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Caves to Castles – a Journey along the Loire

1 April 2025 - 5 April 2025

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If you would like to register your interest, please email [email protected] or phone
0770 288 7383.


The Loire valley is one of the great artistic centres of the world, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In glorious scenery, scattered along the length of the river, are some 300 chateaux, some small, some vast, some emblems of military might, some celebrations of luxury and personal vanity/splendour, but all representing the significance of the area in the culture and history of France. Set in one of the best-known wine-growing areas, a unique feature of the area are the cave-homes, some inhabited for centuries, and a visit to a troglodyte village is included.


Based on 15 participants and strictly limited

£2,950.00   per person sharing a twin/double room

£700.00       deposit is needed to confirm your place



£285.00       single room supplement


The price includes:

Lecturing throughout by Nicole Mezey

Services of Tour Manager throughout

Return scheduled Eurostar tickets from London St. Pancras to Gare du Nord (economy) Paris

4 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at 4* Chateau Belmont, Tours

City Taxes throughout

1 lunch in local restaurant on departure day

Full programme of visits

All luxury coach transport in France as per itinerary

All entrance charges and fees for visits as per itinerary

Vox audio headsets



The price does not include:

Lunches (Days 1, 2, 3, 4)

Teas or coffees during any mid-morning/mid-afternoon breaks


Any incidental and personal expenditure (laundry/telephone etc)

Taxis or other transport not specified

Personal insurance



Nicole Mezey

Nicole studied at the Universities of Sussex, York and Paris before becoming Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she established the Department of Art History and worked extensively with adult students on part-time degrees and Open Learning programmes. Nicole is currently a freelance lecturer for The Arts Society, the National Museum of Northern Ireland, Queen’s University and the National Trust.  Her publications focus on adult education and the arts. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.



Chateau Belmont, Tours (4 nights)

57 Rue Groison, Tours 37100, France

4* https://www.chateaubelmont.com/en/

This historically significant chateau is a 17th-century building surrounded by a 6 acre park, once planted with vineyards due to its south-facing exposure. It served as a hospital during the war of 1870. After the war, Baroness Tellier de Blanrier acquired the property and the vineyards made way for apple trees that produced cider for over sixty years. Subsequent owners, passionate about flowers, decided to transform the estate into a research facility for tulips. In 1987, Jean and Sophie Bardet opened a restaurant and Jean, a renowned chef, offered gourmet cuisine. In 2008, the AEGIDE group inaugurated its first hotel here. Its luxurious and timeless elegance has every amenity.

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1   1 APRIL 2025


Independent travel arrangements to St Pancras International Station in London, where we will be met by our Tour Manager.

Depart on an early morning Eurostar service to the Gare du Nord, Paris.

Upon arrival, transfer to local coach for journey to Tours (c. 230 kms, around 3.5 hours). A refreshment stop will be made en route.

Check in to Hotel

Welcome Dinner in hotel


DAY 2    2 APRIL 2025


Visit Chateau Chenonceau

This most romantic of retreats crosses the river Cher, reflected in its waters, and is often called the “Castle of Ladies”, from Catherine Bohier, responsible for its early stages, to Diane de Poitiers, beloved mistress of Henri II, to his vengeful wife, Catherine de Medici, who each embellished it in their turn and added exquisite gardens.

Lunch local restaurant

Chateau Amboise

Favoured royal residence for almost 200 years, two wings remain of what was once a vast enclave, site of both great festivities and horrors. Here we can track the movement of architectural style from Gothic to Renaissance and see the alleged grave of Leonardo da Vinci, who spent his last years in the town.

A wine tasting will also be included

Dinner in hotel


DAY 3     3 APRIL 2025


Visit Chateau of Chinon

One the great surviving fortresses, bastion of local power, last prison of the Templar Knights, cherished refuge of English and, then, French kings.  It was here that Joan of Arc sought out Charles VII and persuaded him to put her at the head of his army.

Lunch local restaurant

Visit Chateau Azay-le-Rideau

From majestic defensive structures we move to one of the jewels of the Renaissance, a fairy-tale castle, domestic, enchanting, a luxurious, richly-decorated palace rather than a fortress, apparently floating on the river waters and set in landscaped gardens.

Dinner in hotel


DAY 4     4 APRIL 2025



Visit the Angers Castle

The largely 13th century Angers castle looms over the city, symbol of the power of the region’s rulers and in its time fortress, palace and prison. It is also home to the most breathtaking medieval survival – the renown cycle of Apocalypse tapestries, completed for the Duke of Anjou in 1380.

Lunch local restaurant

Visit Rochemenier

An underground village, inhabited from the 13th to the 20th century including two farms and a chapel.

Dinner in hotel


DAY 5     5 APRIL 2025


Check out of the hotel

Visit Chateau Chambord

Nothing prepares one for the scale and splendour of Chambord. Constructed by Francois I, it was conceived as an emblem of his magnificence, his symbol stamped everywhere, and the ultimate focus of his presence and power in the Loire and across France.

Lunch local restaurant

Transfer by private coach to Gare du Nord, Paris for early evening Eurostar to St. Pancras, London.

Booking Information

For further information:

Contact: Mary Bromley

Telephone: 0770 288 7383

Email[email protected]

Write: The Course, 105 William Court, 6 Hall Road, London NW8 9PB


This tour is organised by Heritage Group Travel who are responsible for all the arrangements. Please refer to Heritage Group Travel Booking Terms and Conditions which can be sent upon request. The Company holds ABTOT number 5093 and AITO licence number 5060 for your protection. This itinerary is subject to change should local conditions or unexpected restrictions occur. As the tour is arranged many months in advance visits may be subject to amendment.


1 April 2025
5 April 2025
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