Explore Brittany & Loire Valley

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Day 1: Paris  for 1 night

Meet & greet private transfer from airport to hotel

1 double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Le St Gregoire****

The 18th-century Le Saint Gregoire is located in central Paris, just a 20-minute walk from the River Seine and the Louvre. It offers stylish and air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TVs. Each guest room at Le Saint Gregoire is soundproofed and has a private bathroom. Some rooms also have a private terrace. Guests can enjoy an evening drink in the hotel bar and a continental breakfast is served every morning. The hotel reception is open 24 hours a day and Wi-Fi access is available. Le Saint Gregoire is just a few steps from the Saint Placide Metro Station and a 5-minute walk from Montparnasse. The Jardin du Luxembourg is just 500 metres away.

 

Day 2: St Quay Portrieux for 3 nights

Pick up car in Paris, Renault Scenic or similar, Midsize Class, automatic, unlimited mileage, CDW & theft included

1 double sea view, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Ker Moor***

Au Ker Moor Hotel is situated in Saint-Quay-Portrieux on the north coast of Brittany. It offers rooms with private bathrooms with balconies and panoramic views. Each Au Ker Moor room is equipped with a TV with cable channels and free Wi-Fi access. Because of its position on top of a cliff, Au Ker Moor Hotel has spectacular views of the sea and Breton Coast islands. Guests are invited to enjoy these views while they have breakfast on the hotel’s terrace. Saint-Quay-Portrieux is a fishing port and marina located 50 miles from Dinan. For guests who arrive by car, free parking is available.

 

 

Day 3 & 4: Brittany coast

Days at leisure to explore

Discover the Côte d’Emeraude, stop in Dinan and discover its quaint medieval streets, then head to Saint Malo. Built of granite rock in the English Channel, the bathing resort of Saint Malo is best known for its castle, the cathedral of Saint Vincent, and its 14th century ramparts, which overlook the sea. Saint Malo is the birthplace of famous French writer and statesman, Chateaubriand.

Discover the peaceful coast of Cancale.  Have lunch on the pier to savor the wonderful cider and oysters.  Then visit the oyster beds and farms. Take the coast road from Cancale to Mont St Michel.  Discover the bay and the wind mills that line the road.

Mont Saint Michel: The abbey of Mont Saint Michel, otherwise known as the Marvel, is famous worldwide. There are many things to see and to do; the main street with its shops and museums; the walk around the ramparts, with views out over the sands of the bay, as well as the spectacle of the sea rushing in to surround the Mount at each high tide.

Goëlo Coast: this is a wild and picturesque coast featuring many contrasts. Long fine sandy beaches alternate with blocks of rocks, which jut out into the sea and offer spectacular views at high tide. Tucked away along the coast are holiday resorts and fishing ports such as Binic, Saint Quay and Paimpol, which have kept their traditional character. It is here your adventure will begin strolling along their quays.

Paimpol: it was the starting point for the cod fishing schooners on their way to Island and it has remained faithful to this memory. As you stroll along the alleys you can admire the mansions of the ship managers who contributed to the region prosperity.

Bréhat isle: a real pearl and will captivate you with its lush vegetation and lavish country houses. The island is in fact two separate islands joined in the middle by a bridge but with surprisingly different landscapes: the southern island is welcoming and the northern wild and covered in heath

Côte de Granit Rose: This is a wild and picturesque coast featuring many contrasts. Long fine sandy beaches alternate with blocks of rocks, which jut out into the sea and offer spectacular views at high tide. Discover small towns such as Tréguier and Pontrieux and l’île aux Oiseaux.

 

Day 5: Quimper for 2 nights

1 superior double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Gradlon***

In Quimper, a town known for its art and history, this former coaching inn, a hotel conveniently located within walking distance of the cathedral, exclusive shops and museums, is the perfect spot to discover Cornouaille between surf and turf. Thoroughly renovated around a peaceful patio filled with flowers, each room has been individually and elegantly decorated with the greatest care and attention to detail.

 

Day 6: Quimper area

Day at leisure to explore

Pont-Aven: situated on the estuary of the River Aven. There is a saying that “”Pont-Aven has fourteen mills and fifteen houses,”” recalling that at one time, the mill industry ensured the town’s prosperity. Discover the Tremolo Chapel. Nested near the Bois d’Amour, you will discover the Yellow Christ that inspired Gauguin’s painting. Leaving the Chapel, stroll along the river to the heart of the city, colony of painters, led by Paul Gauguin, who made the town famous by the end of the 19th century and formed the school of painting called, “”L’Ecole de Pont-Aven.”” Explore this pretty, picture-postcard town with its white houses and lush green riverbanks before it’s time to return to Lorient.

