Riders riding across vineyards in France

Between the Loire and the Cher rivers

Embark on a riding journey and travel in time as you explore the beautiful castles and stone villages of the French countryside. Between the Loire and the Cher rivers you will ride along beautiful landscapes, including the banks of the Loire – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this holiday, try the local cuisine and enjoy unique French wines with a visit to a quaint wine cellar. This centre-based holiday in the Loire Valley is suitable for riders that want to experience France at its finest and learn about local history combined with beautiful landscapes without compromising on levels of comfort.
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Centre based holidays
5 days / 5 days riding
From £1,030
  • Riders discovering Chenonceau, Loire Valley, on horseback
    Discover Chenonceau in the saddle
  • Gallery on the birdge, Chenonceau, on the Cher river
    The gallery on the bridge at Chenonceau in the Loire Valley
  • Riders near a village in France and next to a river
    Ride to medieval villages and along rivers
  • Chaumont Castle in Chaumont sur Loire
    Chaumont Castle, one of the Castles of the Loire Valley
  • Horses in the Loire Valley
    The horses are calm and patient and compete at TREC events at a high level
  • Riders in the Loire Valley along the Cher river
    A fantastic trail ride in the Loire Valley
  • Riders riding across vineyards in France
    Riding holiday in the Loire Valley, France

Itinerary

Highlights

- Visit some of the most famous castles of the Loire Valley on this holiday including Chaumont, a magnificent Renaissance castle overlooking the Loire.
- Ride alongside the banks of the Loire – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Enjoy a wine tasting experience in Troglo Degusto, an underground quarry converted into a quaint wine cellar!
  • Day 1 1: The Loire Valley - Approx. 3-4 hours riding

    Le Domaine des Thomeaux
    Note: We advise international riders to arrive at least one day earlier since the itinerary starts in the early morning of the first day. If you need us to organise additional nights just before the ride, as well as transfers from Blois, this is possible: please check the “dates and prices” tab.

    Plan to arrive at the Hotel (Domaine des Thomeaux) for around 8:30 am to meet the guides and your assigned horse for the week. Today you will be riding towards the castle of Chaumont, a former medieval fortress, which is now a magnificent Renaissance castle overlooking the Loire. Admire the banks of the Loire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before reaching the castle for lunch. In the afternoon, ride across the Ile de la Folie before arriving at your hotel,where you will enjoy a delightful dinner.
  • Day 2 2: Montrichard forest – Troglodyte Cellar - Approx. 3-4 hours riding

    Le Domaine des Thomeaux
    Today you will be riding south-east through the Montrichard forest. Leave the banks of the Loire to join those of the Cher. Stop for a lunch break in the heart of the forest.
    Ride along the typical stone villages of Tuffaut to reach Bourré in the middle of the afternoon. This is where the horses will stay for the night. You will continue your day with a tour of Troglo Degusto, where you will learn about this quaint place that was used as a mushroom cellar, and its many tunnels that were used by the Resistance during WW2. End your day with a wine tasting experience and some other local specialities.

    Get back to the hotel and enjoy dinner before some well-deserved rest.
  • Day 3 3: Aiguevive Abbey – Montpoupon Castle - Approx. 4 hours riding

    Le Domaine des Thomeaux
    After breakfast, you will make your way to the south bank of the Cher river to reach the Touraine/Indre border and the Lochois country. You will have lunch at the foot of Aiguevive’s Abbey, a remnant of the 11th century, and then arrive at the Montpoupon castle where the horses are staying overnight. You will get to explore this small castle before heading back to the hotel.
  • Day 4 4: Cher Valley – Chateau Chenonceau - Approx. 4 hours riding

    Le Domaine des Thomeaux
    Today you will meet the horses in the Montpoupon and from there ride in the beautiful landscapes of South Touraine and the Pays Lochois. Stop for a picnic in the forest and then ride towards the Chateau Chenonceau. The castle is beautifully furnished and the interiors are very well maintained. Enjoy the French gardens and its famous gallery spanning the Cher.
    After the visit you will be transferred to the overnight location.
  • Day 5 5: Amboise - Rilly - Approx. 4 hours riding

    Today you will be transferred to Amboise (1H30) a former royal city to visit its castle. After the visit, you will meet the horses and ride to Souvigny de Touraine where you will stop to have a picnic lunch followed by a great afternoon riding through beautiful sceneries before arriving at Rilly.
    After the traditional “pot de l’amitié” (drinks!), the perfect setting to say your goodbyes to the local team, transfer to the train station for trains leaving after 7:30 pm.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights and transportation to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 international riders and a maximum of 8 riders, plus guides.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement on sight of approx. $175/€160/£135.

