Depart from the U.S.
The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight
Day 2 - Arrive in Paris
Upon arrival at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) Airport, claim
your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form
before leaving the customs area – VBT representatives are not allowed into the
customs area. Please note: Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to
your bags. This helps the representative identify you.
After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for
your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your
representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via
taxi or van to your Paris hotel (approximately 60 minutes, depending upon
traffic). At this time, please verify with your airport representative the time
of your private motorcoach transfer to Hotel La Tonnellerie, Tavers tomorrow. Important:
If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport,
please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of
France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25.
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel
Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in
Paris. Use the rest of the day to relax
or to begin exploring the City of Light.
Day 3 - All guests meet at Paris Hotel/Transfer to Tavers
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT representative at
10:45am in the lobby of the Hotel Chateau Frontenac, (54 Rue Pierre Charron
75008, Paris. Tel: 011 33 1 532 3131 from outside of France or 01 532 3131 from
within France). The representative will
help load the transfer bus and then you will depart to Hotel La Tonnellerie,
Tavers where you will meet your VBT Trip Leaders. The transfer will take
approximately 3 hours. Please plan to have a picnic lunch during this transfer.
If your arrival at the Hotel Chateau Frontenac is later than
10:45 am, you must make arrangements to travel to Tavers independently, to arrive
by 3:00 pm. It is possible to take a train from Paris Austerlitz station,
changing in Orleans, to Beaugency. From here you will need to take a taxi at
your own expense. Taxi cost is approximately 15 euros/$22 USD (travel time
approximately 10 minutes) to the first hotel. Please contact the first hotel to
advise the staff if this is the case so they can inform your VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT
representative in the hotel lobby at 10:45 a.m. The representative will help
load the transfer bus and then you will depart to Hotel La Tonnellerie, Tavers
where you will meet your VBT Trip Leaders. The transfer will take approximately
3 hours. Please plan to have a picnic lunch during this transfer.
Upon arrival, your Trip Leaders will offer a safety and
bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride in the afternoon. This
evening, enjoy a welcome wine reception and dinner with the group at the hotel.
Day 4 - Ride to Chambord/Marvel at Château de Chambord
Start cycling from the hotel after breakfast, riding on a
mix of quieter roads and bike paths on the way to Chambord,
home of the remarkable Château de Chambord. Now the largest castle in the Loire Valley,
these 440 rooms were never intended to be lived in. The castle was designed as
a seasonal hunting lodge and as a venue for hosting large receptions for King
Francois I, who built the château from 1519-1547 while living in royal
residences in Blois and Amboise. The 21-mile-long garden wall is the longest
wall in France.
Of particular interest are the castle's double-helix staircases, which allow
two people to travel up or down without crossing one another's path. Step back
in time during your audio-guided visit here.
In the afternoon, shuttle back to your hotel or ride back
along a mostly different route. Spend the late afternoon reading a book in the
hotel's garden or taking a swim in the pool. Dinner is on your own tonight;
your Trip Leaders provide van transport to and from nearby Beaugency and its 16
Day 5 - Transfer to Blois/Walking tour with local guide/Cycle to Amboise via
Board a motorcoach this morning bound for the ancient city
of Blois. Many medieval ruins remain here in what was the most important city
in the region around the mid-13th century. A guided visit of the Old Town with
a local historian reveals how the city and its architecture evolved from the
Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
From Blois, we cycle along the river and through the lovely
Loire countryside, nicknamed the “Garden of France” for its abundance of fruits
and vegetables. Our first destination is Chaumont, where you have the
opportunity to explore the Chateau de Chaumont and its gardens on your own.
Then, continue to the town of Amboise. Leonardo da Vinci
came here to live at the Clos-Luce Manor in 1516, and evidence of his work
remains at the manor. The chateau that dominates the town was once home to
Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francois I.
