire Valley there are reminders of the Second World War. Walk in the forest and you might find the grave of a Resistance fighter, or the wreck of a vehicle abandoned or destroyed during the summer of 1944. We recognise that the history of the Loire Valley is not just about 16th century chateaux, but is full of fascinating stories right up to the present day.

Citroen Traction Avant, abandoned in WWII.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Architectural Detail in the Loire Valley


 We love the detail you can see if you look at even quite humble buildings in the Loire Valley. Take this hinge -- on a barn door in a village, undoubtedly hand made by the local blacksmith and at least a hundred years old. Simple but functional, and with charming decorative touches that please the eye and the soul. When you come on a tour with us we make sure to point out these lovely rustic details wherever we go.

Blacksmith made hinge on a barn door.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Spring Wild Flowers in the Loire Valley


We are real nature lovers at Loire Valley Time Travel, and now spring is starting to burgeon we are happily spotting the wild flowers as they appear on the side of the road. First we will get a sprinkling of yellow and blue, later flowers will be pink and white. Cowslips are one of our favourites, and one of the earliest species to appear. We'll make sure you don't miss seeing them if you are here at the right time of year.

Cowslip Primula veris.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Mysterious Symbols Scratched Onto Buildings in the Loire Valley


Can you tell your masons' marks from your witches' marks, or your carpenters' marks from graffiti? It's a lot of fun spotting all the symbols scratched into old buildings and we can teach you to recognise the different categories.

Witches mark.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

A Funerary Chapel in the Loire Valley


Sitting a little forlornly in a small park in a small town on the River Cher is a small but ornate funerary chapel. It was built to honor the man who organised the 300 tents required by the 21 year old King Francois I when he met Henry VIII of England on the Field of the Cloth of Gold. A small piece of history, but fascinating nonetheless, in terms of how it links to larger events quite far away. If you like random little snippets of history such as this, let us know when you book your tour.

16C funerary chapel, Blere.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

When the Loire Valley Flooded


See the date 1940 on the end of the wall in the foreground? That's a flood marker, and the date is right at the beginning of the Second World War. You can imagine that something quite dramatic might have happened. If you want to find out more, we would be delighted to pass on the stories from this period, as well as the better known Renaissance history.

Flood marker, Chateau of Chenonceau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Friday, 24 January 2020

World War II Graffiti in the Loire Valley


In the summer of 1944 the Loire Valley was finally liberated and for the locals the War came to an end, after four years of Occupation by the enemy. There are many subtle reminders of the War in the Loire Valley, some official, some traces of real conflict, some more personal. This graffiti of a Cross of Lorraine with the V for victory is the symbol of the French Resistance, carved into the river wall at the Chateau of Chenonceau. It's not the only reminder of wartime activities here, and if you want to learn more, let us know.

French Resistance symbol carved into the river wall at the Chateau of Chenonceau.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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, 20 January 2020

Open Mouthed Wonder in the Loire Valley


Look up, look around. Everywhere you look in the Loire Valley chateaux there are things to amaze and delight you. If you want to be really wowed by history and beauty combined, let us know and we will take you to some really special places.

Winged stag Christmas decoration, Chateau of Chenonceau, 2019.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Spot the Acrobat in the Loire Valley


Acrobats abound in the Loire Valley. Medieval sculptors carved them to adorn nearly every church and many private homes. But they are easy to miss, often up high or in dark corners. If you like your history brought alive with a bit of juggling and gymnastics, let us know and we will make sure to point out some of these fun and frivolous sculptures in the most unlikely settings.

Acrobat sculpture on the facade of St Ours, Loches. Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

A Secret Staircase in the Loire Valley

Visitors might catch a glimpse of this staircase in a tower when they visit one of the lesser known chateau of the Loire Valley. But it's hidden, inaccessible and would be easy to miss and that would be a shame. Not because the staircase itself is particularly spectacular, but it is a remnant of somewhere that someone very special once set foot, in a chateau that was rebuilt a generation after she had gone. Clever and beautiful, the most powerful woman of her day, her name is still recognised in France, but virtually unknown outside the borders of her native land. If you like to know about forgotten histories let us know.

Staircase in the Agnes Sorel tower, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Repairing a Church in the Loire Valley


At Loire Valley Time Travel we have a particular interest in heritage conservation. We are really pleased to see work starting on one of our favourite churches and we will be staying up to date on progress. If you are interested in learning about how heritage buildings are maintained so they will continue to be here for generations to come, mention it when you book your tour. We are always delighted to include some background and a visit to somewhere so you can see repairs being done in situ by local artisans and conservators. We will explain some unexpected aspects of building restoration that you might not be aware of too.

Restoration of St Ours church, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Loire Valley is a Bit Batty


The Loire Valley is home to at least a dozen species of native bat, all of which are protected. If you are here on a summer evening you will see some of them flitting about over the parks and gardens in small towns and wine estates. But if you miss out on enjoying their crepuscular acrobatics you may find you spot them in some unexpected places. Carvings of bats were surprisingly popular in medieval times, and we can show you some fine examples in chateaux and churches from the most well known to the most obscure.

Carving of a bat, Logis Royal, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed 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.