Tour of the Loire Valley with Sancerre, Vouvray, Chinon and more
— Loire is France’s longest river and one of the world’s most famous wine rivers. For this trip we board the bus in Paris and roll down to Sancerre and then on to the Touraine where we find Vouvray, Chinon, Bourgueil and other wine regions. On this tour you will explore a large portion of the Loire Valley. You will enjoy elegant wines that pair well with the region’s graceful Renaissance chateaux.
Next wine tour to the Loire Valley:
The journey starts from Paris where we meet on Wednesday afternoon at the Gare de Lyon in central Paris. Our waiting bus will take us to Sancerre, our first stop on the trip. Here in Sancerre you get intimate with the crispy and high-class wines of Sancerre. This is where sauvignon blanc is at its best.
We stay one night in the small town of Sancerre. We then go on to the Touraine and the slightly larger town of Tours, where we’ll stay for three nights. Tours has a very nice old town centre with well-preserved houses from the 14th and 15th century. In the evenings you can enjoy a large selection of excellent restaurants.
The Touraine region is often called the “The Garden of France” thanks to its mild climate, the lush green valleys and the flower plantations. During our time here we will visit the nearby wine regions, such as Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire with their fantastic chenin blanc wines and Chinon, with its stylish, red wines made from cabernet franc, which is now finally starting to get the recognition they so richly deserve.
Loire is France’s longest river; from its source in the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast it flows nearly one thousand kilometres. After the first 500 km, roughly at the bend where the river takes to the left, the wine villages start to appear and we are in the part that one usually think of when talking about the Loire Valley. It has a quiet charm and a mild climate. Here you will find sumptuous chateaux, built by nobles and kings, for themselves or for their mistresses.
During our days in the Loire Valley wine is of course in the centre of our attention. But we will not be able to avoid seeing some of the famous chateaux that tells so much about French history. In addition, the local gastronomy, one of the most respected classic gastronomy in France, also gets a lot of our attention. We will talk about food and wine parings and we will be treated to some surprising ones.
Sunday morning after breakfast we return to Paris where we arrive no later than 13.00 (1 PM).
The tour is led by one of BKWine’s wine and travel expert guides.
More travel information
Here are some useful pages and guides about this travel destination:
Even more info
We have written a lot about the Loire and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.
Here you can find more about travelling in the Loire wine region.
You can also find more information on the wines from Loire on BKWine Magazine.
Program — wine tour in the Loire Valley
This is a sample program, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the program, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.
Contact BKWine for more details.
- Day 1, Wednesday — The journey begins in Paris
- Day 2, Thursday — Sancerre
- Day 3, Friday — Vouvray
- Day 4, Saturday — Chinon and Bourgueil
- Day 5, Sunday — Drop off in Paris
Wednesday, day 1 — The tour begins in Paris
At 15.00 (3 PM) our bus departs from the Gare de Lyon, one of the main train stations, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.
We go south and after about two and a half hours we arrive in Sancerre, a charming little hilltop town, completely imbued in character by its location in this world famous wine region.
The hilltop location made it easier to defend. There were settlements here already during Roman times.
We check into our three-star Hotel Panoramic, which lives up to its name with stunning views of the vineyards.
There is time for a stroll in town, maybe a coffee or a glass of wine.
A little later in the evening we meet for a welcome dinner at the Restaurant La Tour, a short walk from the hotel. La Tour is a well-known gastronomic restaurant with a Michelin star.
Thursday, day 2 — Sancerre
We load our luggage in the bus and begin our exploration of the vineyards of Sancerre.
The Sancerre appellation has 3,000 hectares of vineyards. Most are white, but there are also some red and rosé wine. Today’s visits will illustrate the many aspects of the sauvignon blanc grape. It can for example sometimes be surprisingly long-lived, which one tends to forget. We will also have the opportunity to taste the rare red wines made from pinot noir.
We will also go for a walk out in the vineyards and take a closer look at the vines. The harvest is perhaps underway or maybe just completed. That means a lot of activities in the vineyards and in the cellars.
We will visit, among others, a small grower in the heart of the Sancerre appellation. Eric, the current winemaker continues the traditions that go back generations. He has built a new cellar and invested in new technology but maintains many old traditions.
For lunch we will stay here at the winery and eat a simple but delicious “winemaker lunch” with of salads, cheeses and charcuteries.
After one more visit in the afternoon we board the bus and head off towards Tours. The trip goes through a beautiful open landscape. This is where you find some of the chateaux that the Loire Valley is so famous for, but also small villages that produce excellent goat cheeses, a great Loire specialty. The journey to Tours will take approximately two and a half hours.
At around 7 PM we check in at our hotel in the centre of Tours. It is very centrally located, a stone’s throw from the old town and the Cathedral.
The evening is free to explore Tours and go in search for a good restaurant. We have great tips!
Friday, day 3 — Vouvray
Today we will visit the two famous white wine districts of Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire. They are located just east of Tours, on each side of the river.
