Normandy and the Loire
Join us in France for a truly behind-the-scenes experience in Normandy and the Loire with the de Valbray family, who will open their homes and their hearts to us as we live “la vie de château” in their exquisite family châteaux. We will begin our week in Normandy at the lovely 16th-century Château de St. Paterne with Charles-Henry and Segolène de Valbray, where we will spend three glorious days experiencing the very best of what Normandy has to offer. As we leave Normandy for the Loire, we will stop at the Abbey de Solesmes to hear the Benedictine monks sing their beautiful gregorian chants. And then, brother François and Hedwig de Valbray will welcome us for lunch at their 18th-century Château des Briottières, which will be our home for the next two nights as we explore the western Loire around Angers, visiting several other splendid châteaux. Our final two days will be in Saumur at the 19th-century Château de Verrières, home of sister Yolaine and Thierry de Valbray-Auger who will again welcome us into their home as dear friends. Everywhere we go we will be invited into private homes and introduced to France as only the French people know it. And, all week long, we will have the most marvelous food and wine and the most unique opportunities for antiquing, shopping, and exploring. Chatelain Charles-Henry de Valbray and Patti Ravenscroft, founder of Les Liaisons Délicieuses, will be our guides all week for this extraordinary adventure.
• Early Afternoon arrival at the train station in Le Mans.
• Visit the historic city of Le Mans and its celebrated medieval cathedral.
• Festive welcome dinner at the Château de St. Paterne (www.chateau-saintpaterne.com) with Charles-Henry and Segolène de Valbray.
• Morning visit to the picturesque St. Ceneri le Gerei – listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
• Lunch at the home of an antique dealer in the Perche region.
• Afternoon cooking class at home with Monique DuVeau, top food stylist for Coté Sud Magazine.
• Instead of the cooking class, an optional afternoon of golf is available for those who prefer links to stoves (additional fee).
• In the evening, we will feast on our creations in Monique’s lovely dining room.
• Experience history firsthand with visits to the Peace Memorial and Museum in Caen, the Normandy Beaches, the American Cemetary, and the celebrated Tapestries of Bayeaux.
• Dinner at Château de St. Paterne.
• Leave for the Loire after breakfast
• Morning visit to the Abbey de Solesmes, where we will hear the Benedictine monks sing Gregorian chants.
• Lunch at the Château des Briottières with Charles-Henry’s borhter, François de Valbray (www.briottieres.com).
• Afternoon visit to the privately owned Château du Plessis Bourré.
• Festive welcome dinner at the Château des Briottières.
• Morning visit to the old city of Angers followed by lunch at a restaurant on the banks of the Loire.
• An afternoon of antiquing.
• Late afternoon visit to the Musée Cointreau.
• Dinner in a private château of good friends of François.
• Morning visit to the Musée Tapisserie de l’Apocalypse.
• Arrival at the Château de Verrières in the late morning.
• Lunch at Les Caves de la Genevrie, a troglodyte restaurant followed by a visit to a friend’s private troglodyte château.
• Afternoon cooking class with Yolaine de Valbray.
• Festive welcome dinner at the Château de Verrières.
• Morning free to visit the shops and château in Saumur.
• Lunch on a barge floating down the Loire.
• Afternoon visit to several homes and gardens of family friends and relatives.
• Gala farewell dinner at the private Château de Ternay with the marquis and marquise de Ternay, good friends of Yolaine’s.
• A morning of antiquing followed by lunch in Tours.
• Departure for Paris at the train station in Tours in the mid-afternoon.
Accommodations & Cost
Accommodations: Château de St. Paterne, Château des Briottières and Château de Verrières are privately owned châteaux with lovely antique-filled rooms, all with private bath.
Included in the cost: 7 nights accommodations; all ground transportation; all meals including aperitifs and carefully selected regional wines; all cooking classes; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above. Limited to ten class participants.
Not Included in Cost: Trains from Paris to Le Mans and Tours back to Paris; alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $5,390 per person double occupancy with a $800 single supplement.
Deposit: $1000 per person
Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.