Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Visit Chenonceau at Any Time

We are often asked if we do tours all year round. The answer is yes and no. We don't generally do chauffeured tours in our classic cars from the beginning of November to the end of March. The cars don't have any heating and the weather can be damp, so not ideal for taking a classic car out of the garage. But I am very happy to meet clients at the chateau of their choice and give a guided tour lasting a couple of hours. I also offer themed visits where we focus on subjects such as tapestries, graffiti or roof spaces -- just ask me about them. The big advantage of visiting the Loire Valley in the winter is that there aren't any crowds, and the chateaux are beautifully decorated over the holiday period. It can be very special.

Guided visit to the Chateau of Chenonceau, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Doing a Photoshoot on Your Loire Valley Holiday

If you would like to remember your holiday in the Loire Valley with a set of professionally taken photographs let us know. We can work together with a professional photographer colleague and provide the highlight of your visit. At certain times of year (during the low season) we are even able to get to areas that visitors are normally not allowed at certain chateaux. None of your friends will have photos like yours, and it is a lot of fun to do. Just ask us if you want a photo session as part of your tour.

Photoshoot in the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Monday, 19 September 2022

A Top Tip for Getting the Best out of a Guided Tour

If your tour is chauffeured, be specific about where you want the pick up and drop off points to be, or take the guide's advice about where they should be. It helps the driver to plan the best route and work out a price. When a guide asks you where you are staying, provide the name of the hotel, not just the town. That way the guide is more likely to agree to pick you up at your accommodation rather than at another mutually agreed point. 

Citroen Traction Avant, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Susan with our brewer friend Katie from Artisan Ale in Amboise and Célestine one of our classic Citroen's.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley

We are always very happy to recommend tried and trusted accommodation providers to visitors in the Loire Valley. We can advise on chateau-hotels, charming B&Bs, self-catering apartments or modern city hotels. The newest one on the scene is the Hilton in Tours, situated right by the best restaurants, museums, the Loire itself, and, as you can see in the photo, the ferris wheel on the river bank. Just tell us the sort of place you like to stay and we'll suggest a couple of accommodation providers we are confident you will love.

Ferris wheel, Tours, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


Saturday, 27 August 2022

Has The Loire Disappeared?

View of the Loire from the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
View of the Loire taken from the Chateau Royal d'Amboise on 30 July 2022.

Some of you may be worrying that if you visit the Loire Valley there will be nothing to see. There are stories all over the media about how the Loire River has dried up. This is absolutely not true. At Amboise the river is low and shallow, but it always is in the summer. Further west the river bed looks even more dramatic but the photos are misleading. The Loire divides into two or more channels in many places, forming islands mid river. Sometimes one channel will dry up, even in a normal year, and the other takes all the water. So don't worry. The Loire is just as picturesque as ever (although it is true that the weather has been exceptionally hot and dry this summer).

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

A Favourite Memory From the Loire Valley

Many people tell us that one of their favourite memories from doing a tour with us are the carved stone dogs on the entrance steps to the Logis royal in Loches. Not many of our clients have heard of Loches before they do a tour with us, but it ends up being the highlight of their visit.

Carved stone dog, Logis Royal de Loches, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Why not come and see them for yourself? We would be delighted to create a tour for you that includes the carved stone dogs of Loches.


Friday, 19 August 2022

A Top Tip for Getting the Best Out of a Guided Tour

Don't have expectations of what you want to see that are too fixed. Consult your guide before your tour about what they would recommend and what they would skip. Your guide will have seen hundreds of people's reactions to different aspects of a tour, and will know the well known things which are actually a disappointment, and conversely, the things you've never heard of that will turn out to be a highlight of your tour. Try to allow the guide to work to their strengths, by visiting the sites they recommend.

Traditional river boat on the Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Traditional river boat on the Loire.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Doing a Photoshoot on Your Loire Valley Holiday

If you would like to remember your holiday in the Loire Valley with a set of professionally taken photographs let us know. We can work together with a professional photographer colleague and provide the highlight of your visit. At certain times of year (during the low season) we are even able to get to areas that visitors are normally not allowed at certain chateaux. None of your friends will have photos like yours, and it is a lot of fun to do. Just ask us if you want a photo session as part of your tour.