We take a small detour to our morning visit to take a look at the Chateau d’Amboise. It was in Amboise that Leonardo da Vinci lived his last years and also where he died.
Our morning visit will be at the organic Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau. Like most producers here in Vouvray they make both razor sharp dry wines, semi-sweet wines, very sweet and even sparkling wines. All are made from the same grape, Chenin Blanc, one of the wine world’s most original and exciting grape varieties.
The sweet Chenin wines are fantastic but it is the dry ones which is really fascinating. And the production of dry chenin is increasing every year.
We return down to the river again. We will have lunch at the elegant Restaurant Les Hautes Roches with great views of the river. The chef is from Bretagne, but is also fond of the local Loire-products. We eat a sumptuous four-course lunch.
We end the day with a visit to a winery in the same village. This will be at one of the more well-known producers, a property which was founded in the late 1800s. Their troglodyte cellars – a grotto – are well worth exploring. Some part of it dates back to the 11th century and is one of the biggest in Vouvray.
We will learn more about the production and we get an exciting tasting. The character of the wines varies depending on whether the vines grow on limestone soil or in a more sandy and gravelly soil.
Late afternoon we are back in Tours. The evening is free. Before dinner you may want to go and have a look at the magnificent cathedral of Saint Gatien, a short walk from the hotel. If instead you walk in the other direction you will come to the Vieux Tours, the old town with beautiful medieval houses and the charming square Place Plumerau with half-timbered houses and a host of outdoor cafes.
Saturday, day 4 — Chinon, Bourgueil
Touraine’s great red grape is cabernet franc and today we will inspect it in detail. The soil varies from place to place but in this part of the Loire Valley you find a lot of the region’s special limestone called tuffeau.
Some of the best producers of Touraine have shown the world the excellent quality you can get from cabernet franc, this grape that is sometimes rather unfairly treated. Many believe that it is not able to achieve really fine wines. But yes, it can. And the grape’s popularity has grown tremendously in recent years, in many countries.
After breakfast we go to the small village of Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne.
On the way there, we take a small detour and pass the town of Chinon. We make a stop to admire the 14th century castle that looks down over the city. Chinon is located on the Vienne River, one of the many tributaries to the Loire. The castle is now a ruin but still impressive. Both Henry II of England and his son Richard the Lionheart lived here.
Our first visit of the day will be at a magnificent (wine) castle today run with great enterprising spirit by a new generation. The estate makes reds from cabernet franc and whites from chenin blanc and also sparkling and rosé. With his three different cabernet franc wines the winemaker wants to demonstrate how soil and vinification affects the grape characteristics. A cabernet franc can be easy-drinking fruity but also age-worthy and complex.
We stay at this chateau for lunch. It will be a multi-course menu with some local specialties. The chateau’s range of wines will of course be the perfect pairing.
In the afternoon we cross the Loire and come to the Bourgueil appellation. Here we will visit a family property of around 18 hectares that has a pretty old cellar. Their old vines, some over 100 years old, guarantees a fine quality.
Late afternoon we are back in Tours. The evening is free to further soak up the atmosphere of the old town and perhaps one or two glasses of wine. There is an impressive variety of different restaurants, ranging from simple brasserie to high-class starred classic French restaurants with chefs of best international class.
Sunday, day 5 — Heading back home
After breakfast we return back to Paris. The journey takes around three hours and we arrive no later than 13.00 (1 PM).
The program may be subject to minor modifications.
Tour Details — Loire Valley wine tour
Price per person: This is a sample program. Look in the menu “Our Tours > Scheduled Tours” to check what scheduled tours are currently on the program or contact us to discuss a custom made private wine tour.
Included in the price:
- 4 hotel nights, double occupancy, including breakfast:
- 1 nights in Sancerre
- 3 nights in Tours
- Meals as described in the program above (*):
- 1 gastronomic and exclusive multi-course dinner, with several wines, at a Michelin star restaurant
- 1 “winemaker lunch” with several different wines at a wine producer’s
- 2 gastronomic multi-course lunches with local specialities, including tasting of several wines, one as guests at a winery and one in a restaurant
- Start and end point: Paris
- Bus transport during the whole trip, Paris-Sancerre-Tours-Paris
- All vineyard and winery visits
- Private, high quality tastings at wineries, approx. 3 per day
- Interpretation from French as needed, some visits may be in English
- Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide
(*) See below for more important information on our meals.
- Travel (flights) to the destination and back from your home location.
You organise your travel to Paris yourself. If you want assistance with organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.
We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time! It is a very interesting place and well worth some “non-wine” tourism too! We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights if you want.
For this trip to take place we must have a minimum of XX participants registered at the “book before” date.
Book This Trip
You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:
- phone: +33 1 58 88 04 66 or +33 6 80 45 35 70 (+33 is the country code for France)
- Skype: “bkwine”. Call us on skype.
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
More on our wine tours
About the wine producers and wineries we visit
Our aim is that you shall experience some of the best and most interesting that the wine region has to offer, both of wine and food.
