Chinon is on the River Vienne, a few miles of gently meandering curves away from where it meets the Loire. Here are cream-coloured stone buildings, turrets, half-timbered façades and riverside promenades. This is the rich land of wine and food, of castles and kings, producing some of the Loire’s best wine.
See what's planned
- Absorb the charms of attractive Chinon.
- Wander the Chateaux Usse, the idea for Sleeping Beauty.
- Walk through pretty vineyards and woods where we will find a nice spot for a picnic lunch.
- Enjoy the weekly market, perfect for those picnic lunch supplies.
Our holiday is based in the beautiful town of Chinon. Nestled on the north bank of the River Vienne it is surrounded by some of the most celebrated vineyards of the Loire Valley. The Vienne River is one of the most important rivers in south-western France, forming part of major trade routes. With the famous Chateau de Chinon set high upon its banks, the town still holds a medieval charm.
From Chinon we have great access to all the attractions we wish to visit, including the many chateaux, fortresses and interesting museums of the region which offer great insight into the history of the area.
On some days we will use hired transport to take us to our starting points. This will allow us to make the most of our time exploring the sights, sounds and smells of the region. With enjoyable and gentle walking, this will take us off the typical tourist trail, allowing us to truly experience the real Loire Valley.
With the chateaux, French charm, medieval influences, rivers and greenery of the region you may feel as if you are in a fairy tale, the happy ending will be returning to your mansion in the evening after a rewarding day of sampling French history and fare.
- Return train from London St Pancras to Tours
- Hotel transfers
- All local transport costs, entrance fees and tipping to local providers
- Bed and Breakfast en-suite accomodation
- Five dinners in local restaurants
What's not included?
- Personal Expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary Tips
- Optional Excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
All Adagio holidays are expertly designed to allow you to immerse yourself in the destination. Leisurely exploration of the must-see, as well as lesser known, highlights together with relaxed enjoyment of local food and wines is what we have in mind.
There may be days of sightseeing on foot around a spectacular city or unchallenging strolls on easy terrain in open countryside interspersed with winery visits, guided tours, boat trips, cafe stops and traditional restaurants.
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bear in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions or changes beyond our control. Distances, ascent/descent and timings are all approximate and refer only to the countryside walking element of each day.
Welcome to Chinon
We will travel from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord, we shall then have a private transfer to Paris Gare Montparnasse ready for our connecting train to Tours. From Tours we will have about a one hour transfer to the Hotel Diderot.
Getting to know Chinon
We have a morning orientation walk around Chinon and its very attractive old town. After lunch we will head to the Forteresse Royale for a tour of this magnificent medieval marvel perched high above the town, get your cameras ready as this offers some of the best views of the Loire Valley.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle
After breakfast we will be transferred to the Castle of Ussé, one of the most famous of all the chateaux, as it is believed this is the castle in mind when Charles Perrault was writing Sleeping Beauty. After a wander around, we will take a gentle walk along the River Indre to Rivarennes where we will visit the Maison of Pear Preservation with the possibility of a tasting. If somewhat unusual, it is very interesting.
Old towns and cave dwellings
In the morning we will catch the train/bus to Azay le Rideau and walk through the old town to the chateaux, built in 1515 it makes it one of the earliest French Renaissance chateaux. After lunch we will take a scenic walk passing several troglodyte houses (cave dwellings) in the valley, heading towards the wicker museum. Farms in the Loire Valley are devoted to the cultivation of wicker. We will have time to look around and realise it is much more than just about weaving baskets!
Vineyard walks & Troglodyte Chapels
Today we will visit the Radegonde Troglodyte Chapel, a rock-cut church with a twelfth century Plantagenet fresco. From here we shall take a walk-through pretty vineyards and woods where we will find a nice spot for a picnic lunch. After our alfresco meal we will continue to amble through the back country of the Loire until we reach Cravant-les-Côteaux. From here we will return to Chinon to enjoy some free time in the town
Candes-St-Martin & Fontevrauld Abbey
Today the early risers can visit the large weekly market in Chinon, before transferring in a private bus to Montsoreau to visit the Saut du Loup (troglodyte mushroom cellar). We will then take a peaceful walk through Candes-St-Martin, known as one of the most attractive villages in France, before heading to a viewpoint for lunch. After lunch we will visit the Fontevraud Abbey, the burial place of Plantagenet kings.
Villandry & Wine
Today we drive about half an hour to the Château at Villandry on the banks of the Cher, where we will visit the extensive and amazing formal vegetable and flower gardens. Each bed is planted with a rose bush in the corner, representing a monk tending the beds. The gardens are a truly wondrous sight to behold. After we will finish our time in the Loire with a spot of wine tasting and a leisurely walk back to the hotel.
Time to say goodbye
Did this holiday make you reminisce back to fairytales long forgotten? We hope so! But alas the story is over. We will have a private transfer to Tours train station and catch our train to Paris Gare Montparnasse. We will then have a private transfer to Paris Gare du Nord in time to take our final train back to London St Pancras International.
Walks & Excursions
We use a mix of privately hired vehicles, taxis, and public transport which gives us some flexibility in our itinerary. We have a wonderful programme of walking, sightseeing and visits planned to let you fully experience the area along with opportunities to relax at our wonderful hotel and enjoy your surroundings.
Local transport costs, entrance fees and tips to local providers are included in your holiday price. You may wish to budget for any meals and drinks not included in the holiday arrangements, non-included entrance fees and any optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
The currency in France is the euro.