 

Honeymoon couple with Citroen Traction Avant at the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Shopping in the Loire Valley

The City of Tours, and smaller towns like Amboise, Azay le Rideau, Chinon, Blois and Loches have a nice selection of independent boutiques selling fashion (new and second-hand), lingerie, fashion accessories, leather goods, household linen, kitchenware, jewellery, cosmetics, wine, cheese, baked goods, art, antiques and flowers. If you would like to spend a half day shopping for unique gifts and souvenirs just let us know and we can plan an itinerary for you.

Kitchenware shop, Loches, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Kitchenware shop in Loches.


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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Friday, 29 July 2022

First Estonian Clients

Estonian family in France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Recently we had our first Estonian clients, a charming family who gave us some delicious Estonian praline at the end of their tour.

Monday, 25 July 2022

Photo Opportunities in the Loire Valley

Visiting the Loire Valley chateaux gives you many opportunities for wonderful arty photographic shots. If you are a keen photographer let us know and we will build plenty of photo opportunities into your tour.

View through a leaded window in the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Driving Through a Medieval Village in the Loire Valley

 Le Louroux is a charming small village with an impressive medieval monastic fortified farm on one side, and the largest hand dug lake in Europe on the other. The lake is now a nature reserve, great for bird watchers, gentle walkers (it's flat, so not much huffing and puffing required) and plenty of nice wetland flora for the botanically inclined. You too could drive through Le Louroux with us in a classic car, and we can stop to explore and take photos.


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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

A Top Tip for Getting the Best From a Guided Tour

If you have specific interests please mention them to the guide before you book a tour. Freelance guides are often happy to customise tours to highlight aspects that will particularly interest their clients, and are often knowledgeable far beyond the obvious and most commonly presented tours.

Windvane, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
An artisan made windvane on a private house in the Loire Valley.

Saturday, 9 July 2022

Review of Chenonceau Walking Tour

Here is a lovely review from Jere, from the United States, who did our walking tour of Chenonceau with his wife Diane and another couple they were travelling with.

Rating *****

Tour: Half Day Walking Tour of the Chateau of Chenonceau.
Date: May 17, 2022

"Susan was wonderful! Her knowledge of history and her ability to share that knowledge was superb!"

 

Loire Valley Time Travel tour group, Chateau de Chenonceau. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Thank you so much Jere!

 

 

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Costume and Textile Tours in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is home to some unique embroidery styles, such as Broderie Richelieu and Jour d'Angle. I have a lifelong interest in textiles and costume and would be delighted to create a custom half day tour to visit sites that have good embroidery, tapestry or costume collections. We might even be able to visit a working artisan. Please contact me to ask what would be possible.

Costume display, Chateau of Usse, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Costume display at the Chateau of Ussé, where they have a very fine collection.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Friday, 1 July 2022

A Nice Review From a Client

 Marc and his daughter Mary toured with us in December, visiting the Chateau de Chenonceau, the Manoir de Clos Lucé (where they had lunch in the Renaissance themed Auberge du Prieuré, with costumed servers and storytellers) and the Chateau Royal d'Amboise. They came down on the train to Amboise from Paris for the day. He was kind enough to leave this review:

"Susan did a great job. She is very knowledgeable and we customized our tour to fit our goals."

View from a window in the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

 Thanks so much Marc!

Monday, 27 June 2022

Visit the Loire Valley in January

There are some advantages to visiting the Loire Valley in the winter. No crowds at the chateaux, for one, except during the school holidays (Christmas to New Year and two weeks in February). All the big name chateaux remain open throughout the year, and if you come in January you could have these places virtually to yourself. Think of the opportunities for fabulous photos! You can take them yourself, we can take them on your camera/phone or we can arrange for a professional photographer to meet us as part of your tour. Let us know what you'd like to do.