Tonight, we gather with the group for dinner at a local
Day 6 - Explore Chenonceau
After breakfast, we pedal along a scenic route to the
Château de Chenonceau on the Cher River, known as the most romantic of the
Loire châteaux. Its history is the stuff of epic novels: King Henry II gave the
château as a gift to his beautiful lover, Diane de Poitiers, who built the
first gardens and added a bridge to connect the château to the Cher's south
shore. After Henry's death, his jealous wife, Catherine de Medici, took the
château from Diane and built the unique gallery that today straddles the river.
It became her favorite residence, and she later hosted the marriage of her son,
Francis II, and Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1560.
We have ample time to tour Chenonceau, its gardens and maze
before picnicking together. This evening, we walk to a nearby wine trader who
specializes in aged wines. Enjoy a
tasting before exploring Amboise and enjoying dinner on your own.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
Day 7 - Vineyards of the Touraine/Tours
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and explore by
bike the area on the northern banks of the Loire, famous for its highly
valuable wine production using the Loire and soils bike route. Viticulture has
existed here since at least the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church maintained
vineyards at the local monasteries. We cycle through Vouvray where there are
several options for wine tasting if you wish to explore this area. We enter
Tours and have free time for lunch before continuing back along La Loire
a Velo bike path into Montlouis sur Loire. There will be some free time to
explore this pretty small town before continuing to our hotel for the next two
nights - Château de la Bourdaisiere.
The Château is famous for its tomato and dahlia collection
so make sure you explore the magnificent gardens. You may also want to take
advantage of its lovely outdoor swimming pool.
If the weather is good this evening we will enjoy dinner in
the dahlia garden, or if not inside the chateau in one of the lounges.
Day 8 - Cycle and discover Chinon
After breakfast, we transfer overland to the Château de
Villandry, known for its symbolic, terraced gardens unlike any other in France. The
last of the large châteaux built during the Renaissance on the banks of the Loire, it was completed around 1536. We then cycle on a
beautiful bike route along the Loire
River and on to
In Azay-le-Rideau, you will have time for independent
exploration of this delightful old village. Visit the town's 16th-century
island château, photograph 15th- and 18th-century houses, and browse the many
shops before returning to the hotel by shuttle or by bicycle.
If you choose to cycle back to the hotel, your route takes
you along the Indre River, a region that figured prominently in works by Honoré
de Balzac, the 19th-century French literary master. The French author referred
to Azay-le-Rideau as “a faceted diamond set in the Indre.”
We gather at the hotel for dinner tonight.
Day 9 - Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport via the Palace of Versailles/VBT
No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: The tour ends at our hotel after
breakfast this morning. You may make your arrangements to leave the hotel at
any time that is convenient. Checkout time is by 11:00 am. Trains depart from Tours to Paris and to
Charles de Gaulle Airport. You are responsible for all transfer arrangements. A
taxi from the hotel to Tours railway station costs approximately €45 (3-passenger maximum). We recommend you ask your VBT Trip Leaders or the hotel
to help make the reservation at least a day in advance.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, depart for Paris
and one of the most visited monuments in France, the Palace of Versailles.
Wanting to escape the busy life in Paris, and to keep the nobility under his
control, Louis XIV built this château, in which he set up home and installed
the government. Louis Le Vau was commissioned to renovate and extend an old
hunting lodge, Le Notre created the gardens from swamp land, and Mansart
masterminded the hydraulic display of the fountains. This grand palace served
as France's official royal residence from 1682 until 1790.
Once you arrive at the Palace, you will be given an
individual audio guide and entrance ticket for the state apartments of the king
and queen, the Galerie des Glaces (the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of
Versailles was signed to end World War I), and the gardens.
In the mid-afternoon, rejoin the shuttle and transfer to
your hotel, located near Charles de Gaulle Airport.
This evening is free. You may wish to stroll through the
park into Roissy village and have dinner in one of the restaurants there, or dine
at our hotel.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast*, transfer by shuttle bus to Charles de
Gaulle Airport, Paris. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel entrance area
at the designated transfer time. The shuttle is complimentary for hotel guests,
and it runs approximately every 30 minutes. Please ask the hotel reception for
exact times. Once you leave the bus, make sure that you follow the signs for
*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.