Credit cards are widely accepted. You may be asked to provide ID if you can’t pay by chip and PIN. ATMs are widely available in most towns and villages throughout France.
We include tips in the holiday cost and your Adagio Leader will take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. If you feel that someone has gone out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable or help you in anyway, please feel free to give a personal tip to the person should you wish. If you are having an independent lunch or other service not included in the holiday arrangements, tipping is at your own discretion.
We believe that the best things come in small packages, and our Adagio holidays prove just that. We limit our groups to a maximum of 18 persons, plus the Adagio Leader, so that everyone has the opportunity to mix, share their love of travel and return home with new friendships. Small groups also have less detrimental local impact, allows us to use public transport on some days, eat at small local restaurants and, we believe, offers a better experience.
An Adagio Leader will accompany you throughout the holiday. They are all experienced travellers with a love for exploring and will help capture the true essence of the destination with their stories, knowledge and insights. They are well-organised, pay great attention to detail and enjoy being with people. They are there to help make your holiday as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Leaders Evening Briefing
Your Adagio Leader will discuss the programme for the following day with the group at each evening briefing. This will be your opportunity to find out more details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. Also, if you have any questions or concerns on clothing or lunch arrangements, this can be discussed then. If you wish to opt out of the organised group programme, this is fine, just let your Leader know.
Getting to your Holiday
We travel to Paris Gare du Nord by Eurostar from London St Pancras International. From here we have a transfer vehicle to take us Paris Gare Montparnasse and then take the TGV direct to Tours. We will then have an hour’s transfer by private coach from Tours train station to Chinon.
If you are travelling to Chinon on your own it is important to note along with the information below that the Hotel Diderot reception closes at 21.00 every night, therefore it is very important that you arrive and check-in before 21.00, otherwise the doors will be locked and that If you plan to meet the group at Tours Station, NOTE that there are two exits at the front the station. When the group arrives by train, they take the left-hand side exit (facing the station façade from outside the exit is on your right). Please wait for the leader and group there.
During the week we will travel on foot, by road and by train/bus.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements
If you wish to organise your own flights from either a non-UK or UK regional airport, or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. If you choose to do this, before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at the hotel. Although airport/train station transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport/train station, depending on your flight/train arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight/train must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight/train to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight/train number, arrival time and departure point so that your Adagio Leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Tickets
When booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday with us, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
Please ensure that the personal details we have on file for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements.
Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to accurately manage your holiday booking are correct at the time of booking (including health and dietry requirements). You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.adagio.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 386700. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport page (with your photo on). Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country. Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
A hearty and typically French breakfast awaits you in the morning, with a range of warm fresh bread and croissants and the region’s specialty of goat’s cheese, honey and walnuts; the homemade jam is a treat! In the cooler months we can enjoy this in front of the roaring log fire, in the summer we can sit nestled in between the fragrant flowers and green foliage of the hotel’s wonderful courtyard.
Breakfast and five dinners are included in the price of the holiday. Breakfasts will be taken in the hotel and dinners will be taken in local restaurants. We don’t include lunches in the price of the holiday – normally these can be taken as a picnic or in a pleasant café.
Footwear & Kit List
Comfortable, broken in, walking boots or shoes with a good sole are recommended for this holiday. Walking shoes or other comfortable footwear will be suitable for sightseeing days.
General Kit List
We recommend you bring the following items with you:
- Walking boots or shoes with a good sole and waterproof uppers.
- Waterproof jacket and trousers. It does rain sometimes!
- A sunhat, fleece hat and gloves… to cover all weather eventualities.
- Sun cream.
- Hand sanitiser
- Swimwear in case there is time for swimming if the hotel has a pool
- A water bottle. (see Water-to-Go below)
- A picnic knife, fork and spoon, as required.
- A simple basic first aid kit.
- A daypack to hold all the above.
- Trekking poles (if you usually walk with poles)
Swimming in France
Please note that in French public swimming pools men are not permitted to wear baggy swimming shorts but must have ‘Speedo’ style trunks or tight fitting longer shorts. Men with incorrect swim wear will not be allowed into the pool.
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Travel Document Checklist
To ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, please make sure that you bring the following documents and information with you:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday currency
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Electricity in France
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Maps & Guidebooks
Ideal Maps & Guidebooks
The best map of the area, and one which covers several of our walks, is:
- IGN 1723 ET 1:25 000 Chinon, Langeais, Azay-le-Rideau. Neighbouring maps would be needed to cover all of the walks
The Rough Guide to France has about 50 pages on the Loire region and a couple of pages on Chinon.
The Chinon Tourist Office’s website is www.chinon-valdeloire.com with lots of information on all sorts of things in Chinon itself.
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
Tel: 01684 593 146
E-mail: [email protected]
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Find out more
Euro; CFP Franc
1.5hrs from UK
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 65mm
Avg. Rain: 56mm
Avg. Rain: 55mm
Avg. Rain: 59mm
Avg. Rain: 66mm
Avg. Rain: 58mm
Avg. Rain: 51mm
Avg. Rain: 56mm
Avg. Rain: 66mm
Avg. Rain: 79mm
Avg. Rain: 76mm
Avg. Rain: 74mm
Staying Healthy on Holiday
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to France.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis
Further Health Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
Please make sure you are insured for guided walking. It is important that you bring your travel insurance documents with you on holiday, including your policy number and 24-hour assistance telephone number.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
We're committed to operating responsible tours in all our destinations as best we can. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel Ltd’s (inc Adagio) profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public.
In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for future holidays. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
We suggest that you may want to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.