Photography at the Chateau de Chenonceau, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


Thursday, 23 June 2022

Doing a Photoshoot on Your Loire Valley Holiday

If you would like to remember your holiday in the Loire Valley with a set of professionally taken photographs let us know. We can work together with a professional photographer colleague and provide the highlight of your visit. At certain times of year (during the low season) we are even able to get to areas that visitors are normally not allowed at certain chateaux. None of your friends will have photos like yours, and it is a lot of fun to do. Just ask us if you want a photo session as part of your tour.

Photo session in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

A Top Tip for Getting the Best out of a Guided Tour

 If someone in your group has mobility issues, please discuss what they can and can't do before settling on an itinerary with a guide. All chateaux have quite a few stairs and it is usually a 15 minute walk from the car park to the front door. I can still remember when I first moved to Europe from Australia more than 20 years ago what a shock the number of stairs in general there are here. Let your guide know if someone in your group will need frequent rest stops or will move slowly. That way the guide can suggest strategies for seeing the highlights and making sure everyone has a great visitor experience. Most guides are flexible about how they present tours, but it is always better if they are forewarned about issues that may require this skill.

17C staircase, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
17th century staircase in Loches.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Visiting the Loire Valley at Christmas Time

If you visit the Loire Valley at Christmas time you are in for a real treat. Seven of the famous chateaux participate in a programme to decorate for Christmas and each tries to outdo the other with the beauty and creativity of their decorations. The added bonus for visitors who can come in December before Christmas, they will have all this splendour almost to themselves. Imagine being about to get just the shot you want, without strangers photobombing! 

Christmas decorations at the Chateau of Chenonceau, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Eating Cake in the Loire Valley

You can't come to France and not sample a few of the stunning cakes in the pastry shops. And if you come to the Loire Valley we will happily advise you on what is good, and what is even better. We know all the best pastry shops -- the ones who have won prizes for their work and the ones who make local specialities. And the great pastry shops that are in out of the way places that the tourists don't find. If you want to sample some delicious French pastries, or even just photograph or gaze at the displays admiringly, let us know and we will include somewhere sweet in your tour.

Patisserie display, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

A Review of Our Amboise and Chenonceau Chateaux Tour

A terrific review of a tour with us by Ward, from Florida.

Tour: Amboise and Chenonceau Chateaux.
Date: Dec 28, 2021
 
"A really fantastic day trip that my wife and I took from Paris. Susan and Simon were great hosts and we had great fun driving around in Claudette, the 1956 Citroen Traction Avant! For anyone wanting an experienced, knowledgable guide, I would highly advise that you contact Susan. Regrettably, it was just one day!"
 
Classic car tour, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

 

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Visiting a Wine Boutique in the Loire Valley

Sometimes visiting a winery isn't possible on a tour for reasons of time or availability. But we can nearly always take you to a wine boutique, where you can learn about a variety of local wines, taste them and buy them. 

Wine tasting, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


Friday, 27 May 2022

The Neapolitan Nativity Scene at the Chateau Royal d'Amboise

At Christmas time every year the Chateau Royal d'Amboise sets up its impressive Neapolitan  nativity scene.

Neapolitan nativity scene, Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Neapolitan churches have featured nativity scenes at Christmas time since at least the 11th century. At first the figures were made of polychrome painted and carved wood and were life size, stood in front of a painted background. After the 16th century the size had begun to reduce and the background began to be increasingly three dimensional panoramas of the City of Naples. With the 18th century Enlightenment and the Baroque style, the figures were put into secular locations, in wealthy private homes, and an attention to detail and hyper realism became a hallmark.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Ask Me Anything in the Loire Valley!

The chapel at the Chateau de Chenonceau is decorated in the most spectacular style at Christmas time. In December 2021 it was a large hanging wreath, suspended from chains coming through a neat hole in the ceiling. My clients wanted to know if the hole was original, or had been drilled in modern times just for the Christmas decorations. I was pleased to be able to tell them that the hole is entirely original, and would once have been how the rope for the bell was fed through so it could be rung. If you like to know small details like that, contact us and book a tour.

Christmas decorations in the chapel at the Chateau of Chenonceau, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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, 19 May 2022

A Top Tip for Getting the Best Out of a Guided Tour

If your tour includes a meal organised by the guide do make sure you mention if you have dietary requirements and be specific about them before you settle on an itinerary and book. The guide will take these into consideration when booking or recommending restaurants. 

