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A Château Adventure in Normandy and the Loire with the de Valbray Family

St. Paterne

St. Paterne

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.

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

• 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.

Day 2

• 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.

Day 3

• 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.

Day 4

• 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.

Day 5

• 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.

Day 6

• 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.

Day 7

• 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.

Day 8

• 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.

A Celebration of Seasonal Delicacies in the Loire

with Chef Didier Clément
Hôtel Lion d’Or, Romorantin

The fertile Loire Valley is rich in both produce and history, and is home to some of the country’s finest white wines. Fruit trees, vines and vegetables thrive, and everywhere there are chateaux, from medieval fortresses to glorious Renaissance homes. Fish are plentiful in the Loire’s capricious waters and anglers’ catches include delicious sandre, pike, eel, shad, and salmon. Rillettes, a spread of trimmings from pork, rabbit or duck, gently cooked for hours, originated in the Loire valley, and local preparations can be savoured everywhere. South of Orleans, in Sologne, woods and misty marshland still harbor duck, hare, pheasant, and deer, which round out the regional specialties.
The wines of the Loire valley share a charm and freshness that make them a perfect match for the region’s unpretentious food. Montlouis, Vouvray, and Sancerre can be exceptional white wines, as are the Bourgueil and Chinon reds.
Celebrate these riches with us as we join Marie-Christine and Didier Clément for a week at the Grand Hôtel du Lion d’Or, their elegant Relais et Chateau Hotel in Romorantin. Didier’s restaurant has earned 1 star from the Guide Michelin and his food is extraordinary. Our program includes 2 cooking classes with Didier, visits to top wineries in Moutlouis, Cour Cheverny, and Sancerre, with lunches with the vintners, visits to several magnificent chateaux, including the private chateau de Nançay, where we will be treated to a food and wine pairing class, a tour of their vast wine cellar, and dinner with the Chatelaine herself.

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

• Meet at the TGV station in Tours in the early afternoon.
• Scenic drive through the Loire valley.
• Check into the Grand Hôtel du Lion d’Or and enjoy a welcoming tea or glass of wine.
• Champagne with the Cléments.
• Festive Welcome Dinner at the Grand Hôtel du Lion d’Or.

Day 2

• Morning winery visit to one of the top wineries in Montlouis.
• Lunch at Le Virage Gastronomique.
• Tour of Hardouin, famous for its rillettes.
• Afternoon Tour of Château de Chaumont sur Loire.
• Apéritif and dinner in Romorantin-Lanthenay with a local couple who have restored a beautiful mill.

Day 3

• Cooking Class with Chef Didier followed by lunch.
• Afternoon Tour of Château de Chenonceau.
• Dinner at the Auberge Bon Laboureur in Chenonceaux (one star in Guide Michelin).

Day 4

• Market visit with Chef Didier.
• Winery visit in Cour Cheverny.
• Picnic lunch with the vintners. Lunch furnished by Chef Didier.
• Visit to Château de Chambord.
• Late afternoon free to visit or shop in Romorantin.
• Dinner in Romorantin-Lanthenay, at a charming local restaurant.

Day 5

• Cooking Class with Chef Didier, followed by lunch.
• Late afternoon and evening at Château de Nançay with Wendy Barbeillon.

Day 6

• Winery visit to an excellent producer in Sancerre.
• Picnic Lunch at the winery (prepared by Didier).
• Visit to an artisanal cheese producer in Selles sur Cher.
• Free time for last minute shopping in Romorantin-Lanthenay.
• Gastronomic Gala and Farewell Dinner at the Hôtel du Lion d’Or.

Day 7

• Early departure after breakfast for the train station in Tours.

 

Accommodations & Cost

Accommodations: The Grand Hôtel Lion d’Or is a combined hotel and restaurant. All participants stay in the Grand Hôtel Lion d’Or’s hotel rooms. Each room includes a private bathroom and direct dial phone service.
Included in the cost: Six 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 eight class participants.
Not Included in Cost: Train Fare to and from Tours. Alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $4,890 per person, single supplement $600. Important note: substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1,000 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.

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