Concarneau: an important fishing port.  Attraction:  14th century Ville Close (walled town), built on an island in the harbour and completely encircled by massive lichen-covered granite ramparts.

Quimper:  One of the highlights is the Cathedral St. Corentin. Originally constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries, it has a strong Norman influence and features some excellent stained-glass windows that date from the 15th and 19th centuries. The Cathedral’s imposing twin spires dominate the skyline of Quimper, symbolizing both the wealth and Gothic art found in Brittany at that time. The city itself, once completely walled, has retained the aspect of a fortified town, including a covered way and watch tower that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The lay out of the city center, is such that the establishments of the local tradesmen and timber-framed houses, stand side-by-side with aristocratic mansions. Here you can find Breton language books and music on sale, taste the best crêpes and cider.  Half-timbered houses…Quimper also produces very fine faience.

 

Day 7: Morbihan for 2 nights

1 junior suite sea view, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Domaine de Rochevilaine****

Vast, typically Breton area can be found in Morbihan, on the Vilaine estuary, at the tip of Pen-Lan. A site born of architectural prowess: these historic manors were taken apart stone by stone and then rebuilt by the sea. Right by the waves, spa bath therapy offers a rejuvenating, iodized therapeutic treatment. As for the restaurant, the Breton lobster does honour to its reputation. Is a lobster prepared better anywhere else in the world This is also where you can meet Bertrand Jaquet, its owner, and also an art lover and genuine fan of Brittany. This place is the culmination of all of his passions. They might rub off on you…

 

Day 8: Morbihan Gulf

Day at leisure to explore

Morbihan Gulf:  Morbihan means “little sea” in Breton, an apt description for this landlocked expanse of tidal water.  Around the gulf several small harbours earn a living from fishing, oysters cultivation and tourism.  The gulf forms an almost complete circle, including the Vannes and Auray estuaries and encloses some 40 inhabited islands: the entrance to this inland sea is just 2km wide. In the 1st century BC the gulf was the site of a sea battle between the local Veneti tribe and the forces of Rome. Julius Caesar watched from the summit of a prehistoric tumulus on the shore near Arzon, on the southern arm of the entrance to the Gulf. Low tide here reveals huge expanses of mud flats and oyster beds. The gulf is the breeding ground for flat oysters, which are grown on lime-washed tiles until they are big enough to be transported to parks all round the Breton coast.

Take a ferry to L’ile aux Moines, to have lunch.  Stroll around this lovely little village.  Enjoy the peace and quiet of this ring of traditional white thatched cottages.

Carnac:  world greatest prehistoric site, with almost 3,000 menhirs in parallel rows north of the town.  Quaint little sea port as well There are literally dozens of prehistoric sites around Carnac – menhirs, dolmen, tumuli, fallen stones and standing stones. There are, however, three great alignments of standing stones, those at Le Ménec (1169 stones in 11 rows), Kerlescan (555 menhirs in 13 rows) and Kermario (1029 stones in 10 rows).

You will also enjoy a visit to the Musée de la Préhistoire where a huge and fascinating collection of finds can be seen. Carnac is easily the most important prehistoric site in Europe. In fact, experts claim that the area has been continuously inhabited for longer than anywhere else in the world. The site has been used since at least 5700 BC, easily pre-dating Stonehenge or the Pyramids in Egypt.

 

Day 9:  Pornichet for 2 nights

1 superior double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Sud Bretagne****

This hotel is on the coast of Brittany, 1.5 km from Pornichet Train Station and 1 km from Pornichet Marina. It offers free Wi-Fi in the entire building, an outdoor swimming pool and a wellness centre. The heated rooms at Sud Bretagne have a flat-screen TV, a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a bath or shower. Every morning, a breakfast is served as a buffet. Guests can enjoy French cuisine at El Patio, the hotel’s restaurant, or have a drink at the bar.

 

Day 10: Les Marais Salants

Guided Visit of Les Marais Salants

Led by Krystel, you will discover by draft horse, the salt marshes and the wildlife. Then Olivier will explain his job in his exploitation. At the end of the tour, you will be able to buy their products:  saltwort, coarse salt, salt flower …

 

Day 11: Loire Valley for 3 nights

On your way, visit Chateau de Villandry, known for its garden, divided in three terraces ; Chateau of Azay le Rideau, one of the most romantic, reflecting its beauty in its surrounding lake ; The Vineyards of Bourgueil, possible wine tasting.