Valencay goats cheese, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Valencay cheese, one of the famous Loire Valley goats cheese.
 
In rural France particularly, restaurants often do not offer extensive a la carte menus, but daily changing seasonal limited choice set menus. Don't wait until you are seated in the restaurant to tell your guide that you are vegan, coeliac or lactose intolerant. That will be too late and the restaurant, no matter how sympathetic, may not be able to meet your dietary requirements in a way that you find satisfactory.

The ingredients in the kitchen on a daily basis will be limited and seasonal. Restaurants operate in this way because it is illegal, uneconomical, and disrespectful to waste food in France.  Most French diners in traditional French restaurants have grown up trusting the chefs in these places to produce a delicious meal. Almost everyone will choose the dish of the day. No one will request anything not on the menu, or that a dish is changed to suit them, unless they have diagnosed food allergies.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

See the Sunflowers in the Loire Valley

This year will be a great year to come and see sunflowers in the Loire Valley. In April, many farmers responded to the shortage of sunflower oil we are currently experiencing by sowing extra hectares of sunflower seed. It is going to be glorious in July!

Citroen Traction Avant in front of sunflower crop, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

The Lives of Medieval Women Tour in Loches

This one and a half hour introductory tour focuses on the lives of three significant women -- Joan of Arc, Anne of Brittany and Agnes Sorel. Anne and Agnes were typical in many ways, but also extraordinary, through circumstance and personality. And there is no question that Joan was extraordinary through and through. All died young, despite their many privileges. The tour takes place on the Royal Citadel of Loches, where both Anne and Agnes lived for a time, and Joan visited, in the 15C. 
 

Guided tour of Loches, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Thanks to Gaynor for taking this nice picture of Lisa and I in Loches, during my Lives of Medieval Women Tour.


Learn what they ate, how they kept clean, what they wore, their role in society, their education and status.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Shopping in the Loire Valley

The City of Tours, and smaller towns like Amboise, Azay le Rideau, Chinon, Blois and Loches have a nice selection of independent boutiques selling fashion (new and second-hand), lingerie, fashion accessories, leather goods, household linen, kitchenware, jewellery, cosmetics, wine, cheese, baked goods, art, antiques and flowers. If you would like to spend a half day shopping for unique gifts and souvenirs just let us know and we can plan an itinerary for you.

Creamery, Loches, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Creamery, selling cheese, ice cream and other dairy products, in Loches.


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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Unexpected Juxtapositions in the Loire Valley

You never know what you are going to see in the Loire Valley. Turning up one day for a tour of the Chateau of Chambord with an American couple on a dull and drizzly day at the end of October, I came round the corner of the Chateau to discover the team from the Equestrian and Raptors Show in full costume and exercising their horses. Patrolling amongst them was a team of modern day soldiers. It was quite a startling sight. Chambord is owned by the State and is home to a troop of the Republican Guard, so it is very common to encounter mounted police in the grounds too. Everyone is super friendly though and I guess there is no need to worry about security in the grounds.

Costumed equestrian and soldiers exercising in the grounds of the Chateau of Chambord, Loir et Cher, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Fairytale Toadstools in the Loire Valley

Have you ever wanted to see for real the red toadstools with white spots that appear in every fairy story illustration you've ever seen? Did you realise they grow wild in the Loire Valley? We can't guarantee you will see them on a tour with us, but they appear in the forests in the autumn, and we will be sure to point them out to you if we can. And no, they aren't edible, but do have a reputation for giving you visions and making you vomit if you do eat them.

Fly Agaric Agaricus muscari, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Viewing and Photographing the Chateau of Chenonceau

Because the Chateau of Chenonceau sits on the River Cher there are a number of vantage points from which you can view the chateau and take some lovely photographs. Let us take you to the places that offer you those magical scenes.

