Taste the Wine of the Loire Valley

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The Loire is the longest river in France, flowing westward from the high massifs of the French Alps to the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Ocean. Along it’s 600+ mile journey, the Loire serves as the lifeblood to a stunning region known as the “Garden of France” that is full of verdant vineyards and majestic châteaux that dot its valley. The richness of its soil has facilitated a century-old history of grape growing in the region. In fact, during the High Middle Ages Loire Wines were the most sought after in western Europe, even more so than Bordeaux. Travelers on our Loire Valley biking tour will love spending their days tracing the river’s banks and stopping to marvel at architectural wonders and sip word-class wines. The Loire region produces a variety of grapes that are used in the making of red, white and sparkling wines, and during our tour you’ll get to sample quite a few. Here are some of our favorites.

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Chenin Blanc

This white grape’s high acidity allows for its malleability in making _7096579-Leverything from sparkling wines like Chemant to sweet dessert wines. We’ll get to taste some examples of wine made from Chenin Blanc when we visit Vouvray, an AOC—which stands for Appellation D’origine Conrolee, France’s certification for geographical indication of produce—that is known for its a dry style that develops hints of honey as it ages.

Sauvignon Blanc
IMG_0629-LAlthough this green grape can trace its French roots to Bordeaux, there are many AOC’s in the Loire Valley that harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The difference of the soil in Loire—which drains better and is more gravel based—imparts hints of minerals and spiciness; whereas Sauvignon Blanc’s in Bordeaux tend to taste more fruity. Wines made from Sauvignon Blanc are often served with cheese and perhaps more surprisingly, sushi.


Cabernet Franc
While a majority of wines produced in the Loire valley are white, this black IMG_0575-Lgrape is used to make some of the region’s best reds. When vinified alone, one can detect a peppery taste and aromas that recall tobacco and raspberries. However, Cabernet Franc is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cot Noir, especially in the Amboise-Touraine region. VBT travelers will taste wines made from Cabernet Franc during our visits to Blois and the charming village of Azay-le-Redeau, when we sample vintages once produced by local monks.

These are just some examples of the world-class wines you’ll enjoy on our Loire Valley biking vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit www.vbt.com . They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Top Reasons to Take a Walking Tour of Provence with VBT

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The Provence region of southeastern France is a scenic and historic area that is perfect for discovering on foot.  Travelers on our France: Slow Road Through Provence vacation will discover the region’s timeless beauty—from ancient hilltop villages to bustling outdoor markets to verdant vineyards that line the foothills of the Alpilles—at a slow pace, which allows you to fully take it all in. With so many amazing sites, friendly locals, delicious meals and epic cycling offered on this week-long walking tour, there is so much to discover. Here are our top reasons why you should talk a walking tour of Provence with VBT.

Strolling in St. Remy
Van Gogh Tour St Remy
Upon our arrival to the historic commune of St. Remy, we’ll learn about the last years of van Gogh’s life and his most famous painting, The Starry Night—which was inspired from his window view in St. Remy—on a guided tour of the village with a local historian. After our informative and inspirational tour, the afternoon is free for you to set out to explore St. Remy on your own. What it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in atmosphere. It’s convenient, horseshoe-like center invites a delicious stroll around town. Luckily, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to indulge in when you’d like a rest.

Explore Avignon, the fortified “City of the Popes”
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We’ll meet with a local friend for an enlightening guided tour of the famed “City of Popes,” which served as the Papal seat for almost seven decades during the 14th century when seven popes—beginning with Clement V—abandoned Rome and made the city their permanent residence. During our stroll, we’ll tour Avignon’s historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and view the Palais de Papes—the magnificent Gothic complex in which the holy men once lived.

Marvel at one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France: Gordes

Gordes, Provence

On Day 4 of our adventure in Provence, we’ll take in the cobblestone streets of Gordes, which is included in the listing of “The Most Beautiful Villages in France.” Take your time exploring before ambling just outside of the village among Provence’s iconic lavender fields en route to Senanque Abbey. Here, we’ll learn how the lavender is cultivated by the Benedictine monks that still work and reside in this peaceful hamlet.

Mingling at le Marche
Provence market
Cultural immersion is a huge part of any VBT tour. On Day 5 of our walking tour of Provence we’ll combine a cultural experience with lots and lots of local food, visiting the market of Vaison la Romaine. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of local life here and maybe pick up a few of the most tempting items to enjoy for lunch.

Hotel Aquabella
Aquabella Pool
A night in this wonderful hotel situated in the heart of the old town of Aix-en-Provence both begins and ends our tour. After a lovely evening of exploring the lively city of Aix, guests may relax in the hotel’s spa or heated pool. The guest rooms are decorated in Provençal style and all are fully equipped with air-conditioning, satellite TV, direct telephone, mini-bar and furnished with bathrobes and slippers.

les beaxLooking Out from Les Baux
One of the most interesting towns that you’ll find on this tour is Les Baux. Built directly into the rocky hills of Les Alpilles, this 12th century town astounds and delights visitors with its quaint shops and majestic views of the valley below. During our visit we’ll have time to explore the fascinating village and the Château des Baux—a fortified 10th century castle that sits atop the historic town.

The Food of France
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On top of all the wonderful experiences that we’ve built into our Walking Tour of Provence, we’ve also left some time for you to wander on your own. Exploring in France is often best done by way of your taste buds. Enjoy free afternoons and evenings to find a perfect bistro to reward your day’s discovery. Best of all, our native Trip Leaders can fill you in on all the local secrets and spots that only residents know about. So you’re guaranteed to find a culinary highlight or two on your VBT Provence vacation.

These are just some examples of the unique accommodations you’ll stay at on our France: Slow Road Through Provence​ walking vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit www.vbt.com . They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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