1 apartment in the gardener house, breakfast & taxes included at Domaine des Bidaudieres

Domaine des Bidaudieres sits in a 37 acre terraced park in the Vouvray vineyards of the Loire Valley. In its garden is an outdoor swimming pool and a flowered terrace. All of the rooms at the Domaine Des Bidaudieres are air-conditioned and offer panoramic views of the countryside. They are all serviced by an elevator. Wi-Fi internet access and parking are also available and free of charge.

 

Day 12: Castles and villages

Day at leisure to explore

The Abbey of Fontevraud, one of most ancient and best preserved Benedictine monasterys founded in 1099

Chateau d’Ussé, know as the “Sleeping Beauty Castle”

Chateau de Chambord, the most extraordinary French Renaissance castle with its Leonardo da Vinci’s staircase.

Chateau de Cheverny, great example of classical architecture, and remarkably decorated apartments

Chateau d’Amboise, defensive medieval castle overlooking the Loire and its charming city

Chateau de Chaumont, elegant castle flanked by its spectacular and numerous towers

Chateau de Chenonceau, straddling the River Cher, a fairytale castle designed by 3 women

Troglodyte caves: experience these caves. Thye have become working wineries, mushroom farms, museums, and as  place of shelter.

Village of Souzay, where the chateau, and many of the houses, project from the cliffs, the back rooms cut right into the rock face. Almost all the buildings are of the warm yellow-sand color tufa stone

Tourquant, which bills itself as a “Village de Charme”. It is indeed a charming place, the buildings of golden stone all decorated with masses of flowering plants, with many Wine Domaines and tasting places along the narrow streets. On the edge of the village is La Grande Vignolle with a chapel, a restaurant, and extensive wine cellars behind its smart facade.

Dénezé-sous-Doué for an underground marvel; La Cave aux Sculptures. In the caves, Protestant stonemasons in the 16th century Wars of Religion carved more than 400 figures into the walls, floors and ceilings. The caretaker gives a guided talk, and the main point is that really we’re not sure about the meaning of all the statues, grinning, grimacing, smirking, writhing.

St Hilaire-St Florent, and aim for the Mushroom Museum. To understand more about mushrooms, and later to taste some of them, a visit to a Mushroom “Farm” in caves is a must. The amazing diversity of troglodytic cellars has allowed the Saumur region to become mushroom capital of France, especially for Paris button mushrooms of which it produces about 70%.

 

Day 13: Vouvray area

Half day private Vouvray Wine Tour

Winemakers in the region built underground wine caves out of limestone, as in the Champagne region and Saint Emilion, in order to store wine at an ideal temperature and humidity.

The region around Vouvray, Montlouis-sur-Loire and Touraine has some of the most diverse plantings of all the Loire region and makes a wide variety of white, red and rosé wines. For white wines the main grape is Chenin blanc but Sauvignon blanc and (to a smaller extent) Chardonnay is also planted.

For red wines the main grape is Cabernet franc with some smaller plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay and Malbec. The rosé wines are made from an assortment of Gamay, Pineau d’aunis, Pinot gris and Pinot noir. The villages of Vouvray and Montlouis are the largest appellations in the region and make only white wines from Chenin blanc. The wines can vary in sweetness from bone dry (often appearing as sec on the wine label) to very sweet moelleux wines that are often infected by noble rot. The best vintages of the 20th century are 1924, 1947, 1959.

One of our wine makers partner in Vouvray: You will be welcomed to Caves Duhard established in 1874. Its actual owner and wine maker Daniel Gatay is a specialist in mature Vouvray wines. After the tour of the 15th century caves you can participate in a wine tasting of dry, medium dry, sweet and sparkling Vouvray. You can discover a large range of vintages, from 1952 to the present. Made of chenin blanc the Vouvray is a mineral rich wine with a high acidity level witch gives the wine a great aging capacity.

 

Day 14: Paris for 1 night

Drop off car in Paris anytime during the day

1 double room, breakfast & taxes included at Hotel Le Senat****

Located between the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Près, Le Senat hotel is a 1-minute walk from the Luxembourg Gardens. It offers a bar and a reading room with armchairs and sofas. Serviced by a lift and decorated in neutral tones, the rooms at Le Senat are contemporary in style and offer a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. All rooms have complimentary L’Occitane products and some have a balcony with views. Guests can enjoy the buffet breakfast in the Senat breakfast room or relax with a drink in the bar’s leather armchairs. Additional facilities include a 24-hour desk where newspapers are also available. Just a 5-minute walk from Odéon Metro Station, the hotel is ideally located for exploring Paris. Luxembourg RER Station is 1,313 feet away and provides direct access to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

 

Day 15: Departure

Private transfer from hotel to airport

 

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