Chateau of Chenonceau, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Visiting the Chateau of Cande in the Loire Valley

One of the least known of the chateaux in the Loire Valley the Chateau of Candé gets remarkably few visitors. The chateau itself was built for the Briconnet family in 1508, so the same family and the same time as Chenonceau. Then in the mid-19th century it was sympathetically tripled in size by the Drake del Castillo family. The intriguing Franco-American businessman Charles Bedaux bought the chateau in 1927 and retrofitted modern utilities. The stories of these successive families, all wealthy but otherwise quite different in their interests and outlooks, mean that the building can tell a fascinating history based story.

Chateau de Candé, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
I bet you can't tell which is the original part and which is the 'new' part.



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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Visiting the Gardens of Villandry in the Loire Valley

Because the framework of the gardens at Villandry as a whole are so good it is worth visiting at any time of year. But because the most famous part of the garden relies on formal parterres planted with vegetables for their decorative effect, this is not really a spring garden as so many others are. This is a garden which peaks in late summer and early autumn, when all the fruit and vegetables have matured.

Chateau de Villandry, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


This photo was taken on a dull November day at about 5pm when sunset is at 5.30 pm, so light conditions were not the best for taking stunning photographs. Nevertheless, I think you can still get a good idea of how impressive these gardens are.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Mushroom Farming in the Loire Valley

The mushroom caves in the Loire Valley are extraordinary places. Originally quarries where the beautiful white limestone used to build the chateaux was extracted, by the end of the 19th century the quarrymen had run out of stone and needed come up with a new way of making a living. The most enterprising learned how to grow mushrooms in these unique places, and one of our most fascinating visits takes us to our favourite mushroom 'farm'. It is one of the last such places still operating, and still in the hands of the family who started it a century ago. They grow top quality mushrooms for high end restaurants and the pharmaceutical industry. Come with us and learn all about how they do it, and the fascinating evolution of the family business.

Underground village, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The underground village at our favourite mushroom producers.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

The Incredible Flower Arrangements at the Chateau of Chenonceau

Despite the fact that the Chateau of Chenonceau is the most visited of all the Loire Valley chateaux, it has a feature that seems to come as a surprise to almost all first time visitors. The Chateau employs two full time professional florists, and their job is to provide flower arrangements for every room in the Chateau, every day of the year. Some of the arrangements are enormous, some are small and delicate. They are always different and they are one of the wonders of the Loire Valley. Somehow though, they don't seem to get much publicity, but they are a guaranteed way to make the people we take there go 'Wow!!' and it means that a visit at any time of year is still an outstanding experience, because even if the day outside is grey and damp, inside will be an explosion of colour and floral creativity.

Flower arrangement in the Chateau de Chenonceau, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Costume and Textile Tours of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is home to some unique embroidery styles, such as Broderie Richelieu and Jour d'Angle. I have a lifelong interest in textiles and costume and would be delighted to create a custom half day tour to visit sites that have good embroidery, tapestry or costume collections. We might even be able to visit a working artisan. Please contact me to ask what would be possible.

Altar in the church at Sainte Catherine de Fierbois, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Altar cloth in Point de Richelieu (cutwork), Sainte Catherine de Fierbois church.

 

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Friday, 1 April 2022

Driving Through a Loire Valley Village in a Classic Citroen Car

Join us for a drive.
 
 
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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Classic Car Fun in France

This was a fun day out, recreating a classic traffic jam in the style of the 1970s when everyone went on holidays to the coast at the same time.
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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Driving a Classic French Route in a Classic French Car

This is the famous N10, the route many French people took when they headed for their summer holidays on the Atlantic coast. It is also the route of the old pilgrim road to Spain. Why not join us and do part of it in style, in a vehicle entirely suited to the road's heyday.


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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Driving Through Canola Fields in the Loire Valley in a Classic Citroen Car

This is the view from our classic Citroen cars in the springtime in the Loire Valley. Why not come and join us?

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Take the Train to the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is easy to visit from Paris. There is an excellent fast train (TGV) service from Paris Montparnasse to Saint Pierre des Corps (Tours) that gets you to the centre of chateaux country in an hour. You can do a tour with us as a day trip from Paris, or come down for a few days and stay in the attractive and affordable small city of Tours. We have a garage in Saint Pierre des Corps where we keep one of our classic Citroen Traction Avants that will be your stylish transport, and we will meet you at the train station or at your accommodation. Nothing could be easier.

