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8

Self answering, as after much hunting I did find two, and I figure it's worth sharing! Bouvet-Ladubay are one of the better known sparkling winemakers in Saumur, and own an extensive collection of caves where they store their sparkling wines. In common with many of the winemakers in Saumur, they offer tours which include looking around the caves, learning ...


7

A car is definitely a must have to visit the Loire valley. You have independence, and you can find some beautiful castles and view the country. But you can go to some castles by train from Tours. Here are some examples: Chenonceaux: you can take the train from tours to Chenonceaux and walk to the castle. It can be beautiful because you have to cross the ...


7

This site (in French) shows 11 bathing spots in Touraine on an interactive map. These include reservoirs (plans d'eau), converted quarries, riverside beaches, as well as lakes. Here is another interesting page (in French) from the departmental website, showing swimmable areas in Touraine. Lastly according to this other website, the closest swimming location ...


6

I think you're "onto" something with your question, but the most interesting caves (to most connoisseurs) are a bit further south, in the Dordogne region in France, south and east of Bordeaux. These are appealing from both an art and archeological perspective because there are cave paintings done by prehistoric man. The most famous of the caves in question ...


6

I'll throw in one suggestion from my trip last year, though obviously I'm keen on hearing others! While many of the Chateaux along the Loire tend towards the later Renaissance styles, with grand palatial architecture, one does stand out as a "classic" medieval castle. The Château d'Angers (in Anger) was built as a fortress, with the main parts dating from ...


5

I can add a few little things - our trip was built around Angers, Chenonceau and Chambord: In Nantes we had a great lunch at La Belle Epoque on the river Don't miss the troglodyte houses, suburban-style doors and windows set into caves in a cliff (apparently there's a museum you can go into, but we didn't). The cathedral in Tours was memorable too Do the ...


4

France is really dog friendly (small dogs at least) If coming from outside of Europe, you will need to have your dogs medically checked and approved (and probably chipped) and have his own sanitary passport. IMO, I would leave the dog at home; less stress for you, less stress for him BUT. Dogs are not allowed in museums and other public service buildings ...


2

There are a number of caves in the Loire Valley which have sculpted walls, as well as caves which serve as artists' studios. The Hélice Terrestre, which you mention, is superb, and Philip Cormand's sculptures in Bouvet-Ladubay, are, as you say, great. You can see considerably more of Cormand’s work in the nearby Pierre et Lumière, where he sculpted ...


1

Minibus is also a good option. Tour Evasion ( the company I've traveled with ) has half-day tours ( two castles - approx 20-30 EUR ) and full-day tours ( four castles - approx 50 EUR ). Entrance fees are not included, but the prices are reduced.


1

Château d’Amboise Located east of Tours but not by much and spec has “roughly” Angers to Tours. The seat of kings of France and location of Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb (whether containing any of his remains is another matter!) in St Hubert’s Chapel, itself a charming little independent building. Has terraces 40 metres above the adjacent town and river, making ...



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