Chambord castle and horseback riders

Castles of the Loire Valley

Explore the Loire Valleyon horseback and discover some of the most impressive Renaissance castles of France, including Chambord, Chenonceau and Cheverny. Embark on a trail ride across the French countryside in a region that provides excellent riding grounds, mounted on quality horses. With knowledgeable guides, learn about the history of France from the 14th to the 16th Century and marvel at the beauty of the Chateaux of the Loire Valley.
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Trail Riding
8 days (6 on horseback)
From £1,565
  • Group of riders on a trail to Chambord castle and the castles of the Loire Valley
    Posing for a photo in front of Chambord Castle!
  • Riders in medieval costumes in front of a castle in the Loire Valley
    This trail ride is also a cultural experience
  • Riding holidays in the Loire Valley with Chambord Castle
    An extraordinary cultural and equestrian experience
  • Beauregard castle, France
    Beauregard castle, France
  • 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
  • Riders on horseback in the woods near Chenonceau
    Ride across bridleways - this is ideal riding terrain
  • Horseback riders in Chenonceau, Loire Valley renaissance castle
    On horseback in Chenonceau
  • Cheverny castle in the Loire Valley, western France
    Cheverny Castle, Loire Valley

Itinerary

Highlights

- An excellent selection of horses, most of them born and trained at the farm. Some of them compete at TREC events at the high level.
- A very competent guide, several times medallist in the World TREC Championship.
- The opportunity to visit the Loire Valley Castles (Chambord, Chenonceau, Le Close Lucé... - tickets not included) and learn about the history of France during the Renaissance period.
- Comfortable accommodation in hotels and guesthouses
- A shorter, centre-based 4-day ride is also available: please see "Short break in the Loire Valley"
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - BLOIS CHAMBORD - EQUESTRIAN FARM

    Fly to Paris, then take a train to Blois-Chambord train station from Austerlitz station (c. 1h30). From the station you are taken to the equestrian centre where you will meet the team and horses.

    Dinner and night in a guesthouse in Courmemin.
  • Day 2 2 : CHATEAU DE CHAMBORD - 5-7h hours riding

    Hôtel du Château
    Today is your first day with the horses across the Sologne, punctuated by beautiful lakes and forests. Lunch will be on the river Beuvron banks in Bracieux, close to a small XIVth century church. You then discover your first (but not last!) castle of the week: the magnificent Chambord! A hunting lodge built by Francis I of France in the XVIth century, Chambord boasts a very distinctive French renaissance architecture and is the largest chateau in the Loire Valley.

    Free visit (1h30) of the chateau before you rejoin with the horses (ticket not included). You ride back to Villesavin castle where the horses spend the night. Dinner and night in a 3*** hotel in Tour en Sologne.
  • Day 3 3 : CHATEAU DE VILLESAVIN - 5-7 hours riding

    Hôtel Relais des Landes
    While the horses enjoy some rest this morning, you are free to visit Chateau de Villesavin (ticket not included), a 16th-century country house, which is privately owned with several museums open to the public. You then ride on to the smaller chateau of Beauregard (15th Century).

    Dinner and night in a 3*** hotel in the small rural village of Ouchamps.
  • Day 4 4 : CHAUMONT SUR LOIRE - 5-7 hours riding

    Le Domaine des Thomeaux
    Leaving Ouchamps to cross the river Beuvron in Candé, you reach the Loire river banks and the majestic castle of Chaumont sur Loire. Chaumont sur Loire was built on the ruins of an old fortress ordered by the count of Blois, to protect his castle from invasions. Lunch is followed by a visit to the castle and its famous gardens (1h30, ticket not included), where you can admire its beautiful (albeit small!) stables and its riding arena. In the afternoon you ride along the Loire banks to reach the village of Mosnes.

    Dinner and night in a 3*** hotel.
  • Day 5 5 : LE CLOS LUCE - CHENONCEAU - 5-7 hours riding

    On day five, you keep riding along the Loire banks heading towards Amboise. You can admire its beautiful castle overlooking the village and have lunch in Le Clos Lucé. This gorgeous Renaissance mansion has been the last home of the well known Leonardo Da Vinci. It also houses the Da Vinci inventions museum (tickets not included). After the visit, you leave the Loire heading towards the south to reach the incredible chateau of Chenonceau, an architectural mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance. It is the second most visited chateau in France and has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison with Versailles!

    Dinner and night in a hotel in Chenonceau.
  • Day 6 6 : CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU - 5-7 hours riding

    Hôtel Relais des Landes
    The day starts with a visit to the chateau de Chenonceau and gardens (1 hour, ticket not included). You then ride through the immense forests of the Touraine country, with great opportunities for good, fast riding. After a light country lunch and a short nap, you ride back to Ouchamps where you have dinner and spend the night.
  • Day 7 7 : CHATEAU DE CHEVERNY - 5-7 hours riding

    On your last day, you leave the Touraine country behind, riding back into Sologne. Discover Cheverny castle (ticket not included) - Marlinspike Hall, Captain Haddock's country house in the Adventure of Tintin, was modelled after the central section of the Chateau. You then head back home through game breeding parks where you might be fortunate enough to sight deer or wild boar... Arrival at the stable for 6:00 PM. Dinner and night at a guesthouse.
  • Day 8 8 : EQUESTRIAN FARM - PARIS - EUROPE

    Departure after breakfast. You will be taken to the train station Blois-Chambord.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. There is no airport in Blois but you can fly to Paris and catch a train from the airport to Blois. Please contact us if you need assistance organising your transportation to Blois.

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

- Groups are made up of 2 to 8 international 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 of approx. €420/£365. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. Depending on availability, a single room is not always possible.

- Return transfers from/to Blois Chambord train station are €40 each way, payable locally.

- Entrance tickets to the Castles are not included. Count around €10-€20 per castle - bring cash as not every place will accept cards.

- Non riders are welcome on this ride. We will organise a bike rental with GPS while the group rides.

- There is the possibility to spend additional nights the day before or after the ride - please contact us. We have included accommodation on the last night but it is also possible to leave after 6:00 pm on day 7 - in which case we will deduce the cost of this night from your invoice.

- Young riders 12 yo + are welcome on the ride if they are accompanied by an adult.

- Please note that a shorter itinerary is also possible (2days/1night, 3days/2nights or 4days/3nights), please contact us.

- There is a rider weight limit of 14.2 stone / 200 lbs / 90kg on this ride.
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

Logistics

1 cook
1 support vehicle
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider

Accommodation

Double room - guesthouse or hotels

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8. Wine at dinner in reasonable quantities

Additional equipment

Saddle bags

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras

Transport

International flights

Extras

Site entry fees
Small group supplement - see above for the details

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

Transport

Transfers from the train station
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    18/06/2021 25/06/2021 £1,565 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • July - August 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/07/2021 09/07/2021 £1,565 Guaranteed departure Book now
    02/08/2021 09/08/2021 £1,565 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    10/09/2021 17/09/2021 £1,565 Guaranteed departure Book now
    16/10/2021 23/10/2021 £1,565 Guaranteed departure Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

A small herd of horses used to living outside. They are calm and patient and compete at TREC events at a high level.

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.

Helmets are mandatory. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info

Comfort

Nights will be in comfortable guesthouses and hotels, twin or double rooms. Most of the accommodation is of 3* standards but two nights are also spent in a 4* hotel.

Some of the hotels have a heated pool.
WiFi is available throughout the ride.

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.

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.

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
- Swimsuit (some of the hotels have pools)
- 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

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.