TGV at Saint Pierre des Corps, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


Friday, 11 March 2022

Looking Like We Own the Place

'You look like you own the place' was the comment of one of our colleagues when we parked in front of the Chateau Royal of Amboise for a photo session with Photograph France. If you want to do the same let us know. The experiences we can offer include professional photography tutoring in a great location like the Chateau or a private and romantic aperitif served in the grounds.

Arrive in style in one of our classic cars and benefit from our expert historical knowledge of all aspects of life at the Chateau in Medieval times.

Citroen Traction Avant parked in front of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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, 7 March 2022

Driving Through a Small Town in the Loire Valley

Join us for a drive. 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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Slow Travel in the Loire Valley

 Join us for a drive through a village in the Loire Valley.


 

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Monday, 28 February 2022

The Lives of Medieval Women Tour in the Loire Valley

My new Lives of Medieval Women tour is proving popular. Here is a recent review of it by Barbara from Georgia (US). "We really enjoyed Susan's tour. Clearly, she has a vast amount of knowledge and was able to share with us in a unique and interesting way. She was very adaptable and considerate of our needs. Loches is beautiful and the perfect backdrop for Susan's presentation of the lives of these three influential, yet very different, women."
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a nice review! We really appreciate it.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Heritage Engineering in the Loire Valley

We are big fans of heritage engineering, and find that our clients are too. Consequently, if you take a tour with us and we pass something like an Eolienne Bollee, we will stop for you to see it, and we will tell you the history of these splendid wind turbines.

Eolienne Bollee wind turbine, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Leonardo da Vinci in Amboise Tour

Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life in Amboise. Talk to us about a very special experience that we can offer, immersing you in the places Leonardo knew. See where he lived, learn about his work and visit his grave.

Chateau du Clos Luce, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Chateau du Clos Lucé



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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Shopping in the Loire Valley

The City of Tours, and smaller towns like Amboise, Azay le Rideau, Chinon, Blois and Loches have a nice selection of independent boutiques selling fashion (new and second-hand), lingerie, fashion accessories, leather goods, household linen, kitchenware, jewellery, cosmetics, wine, cheese, baked goods, art, antiques and flowers. If you would like to spend a half day shopping for unique gifts and souvenirs just let us know and we can plan an itinerary for you.

Hat shop, Loches, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Hat (and handbags and gloves) shop in Loches, owned by the same family for several 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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Visiting the Chateau of Amboise in the Loire Valley

Visit the Chateau Royal of Amboise with us in a 1953 Citroen. It is one of the most famous of the Loire Valley chateau, and steeped in history. We show you just a few highlights of what the chateau has to offer, focusing on the lovely grounds.

We are working with the chateau to develop an exclusive visit using our cars, finishing with aperatif on the terrace.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Discovering Door Nails in the Loire Valley

You might not think door nails are very interesting, but you'd be wrong. Check out our 2 minute video on the subject. If you take a tour with us, this is the sort of fascinating trivia you will learn (and be able to impress your friends with later). We touch on the big stuff too, of course, but we like to make your tour fun and unique.

 

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, 3 February 2022

Location Scouting and Background Research for Authors in the Loire Valley

One of the jobs we find ourselves doing from time to time doesn't involve traditional visits to chateaux and wineries, and quite often the client isn't even present. Sometimes we are contacted by authors who are in the early stages of writing a book set in the Loire Valley. Our local knowledge of the geography, properties and history is invaluable in helping writers piece together plausible stories. We find that the period that seems to fascinate authors is the Second World War, and our own interest in this rather hidden history means that we can often help where others could not.

Refugees near Preuilly sur Claise June 1940, Indre et Loire, France.
Refugees from Paris in June 1940 heading for Bordeaux and overnighting at a farm near where we live.

If you are an author and would like someone on the ground who can answer your questions about the Loire Valley please get in touch.We understand that discretion and confidentiality are important to authors, particularly in the early stages of researching a new book.