We put a big effort into finding and creating outstanding winery visits. Often it will not be the most “famous” and internationally well-known wineries that will give you the best and most unique experiences…
It is usually when you get to meet the winemaker or winery owner himself (or often herself) that the visits become really exciting. And perhaps we even meet the whole family at the estate.
You start discussing and start to understand what it is they do and why in the winery and in the vineyard. Maybe we will also have lunch in the winery or at their home. Need we say we invariably have private wine tastings at the wineries?
That is why our trips are not “jam packed” with visits at wineries. Nevertheless we often run short of time since the discussions – and the wine tastings – can easily become very engaging…
Our wine country tours typically include a mix of small family producers, exclusive boutique wineries and larger internationally well-known wine estates, all selected with great care so that it will give you a unique experience of the people and of the behind-the-scenes in the winery and a good understanding of the wine district’s characteristics, tradition and culture.
At the time of publishing a travel program not all visits have been finalised. We are continuously working on improving the program. The domaines / wineries / châteaux that we visit on a tour may therefore sometimes differ from what was written in the original program. Contact us if you want more details, or if you have any special requests.
On meals: food and gastronomy
Wine and food are intimately linked. That is part of our wine travel philosophy; wine is an integral part of the gastronomy.
A wine tour with BKWine will therefore also be a gastronomic experience.
The meals that are included in a tour with BKWine are on a gourmet level and of very high standard.
Sometimes we will have a meal with a winemaker, perhaps in the wine cellar or at the winery, or even in their home. This is a unique experience that is generally not open to other visitors to wineries. It is an occasion to experience exciting combinations of food and wine while discussing with the people who made the wine.
Sometimes we will have a luxurious meal at a gourmet restaurant. At other times it may be not at a prestigious luxury address but at a local restaurant selected for its presentation of local gastronomic specialities, its atmosphere and its quality – a place where locals go. Or perhaps it will be a buffet lunch made at home by the winemaker and his wife. In all cases we want to show you local gastronomic specialities and the local food and wine pairings.
Do not expect a picnic with salad and sausage from the supermarket and wine in plastic mugs… Think instead of a wine-and-dine experience with specially composed menu with three or four courses and delicious wines.
A wine tour with BKWine is also a culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A gourmet wine tour!
Why travel with BKWine?
We are experts and specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also in wine in a broader perspective.
No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tours and gourmet travel as BKWine.
We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours. This is what we love to do, because it is fun and exciting. What we want more than anything is to share with you all these wonderful experiences.
It does not matter if you are “a total novice” on wine and food or if you have a life-long experience in the wine sector. We will give you a very special experience, in a way that no other tour operator can do.
We write in specialised wine magazines and one of our books has won the prize as best wine book in the world. We are regularly called on to be part of judging panels in wine competitions.
We personally visit some 300 vineyards every year. We have organised several hundreds of wine and food tours with an experience going back more than twenty years. We are invited as speakers at wine tourism and culinary touring conferences.
We choose our tour destinations and winery visits with great care. Not because a winery happens to be carrying a “famous name” but because they will give our guests — you! — a unique and special experience. You may be looking for a short wine week-end holiday or a longer wine vacation; in all cases you can be confident that you will get a top quality tour, an experience of a lifetime. Or at least one that will last you until the next time you come on a wine tour with BKWine. Many of our travellers are returning clients.
A wine and food tour with BKWine is always guided by a knowledgeable and experienced BKWine guide and tour manager, someone who knows the ins and outs of wine, of the local gastronomy, of the culture and who speaks the language.
Some accolades we at BKWine and our wine and food tours have received:
- “World’s Top Wine Tours” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
- “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
- “Recommended Wine Tours” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
- “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year” in Sweden 2010 for the book The Creation of a Wine
- “Best wine book for Professionals” again in 2012 in Sweden, as well as silver, runner-up, as “World’s Best Educational Wine Book” for the book Wine and the Environment
- “Wine Personality of the Year” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
- On the Wine Media Power List by Wine Business International Magazine (Britt, 2012)
Read more on why to choose BKWine for a wine and food tour.
Read more on what previous travellers have said about our tours.
Our groups are always small. The group size may vary, sometimes maximum 8, sometimes 20, but always of a modest size (we do not do “minimum 20, maximum 45”). Check the details in each program. This is important since it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.
BKWine is a Swedish registered travel organiser. BKWine has a bonded travel guarantee deposit so that you can feel safe when booking with us. We fully comply with European and Swedish travel guarantee regulations. British travellers may be familiar with the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) protection scheme which is a similar model. BKWine follows the code of conduct and financial safeguards defined by the Swedish Consumer Agency and The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (“Kammarkollegiet”, with a history dating back to 1539). Read more about this in our Booking Terms and Conditions.
Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!
You organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours but on location we take care of everything.
For more inspiration
Read our wine travel blog. And also:
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- There are thousands of pictures from previous trips on BKWine Photography
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We also do custom wine and food tours if you want to choose different dates or if you want something different than what we currently offer on our scheduled tours – for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.