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Le plus célèbre des châteaux de la Loire, Chambord, une visite royale avec Hiddenist


Itinerary in the Loire Châteaux

The Valley of Kings 

In 1534, when French writer Rabelais chose the picturesque town of Chinon as the setting for his book Gargantua, he made it the capital of philosophy, free thought, and the art of easy living. Centuries later, the spirit of this literary giant still lingers the Centre of France region, where time seems to stand still. Castles, medieval fortresses, abbeys, cathedrals: the wealth of the Loire Valley is staggering, offering a journey through history coveted by the world.  

Following along the majestic royal river Loire, we uncover castles that truly make it "the Valley of Kings", almost a nod to Ancient Egypt. 


Life unfolds gently in this region of bucolic landscapes protected by the Unesco World Heritage List. The Loire Valley has something for everyone. Sporty visitors hop on their bicycles and ponder their maps to reach the most beautiful châteaux: Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Amboise, Chambord... It’s quite a challenge to choose! Meanwhile, bon vivants stroll through the prettiest villages in France, or relax on the terrace of a café, enjoying a glass of wine. History buffs marvel at all the great figures that contributed to the region's fame: Marie de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Diane de Poitiers, Richard the Lionheart– each leaving their mark on which castle. 


Even nature itself joins in the grandeur. In Chaumont-sur-Loire, Villandry, Cheverny, and Blois, master landscape artists crafted the world's most exquisite gardens for the kings and queens of France. These jardins à la française, perfectly synchronized with the monuments, leave visitors with vibrant and aromatic memories to cherish. 

Yet, the lands along the Loire River have also been shaped by orchards, vegetable gardens, cattle, and fish farms tended by small-scale producers. For centuries, the quality and abundance of their harvests have enriched regional cuisine with gentle flavors and refinement. Sologne asparagus, black truffles from the Berry region, dried pears from Rivarennes... an endless array of local delicacies. 

One night at Château du Rivau during your gourmet Hiddenist trip
Tapestry at Château de Chambord, showcasing all the splendor of the Loire Valley castles

Wine and French cuisine take on all their terroir substance in this land blessed by kings. Vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, nourished by sandy, limestone, tufa, and clay soils, graced with an exceptionally temperate climate.The result is an exquisite variety of fresh, still wines. Think Chinon, Gamay, Cheverny, Bourgueil, Vouvray, and Montlouis—the roster of vineyards is nothing short of dizzying. These wines are cultivated with fervor by a new generation of winemakers who have earned the full confidence of Christophe Hay.  


The proud “chef-farmer” boldly embraces his Rabelaisian legacy into every facet of this exclusive escapade, seamlessly blending gourmet delights with castles visits. An exquisite experience not to be missed, indulged in without restraint! 

"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 

Le château de Blois dans le Val de Loire, un voyage Hiddenist au coeur des châteaux
The Hiddenist travel map through the Loire Valley castles

Along the Loire Valley
with Christophe Hay

The two Michelin-starred chef invites you to discover "his" Loire Valley. Born into a family of five generations of farmers, near Vendôme, Christophe Hay spent his childhood immersed in the splendor of châteaux and the art of fine dining, as Rabelais once depicted. Out of love for his region and because he knows every village, vineyard and local producer, he shares his insider secrets exclusively with Hiddenist. These hidden gems inspire his culinary artistry, which delicately interweaves the flavors of the Loire terroir with masterful technique. 

Les charmants villages de Touraine et du Pays de Loire
Une croisière en gabare sur la Loire, une expérience inédite pendant un voyage Hiddenist dans la vallée de la Loire

DAY 1 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Discover at leisure the city of Tours, a great stop on your way to the Loire castles, with its half-timbered houses and picturesque plazas of Plumereau and Châteauneuf 

. Visit Villandry Castle and its spectacular gardens – some of the most beautiful in all of France, on par with the gardens of Versailles 

. Settle in your hotel inside the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud 


DAY 2 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Visit of Fontevraud Royal Abbey and its Modern Art Museum 

. Take a stroll in some local villages: Montsoreau, Candes-Saint-Martin.... some of the most beautiful villages in France.  

. Wine tasting of Chinon wines accompanied with specialties of the Touraine region, in a family estate 


DAY 3 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Visit the castle of Azay-le-Rideau, one of our favorites in the Loire Valley, the finest of Renaissance architecture and refined interiors, surrounded by water 

. Honey tasting in Crissay-sur-Manse 

. Settle at Chateau du Rivau for the night and spend your free afternoon visiting the large park and exhibition rooms. After 7pm, the castle’s all yours to visit! Possibility to dine on site.  


DAY 4 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Near Tours, visit a tufa stone quarry turned into a mushroom farm in the 19th century. Rare mushroom varieties inhabit the peculiar underground city 

. Chocolate workshop in a 1913 pastry shop 

. Stop at one of Christophe Hay’s suppliers on your way back, a farm that produces delicious goat cheese you can find at his restaurant 

DAY 5 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Visit of the Blois old town with a private tour guide, the favorite residence of 17 kings and queens of France, with a stop in front of La Fondation du Doute 

. In the afternoon, discover a vineyard halfway between the Loire and the Cher River. After your tour of the domain and wine cellar, have a wine tasting of Gamay and Sauvignon wines 

. Meet with the owner of the Chateau des Grotteaux estate for an exclusive tour of the vineyard 


DAY 6 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Meet up at Fleur de Loire, for a morning with Michelin star chef Christophe Hay. Take a stroll in the Chef’s vegetable garden where you will pick the ingredients for your cooking class, and enjoy a lunch 

. Discover Chaumont-sur-Loire, castle of Diane de Poitiers, famous for this illustrious figure but above all, its gardens. Since 1992, the International Garden Festival is a meeting place for creative landscapers, decorating the gardens with their green fantasies 

. Meet with an Hiddenist ambassador at the Chaumont-sur-Loire port and embark in a riverboat for a private picnic dinner along the Loire, with vintage wine tasting and local specialties 


DAY 7 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Journey to the Sologne region for a private tasting of "made in France" caviar 

. Visit at leisure of Chambord Castle, one of the most beautiful in France, built by Francis I, with its famous double-spiral staircase invented by Leonardo da Vinci. A 4x4 drive through the estate with a nature expert is possible (with extra charge).  

. Gastronomic 9-course dinner at Restaurant Christophe Hay, 2 Michelin-starred with a beautiful view of the Loire River (drinks to be paid on site)  

. If you want to, it’s possible to attend the sound & light show at Blois Castle after your dinner at Fleur de Loire 


DAY 8 - Itinerary in the Loire Valley 

. Meet the talented ceramist who created the dinnerware of Restaurant Christophe Hay

Please drink responsibly  

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