PRIVATE ESCAPE 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
The Valley of Kings
Castles, medieval fortresses, abbeys, cathedrals: the Loire region is full of treasures. Each one calls to France’s glorious past, that is the envy of the whole world.
Following along the majestic royal river, we discover iconic castles that truly make it “the Valley of Kings”, a nod to Ancient Egypt.
On this land protected by the UNESCO World Heritage list, passionate producers have built orchards, vegetable gardens, cattle and fish farms. The quality and abundance of their products made local cuisine full of softness and refinement.
In Bourgueil, Chinon, Sancerre, Vouvray and Montlouis, the winegrowers of the Loire Valley produce wines that feel mellow and call to idleness and easy living.
"For I was born and raised in the garden of France". Christophe Hay, in his own way, follows the heritage of Rabelais on his land of Loire, through a cuisine combining high gastronomy and terroir.
“From castle to castle, from the prestigious to the humblest, may we find the same delight of creation, architectural wonders and style, as well as a place, a sky, a light, a soul that is everlasting…” Maurice Genevoix
Along the Loire with
The two Michelin-starred Chef invites you to discover “his” Loire Valley. Out of love for his land and because he knows every village, vineyard and producer, he exclusively shares with L’Hedonist his secret spots, local tips and all the places
that bring endless inspiration to his cuisine.
with the Chef
Humble and easy-going, Christophe Hay loves to share his passion for cuisine. In this private cooking class, he reveals his little secrets to make simple dishes with fresh produce from his vegetable garden.
When wine and cheese meet
Wines of the Loire Valley meet regional products, creating a magic spark. Daniel, an oenologist and bon-vivant will make you discover this extraordinary cocktail of taste and smell.
You will taste Chinon wines with their ample and mellow flavours in a family estate, dating back from the 15th century and passed on through generations.
The wonders of tufa stone
Visit a former tufa quarry, which was used to built the Loire castles, now turned into a mushroom farm that houses an astonishing underground city sculpted in stone by the owners' family.
Live the château life
On the frontispiece of the Grotteaux, one can read “Carpe Diem”. With that, all is said about this small elegant castle where every room is decorated with an exquisite taste to make you feel truly at home.
Sleep in a monastery
Take a trip through tradition and modernity by staying at Fontevraud l’Hôtel. The minimalistic and poetic design of this former monastery will give a unique touch to your stay.
Picnic on a French riverboat
On board a gabare, the traditional Loire riverboat, you will experience an unforgettable romantic evening on the Loire river… until nightfall. The menu is composed of local specialities and fresh wine.
Royal honey tasting
The Loire Valley is home to over 3000 apiarists and 60,000 beehives, making it a land of not only wine but honey as well.
A delightful experience.
The caviar of Sologne
In this region where game meat is legion, two siblings made a gamble. Their aim: to locally produce one of the best caviars in the world, which now can be found in the best restaurants of France, including Christophe Hay’s.
This very secret spot is one of a master chocolate-maker who will share his knowledge with you during a workshop in his lovely traditional pastry shop.
. Arrival in Tours, pick-up the rental car at the Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train station
. Lunch at leisure and free visit of the old town of Tours
. Visit at your own convenance the castle of Villandry and its wonderful gardens where you will marvel at the smells and colours (entrance ticket included)
. Continue on to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye and settle in your hotel located in an 11th century monastery
. L’Hedonist recommends the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Cloître du Prieuré that we will happily book for you (to be paid locally)
. Free visit of the Fontevraud abbey and its Modern Art museum (entrance ticket included)
. Walking tour of Montsoreau, one of the loveliest villages in the region
. Lunch at leisure before continuing on to discover the town of Candes-Saint-Martin. Do not miss the perfume shop of Nicolas de Barry!
. Late afternoon, tasting of Chinon wines accompanied with local specialities like rillons, potted meat and goat cheese
. Journey back to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye and dinner at leisure
. Free visit of Azay-le-Rideau, the most romantic of the Loire castles (entrance ticket included)
. Walk around in the village of Crissay-sur-Manse and stop to taste Touraine honey
. Continue on to the Château du Rivau and its fourteen fairytale gardens
. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the park, visit the exhibitions or take a bike tour (additional charge)
. From 7 p.m. the castle is close to the public and free to enjoy for the guests! We recommend having dinner at the Jardin secret, the small gastronomic restaurant located in the castle’s greenhouse (to be paid locally)
. Visit of a tufa quarry and its peculiar underground city
. Chocolate workshop in a bakery founded in 1913, a local institution
. Continue on to Huisseau-sur-Cosson, with a stop at a small farm that produces delicious goat cheeses you will be able to taste
. Arrival at Château des Grotteaux. L’Hedonist can book for you a dinner at the marvelous one Michelin starred restaurant at Les Hauts de Loire by Chef Dominique Pépin (to be paid locally)
. Meet with your private guide for a visit of the city of Blois: the old town, the castle and the modern art museum Fondation du Doute.
. Accompanied by our ambassador, private wine tasting of Gamay and Sauvignon wines
. Late afternoon, meet with the owner of the Grotteaux castle for an exclusive visit
. L’Hedonist recommends Le Favori in hotel “Les Sources de Cheverny” for your dinner, a delicious restaurant located ten miles from the Grotteaux (to be paid locally)
. Meet at Fleur de Loire, on the riverside in Blois
. First stop: the Chef’s vegetable garden where you will pick the ingredients for your workshop
. Master class with Christophe Hay followed by a lunch of your own cooking
. Visit of the castle of Chaumont (entrance ticket included, no guide) and its gardens full of work of arts
. Meet with L’Hedonist ambassador after your visit
. Embark in a riverboat for a private dinner along the Loire and sample vintage wines
. Continue on to the Sologne region to taste the local caviar
. Free visit of Chambord (entrance ticket included). Optional: safari in the park (additional charge)
. Lunch at leisure
. Gastronomic dinner at Restaurant Christophe Hay, where the Chef and his brigade will delight you with their delicate dishes (drinks to be paid locally)
. Sound and light show at the castle of Blois
. Meet Annie, the talented ceramist who created some of Christophe Hay’s dinnerware
. Lunch at leisure
. Depending on your train, journey back to the Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train station
. Drop-off the rental car
Clients are advised to drink responsibly.