To enquire about our private and confidential services for authors email us or use our contact form.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Cheese in the Loire Valley

Do you love cheese? Do you want to sample some of the local goats cheeses that the Loire Valley is famous for? Let us know and we will design a tour that includes opportunities to learn about the cheese here -- a visit to a producer, a cheese boutique or a restaurant with an excellent cheese platter. You can taste, buy and find out the secrets of how they are made and what makes them special.

Goats cheeses, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Take a Video Tour of a Typical Loire Valley Village

 We've made a video about a tiny village near where we live. I hope you enjoy it.


 

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, 22 January 2022

The View From Our Office in the Loire Valley

Heading back to the garage at the end of a lovely winter's day of touring with clients, this is the view we get of the sun setting over the Loire at Tours.

Driving a Citroen Traction Avant over the Loire into the sunset at Tours, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


Friday, 14 January 2022

Exploring Underground Spaces in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is riddled with manmade caves. They were formed when limestone to build the famous chateaux and more modest houses was extracted, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Now they are reused in various ways -- as part of dwellings, as general storage spaces, as wine cellars, and to grow mushrooms. Our tours often include a visit underground in a winery or mushroom farm and if you are interested in learning how these places were and are used and visiting one for yourself let us know. We find them fascinating and are sure you will too. Don't worry -- you don't need to be a speleologist, and the caves we visit are not claustrophobic. People are coming and going in them all the time.

Troglodyte caves, Loire et Cher, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
An entry to a troglodyte cave.

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Driving Through a Medieval Village in the Loire Valley

 Le Louroux is a charming small village with an impressive medieval monastic fortified farm on one side, and the largest hand dug lake in Europe on the other. The lake is now a nature reserve, great for bird watchers, gentle walkers (it's flat, so not much huffing and puffing required) and plenty of nice wetland flora for the botanically inclined. You too could drive through Le Louroux with us in a classic car, and we can stop to explore and take photos.


 

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. If you would like an idea of how your tour might look and sound, please check out our YouTube channel.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Romantic Amboise

 A tour for couples wanting to celebrate a special day.

Classic Citroen Traction Avant in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
One of our classic Citroen Traction Avants, Célestine, in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise.
  

This exclusive half day tour allows you to do something out of the ordinary, something no other tour will offer you. You will get to drive in through the gates of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, in a classic car, and park right outside the chateau itself. You will be the envy of everyone else around, and round off the afternoon by being served sparkling wine and canapés by your own private waiter in a private location in the chateau grounds.

Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Chateau Royal d'Amboise.

 

In addition you will get a 'secret' view of the Chateau of Chenonceau as well as visit the stunning Chapel of Saint Hubert in the grounds of the Chateau of Amboise. The Chateau of Chenonceau cannot be viewed from the road or even from the front gate. But there is a spot, on the river, where you can see it.

View of the Chateau of Chenonceau from the south-east, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A view of the Chateau of Chenonceau that is a bit of a local secret.

 

 

Itinerary
*2 pm Pick up from your hotel in the Tours/Amboise area in a classic Citroen car.
*2. 30 pm Visit the secret view of Chenonceau.
*4 pm Arrive in style through the Lions Gate of the Royal Chateau of Amboise, crossing the grounds to park in front of the chateau (watch out, we will be mobbed by other visitors keen to see the car!).
Visit the superb Chapel of Saint Hubert and learn about the carvings, stained glass, and of course, Leonardo da Vinci.
*5 pm Aperitif is served, either on a private space on the terrace, or if the weather is inclement, in the Minimes Tower. Local Vouvray wine paired with specialities of the region.
*5. 45 pm Depart in the classic Citroen car for your hotel.

Chapel of St Hubert, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The chapel of St Hubert.

 

This tour as a whole or partially, can be customized to fit your preferences - please inquire!

Enjoying a champagne aperitif with a classic Citroen Traction Avant, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Enjoying an aperitif.

 

I am an expert in the history and traditions of the Touraine Loire Valley. Most people know the Chapel of Saint Hubert as the burial place of Leonardo, but for me it's all about carvings. Visit with me and see if I'm not right!

Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Amboise.
  

Pick up: At your hotel in or near Amboise.

Tomb of the Babou family, St Denis, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Tomb of the Babou family, St Denis, Amboise.
  

Duration: 4 hours.