- Transfer to and from Blois-Chambord train station is possible ($45/€40/£35 per vehicle and per journey), to be paid on site.
The transfer usually takes place between 18:00 and 19:00 (the night before – in which case an extra night is required – morning transfers cannot be arranged). The return transfer will be arranged in the late afternoon, please book a train departing after 7.30pm. If you choose to stay for an extra night, transfers in the morning by our local team are not possible but there is a reliable taxi service (expect to pay around €80-90)

- Possibility of an extra night (in a shared room, half board) before and after the tour: $95/€90/£75 person per night ($140/€130/£110 in a single room). An extra night before the tour is compulsory if you wish to take advantage of the transfers from the station.

- Children, accompanied by an adult, are welcome from the age of 12- provided they have the required level of riding ability.

- Rider weight limit: 90kg / 14st 2lbs / 198lbs.

- Entrance to the castles cost between €10-€20 per castle. Please bring cash as some do not accept credit cards.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide

Accommodation

Double room in a 3* standard hotel

Meals

Full board from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 5

Price doesn't include

Meals

Personal extras

Transport

International flights
Transfers from/to the train station in Blois

Extras

Tips to the local team

Insurance

Visas and personal purchase
Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    10/07/2023 14/07/2023 £1,030 €1,213 $1,205 Open Book now
    17/07/2023 21/07/2023 £1,030 €1,213 $1,205 Open Book now
    24/07/2023 28/07/2023 £1,030 €1,213 $1,205 Open Book now
    14/08/2023 18/08/2023 £1,030 €1,213 $1,205 Open Book now
    21/08/2023 25/08/2023 £1,030 €1,213 $1,205 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

The horses are hardy and patient. Many compete at a high level in TREC. They are kept outside during the warmer months and in the stables in the winter.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be at least an intermediate rider, capable of riding a sensible horse at all paces in the outdoors. There are more spirited horses available for experienced riders.

There is a rider weight limit of 14.2 stone/ 200 lbs/ 90kgs.

Pace

The pace is varied to include trots, canters and possible gallops. Some of the canters can be long and across varied terrain so you need to be secure in the saddle.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be asked to assist with grooming, tacking and un-tacking your horse.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You should have experience riding outdoors on trails and be confident riding in open spaces. You need to be fit enough for some long canters.

Equestrian equipment

Comfortable trail saddles. The saddlepads have pockets to store small items.
We recommend you bring your own helmet.

Travel info

Comfort

Accommodation is at Domaine des Thomeaux, a 3*** hotel near Amboise. It is a beautiful 18th century manorhouse built with tufa stone, combining tradition and modernity, originality and character. (If this hotel is not available, a hotel of similar standards will be arranged).

Meals

Breakfast: bread, butter and jam, tea/coffee and juice.
Lunch: picnic lunches with quiches, salads, cured meats, cheese, dessert and coffee.
Dinner: dinners will be taken at the hotels. Wine offered in reasonable quantities and more drinks can be purchased directly at the restaurant.

Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

Climate

The Sologne region has a continental climate that can be wet and cold in the winter, with warm, dry summers. Expect temperatures up to 25°C in the summer.

Guide and local team

Ken has been working with the equestrian farm for over 15 years. He knows the area extremely well and will be happy to share his knowledge with his guests. He is an excellent horseman and guide and has participated in several World TREC Championships, with gold medals in both the individual and team categories. He is accompanied by a team of qualified trail guides.

Tips

In France, it is customary to tip at coffees and restaurants - usually this is by rounding up the price and not mandatory. You may wish to leave a tip with the guide who can split it amongst all members of the team - this is not obligatory and is entirely at your discretion.

Packing list

Head
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel...) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain
- Warm hat for cold evenings/days

Upper body
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Waterproof jacket (made from Goretex or equivalent) and/ or (depending on the season) a waterproof vest that covers you thighs.

Legs
- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers (made from Goretex or equivalent), especially if you don't have a long waterproof coat
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Other useful items
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Small torch for moving around at night
- Toiletries
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Small plastic bags for your rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Other recommendations:
- In your hand luggage: Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc). Saddlepads have pockets for small items too.
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Visa & Health

Formalities

UK citizens - other nationalities please contact us:

Visas
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter France. The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to France and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- the 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in France or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control for France, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

For up-to-date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements

Health

UK Citizens: A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.