- Attend private clinics and guided rides around the famous eventing course
- Trail riding following the river Loire and see the sights that unfold along the way
- See the beautiful Notre-Dame de Cunault, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture
- Stay in luxurious accommodation with fine dining
- Enjoy a spectacular ride with an experienced and knowledgeable guide
- See the Chateau de Saumur, built at the confluence of the Loire and the Thouet
Day 1 1: London - SaumurTravelling from London St Pancras you will arrive at Saumur train station in the afternoon and be driven to the hotel - alternatively, you can make your own way by car.
For your first night, you will stay in Hotel Anne d'Anjou, a private 18th century mansion found in the very heart of historic Saumur at the foot of the chateau on the banks of the Loire.
A visit to the Chateau of Saumur will be possible (included).
Over dinner you will meet your guide and discuss the plan for the week ahead.
Day 2 2: Chateau de Saumur - Cadre Noir Saint Hilaire st Florent - 4 hours ridingYour ride will start in front of the magnificent Château de Saumur and take you to the heights of Saint Hilaire Saint Florent where the prestigious Cadre Noir and the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation (French National Riding School) are located. You will have lunch at the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation before enjoying a private ride inside.
You will ride around the eventing course in the Hippodrome de Verrie and have the chance to see, from horseback, the jumps used in the International 3 days events that take place there.
You will then have a private guided visit of the Cadre Noir and Ecole Nationale d'Equitation stables.
In the evening, you will have an apéritif in Bar le Canter, frequented by riders and champions.
After a full day, you will return to the Hotel Anne d'Anjou.
Day 3 3: Cadre Noir - Chenehutte - Trèves - 3-4 hours ridingIn the morning, you will attend a private clinic with an ecuyer at the Cadre Noir de Saumur. You will be given an insight into French riding traditions and their uses in the education of dressage horses. Lunch will be at the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation.
You will ride through the countryside and enjoy spectacular views across the Loire as well as visiting the Romanesque churches of Chenehutte and Trèves.
Day 4 4: Chenehutte - Cunault - Gennes - Saumur - 4,5 hours ridingAfter breakfast, you will head out to visit a masterpiece of Romanesque art, Prieuriale of Notre Dame de Cunault. You will stop for lunch at the l'Aubergade restaurant in Gennes. The afternoon will be spent riding through the Loire countryside, passing remnants of Neolithic architecture.
An aperitif and dinner will be had on a traditional river boat cruising from Chenehutte to Saumur. You will spend the night in a 15th century stately home, Hotel Saint Pierre in Saumur.
Day 5 5: Saumur - Marson - Parc miniature Pierre et Lumière - Cadre Noir - 4 hours ridingYour ride, starting from the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation, will follow wonderful sandy trails through the village of Marson (inhabited BC). There you will have the opportunity to visit troglodyte habitations, the Romanesque chapel and have a look at the private chateau.
Following lunch in a troglodyte restaurant, your ride will continue to the underground sculptures of Pierre et Lumière; here statues have been carved into the limestone of a labyrinth of caves and you will find the home of the museum of mushrooms.
In the evening, you will attend a gala at the famous Cadre Noir de Saumur and a gourmet diner in Saumur.
Day 6 6: Saumur - LondonAfter breakfast, you will leave for Saumur station and take the train back to London St Pancras or alternatively you can make your own way to the Saumur station by car.
Dates & prices
- Flights/ferry/train to France are not included
- Rides are confirmed for a minimum of 4 and maximum of 10 people. There is a small group supplement for groups of less than 5 riders:
If 4 people in the group: approx. £135 per person (2020: €150/£135)
If 3 people in the group: approx. £265 per person (2020: €300/£275)
If 2 people in the group: approx. £615 per person (2020: €700/£640)
- Transfer from/to Saumur train station is not included (around €20 by car each way)
- There is a single supplement payable if you would prefer not to share. This is approx. £590 for the week. (2020: €504/£458).
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 doesn't include
Train station transfers
There is a rider weight limit 100kg/ 15 stones 9lbs.
They are ridden in English tack and all have saddlebags to keep your sun tan cream, glasses etc.
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit
Lunch will be had either in restaurants in the villages you're riding through or at the Equestrian school. For your evening meals and aperitifs, you will experience gourmet meals in your hotels' restaurants, onboard a river boat and at the Cadre Noir.
Guide and local team
- You are required to wear a riding helmet and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold
- 2 Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for moving around the camp in the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar.
- 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 (passport, camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- 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!
- Dinners will be had at gourmet restaurants and you should dress accordingly.
Other useful items
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
In your hold luggage
- take any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Any medication you regularly take
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
Visa & Health
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.
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
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.
For up-to-date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements
Did you know?
Did you know?
Origins of the School
At the end of the 16th century, Duplessis Mornay founded a protestant university in Saumur, and a horsemanship academy was managed here by Monsieur de Saint-Vual. In 1763, King Louis XV entrusted the Duke of Choiseul with the reorganization of the French cavalry. "The finest school in the world" thus came into being on the Place du Chardonnet to welcome officers and non-commissioned officers in charge of instruction in the cavalry regiments. It remained in operation until 1788.
School of Saumur
The School of Saumur was first opened in 1814. It consisted of a military school and a second school where the principles of military horsemanship were taught. "Airs relevés,' a 'high-step" style, was officially practiced here.
In 1828, at the first carrousel, the elite performed jumper and instructor lessons. On this occasion they wore a hat specific to the school called the 'lampion' or 'bicorne' (two-horned, due to its shape). However, riders were not yet in black dress. It was first introduced in the reign of Louis-Philippe.
And that was how the Cadre Noir was born. It trained the elite of the riding instructors for the Cavalry School.
In 1972, the French National Horse-Riding School was set up around the Cadre Noir, a training body for horses and riders that focussed on studying and teaching. They were also in charge of maintaining horsemanship in the pure French tradition.
The Ecuyers (riding instructors) belong to the Cadre Noir of Saumur and are the actual teaching staff at the French National Horse-Riding School who are responsible for training and perfecting the horse-riding elite.It has been a part of the Institut Français du Cheval et de l'Équitation since 2010.