Classic Citroen Traction Avant in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Our classic Citroen Traction Avant Célestine in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise.

 

The tour timings have some wriggle room for those who may wish to explore the interior of the main Royal Chateau building, but it is best to indicate that you might want to do that when we meet rather than on arrival at the chateau. Visits to the troglodyte caves/granaries or the church are subject to availability, which may change at short notice (eg if there is a funeral).

Greniers de Césare troglodyte caves, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Inside the Greniers de Césare troglodyte caves, Amboise.

 

Transportation: A classic Citroen Traction Avant. This is a car that every French person will recognise and love. In their day they were used by professionals in the course of their work, and by middle class families. Almost every family in France would have owned one by the end of the 1960s. Note that the cars do not have air conditioning (we encourage you to wind down the windows). Nor do they have seat belts as they were made prior to the legislation requiring them and fitting them is problematic.

Grave of a member of the Babou family, St Denis, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Grave of a member of the Babou family in St Denis, Amboise.

 

Included:

  • Guiding Services
  • Private Transportation
  • Admission Tickets

Plus: Private aperitif (local sparkling wine and snacks). Visits to the troglodyte caves/granaries and the church are subject to availability, which may change at short notice (eg if there is a funeral).

Staircase to the surface from the Greniers de Césare troglodyte cave, Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A staircase to the surface in the Greniers de Césare troglodyte caves.

 

About Your Guide: I specialise in story telling, the weaving together of this fact and that, this character and their relationship with another. It is a technique which brings alive the history of what is sometimes just stones to look at, but those stones may lead to something wonderfully evocative and provide a better understanding of the past. Much of the history of the Loire Valley is about important characters which you will have heard of, but there is a great deal of hidden history too -- characters who have been forgotten in modern times, motivations for deeds which seem inexplicable can become clear, how different life was then, but also how similar. If you want to know who would graffiti a royal chapel and why, and why it isn't who most guides will tell you it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to know about the history of bathing and personal hygiene, and how that isn't quite what you think it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to meet fascinating characters from history who really made a difference, often women, then take a tour with me.

Classic Citroen Traction Avant in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Célestine, our classic Citroen Traction Avant in the grounds of the Chateau Royal d'Amboise.

 

English speaking, born and raised in Australia, I lived for 12 years in England, where I worked for the National Trust in their Historic Buildings Conservation Department, and now in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Loire Valley for more than a decade. I am an active heritage and nature conservation professional with experience of working with conservators and curators to care for historic objects and buildings, and with ecologists caring for our natural environment. Deeply embedded in the local scene I speak quite good French and enjoy life in a small village near some fabulous chateaux and lovely countryside. I'm always happy to talk about life in France and am friends with many wine makers and local food producers. I love to cook and to eat and will make sure you have an authentic dining experience while you are in the Loire Valley. Interested in the quirky and little known local histories, and I can't wait to pass them on to you. I write a daily blog about life in the Loire Valley and when I am not guiding I will be cooking, gardening or working on various heritage and nature conservation projects.

Driving in a classic Citroen Traction Avant, France.
Simon and I at a classic car event.

 

I work with my husband, who drives our elegant classic Citroen cars, Celestine and Claudette, on the chauffeured tours. Our aim is to offer a comfortable day out in a beautiful and historic area that makes you feel like you've spent time with knowledgeable local friends. Our approach is to highlight the things that you might not even notice if you were on your own, and to tell stories that bind them into the broader historical narrative of the Loire Valley and France. When we stop, the car is an instant ice breaker and it is not uncommon for complete strangers to come up and start conversations.

Formerly a professional musician and teacher, my husband has travelled extensively over the last 30 years, as a tourist and professionally. He loves just gently motoring a classic Citroen down country roads. He thinks the ideal speed for sightseeing is 80km/h (about 50mph), and in a classic car other motorists are perfectly willing to just let you travel at your own pace. A knowledgeable photographer and photo editor he is always looking for a new angle on things. This means he is always ready to stop the car for a photo opportunity - all you have to do is ask.

In addition to the chauffeured tours using the classic cars I am also available for half day walking tours of Loches and the surrounding area.