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Loire Valley, Dordogne & Bordeaux Châteaux Gardens

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Chelsea Flower Show and France.

Discover the spectacular garden and castle in Villandry in the Loire Valley on your Botanica World Discoveries' tour of Europe.

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17 Days including a 7-night cruise through Bordeaux. Visit England and the Chelsea Flower Show then travel by Eurostar to France to explore the Loire Valley and Dordogne region before boarding your cruise. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTCFLVDB17
Duration: 17 days
Accommodation: Luxury River Ship and Comfortable Hotels
Journey: London to Bordeaux
Meals included: 37

Itinerary

Day 1. Private Gardens of London

Commence your tour at 8.30am at the London hotel. Cruise along the Thames, seeing private and barge gardens before making our way down to historic West Sussex county to spend two nights on a large country estate, the Goodwood Hotel.
Stay: Two Nights: Chichester, The Goodwood Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Private Gardens of West Sussex

Visit Sandhill Farm House Garden, owned by Principal of the English Garden Design School, Rosemary Alexander. Visit another exclusive West Sussex private garden and meet the owners. This afternoon tour Home Farm, at Goodwood Estate. The present Duchess of Richmond was one of the Soil Association’s earliest members. She ran her kitchen garden on organic principles and passed this passion onto her family.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 3. Arundel Castle & Loseley Park Gardens

Arrive to the picture perfect Arundel Castle, seat of the Duke of Norfolk set high on a hill overlooking the River Arun. Discover its themed gardens that includes the rose garden, cut flower garden, white garden and organic kitchen garden. At this time of year the Allium display can also be seen throughout the walled gardens. Later we stop at Loseley Park where Gertrude Jekyll provided plans for the garden in 1905. At 6.30pm we enjoy a special dinner and lecture from Rosemary Alexander, regular judge of the Chelsea Flower Show.
Stay: Two Nights: London, May Fair Hotel, an historical hotel located near Green Park
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 4. Chelsea Flower Show

Have a full day to experience the famous Chelsea Flower Show. For over 140 years, the show has been delighting visitors from all over the world. See the latest garden designs, learn of recent plant and floral releases and take the opportunity to talk to some of the exhibitors. This is the ‘mecca’ of all garden shows, and one that every gardening enthusiast should attend at least once in their life.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 5. London to Loire Valley, France

Depart London on the Eurostar in Business Class to Paris. (6 Day BTLVD6 & 13 Day BTLVDB13 guests start the tour in Paris.) From Paris we make our way to the private garden of Jardin de Bois Richeux with its collection of medieval plants before arriving into the beautiful Loire Valley where we spend the next few nights in a French château.
Stay: Three Nights: Loire Valley, Domaine de la Tortiniere
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Villandry, Clos Luce & Château Chenonceaux

Today visit Villandry, one of the most famous gardens of the Loire Valley. Afterwards we stop at the museum at Clos Lucé, former home of Leonardo da Vinci. Later, visit Château Chenonceaux, which is known as ‘the ladies Château’ for those who have influenced its design and destiny.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 7. Chaumont Garden Festival & Château Cheverny

See the superb garden displays created by teams of artists, landscape architects and designers at Chaumont sur Loire Garden Festival. This afternoon, visit Château de Cheverny with its colourful kitchen garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 8. Limoges to Sarlat

This morning depart the Loire Valley and travel south to the Dordogne. Visit Limoges and the famous porcelain factory. Explore the Gardens of the Imagination, a garden of note depicting the myths and legends of history. Enjoy a sightseeing tour before continuing through to the beautiful Dordogne.
Stay: Two Nights: Sarlat-la-Canéda, Au Grand Hotel Sarlat
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 9. Eryignac Gardens & Dordogne

This morning visit Eryignac Gardens which is a typical example of French formal gardens commanding order over nature. This afternoon enjoy free time to explore the picturesque town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, the capital of French cuisine with honey coloured buildings.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 10. Jardins de Marqueyssac, Bordeaux, Embark Ship

Depart the Dordogne to Bordeaux. On the way visit the fairytale-like Jardins de Marqueyssac with its topiary garden and some 150,000 boxwood trees pruned to resemble the rolling hills. Arrive into Bordeaux this afternoon. Board your river ship, docked on the Garonne River. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner and meet your crew and guest lecturers.
Stay: Seven Nights: MS AmaDolce, a luxurious small river ship (less than 100 guests)
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 11. Cadillac, Sauternes or Water Lilies, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a morning sail through French villages and landscapes. From Cadiallac travel to Le Temple-sur-Lot to see a unique water garden where Claude Monet began his obsession with painting water lilies. Founded in 1280, the walled village of Cadillac offers a wealth of historic treasures and sights. Others may choose to visit Château de La Brède, to tour its English style garden. Afterwards, head to the family winery of Château De Myrat for a tour which includes a tasting of Sauternes’ world-famous dessert wines.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 12. Pauillac, Private Garden, Freedom of Choice

Today, we see the lovely village town on the left bank of the Gironde estuary known, as Pauillac. Situated in the famed Médoc AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée), a government controlled designation of origin which signifies where grapes are grown, Pauillac’s gravelly soils are renowned for producing some of the world’s finest Bordeaux wines. You’ll be able to dabble in local blends this afternoon at an authentic Médoc wine tasting and learn the art of barrel making. There is also the option to visit a beautiful private garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 13. Blaye, Cognac & Châteaux Gardens, Freedom of Choice

Today you can choose to spend a full day visiting Château gardens in the Charente-Maritime region. See the well-known Château La Roche Courbon, also known as ‘Sleeping Beauty’s Castle’, and its magnificent French formal gardens that pre-date those at Versailles. Alternatively, discover the town of Blaye, including a walk along its 17th century citadel, and World Heritage-listed fortress and tunnels. In the afternoon, perhaps journey to Cognac for a tour and a tasting or sail to the town of Bourg and discover the town centre, medieval ramparts and harbour.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 14. Bergerac, Private Garden & Saint-Émilion, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a relaxing morning cruising, then explore the historic and picturesque village of Bergerac with a visit to nearby Les Jardins de Sardy, with its Italian style yet English garden feel. Alternatively, travel to World Heritage-listed Saint-Émilion. Explore its remarkable network of cellars and tunnels which have been used in the making of sparkling wines since the 19th century. After a tour, enjoy a glass of bubbles and a selection of Saint-Émilion’s macarons.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 15. Libourne, Caviar, Art Lecture, Freedom of Choice

This morning tour Libourne and visit a caviar estate. Enjoy an art lecture on board this afternoon as we cruise to Bordeaux where we will dock and indulge in a spectacular dinner. Later on, take in the sights on an illuminations cruise of this magical city.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 16. Bordeaux, Botanical Gardens, Musee des Beaux Arts, Freedom of Choice

Your choices this morning include seeing the elegant port city of Bordeaux on foot. For those that wish, there will be a visit to the Musee des Beaux Arts with an art expert, or tour the Bordeaux Botanical Gardens that have being recognised as progressive projects of landscape architecture. Enjoy a free afternoon.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 17. Disembark Ship, Depart Bordeaux

Disembark your ship for the final time after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • Rosemary Alexander’s lecture on the Chelsea Flower Show
  • A full day at the Chelsea Flower Show
  • Visit private & barge gardens by river cruise in London
  • See Rosemary Alexander’s own private garden Sandhill
  • Explore Loseley Park
  • Visit the hilltop Arundel Castle, family home to the Dukes of Norfolk
  • Enjoy time at the Chaumont sur Loire Garden Festival
  • Explore Villandry & Châteaux Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley
  • Explore the Dordogne’s medieval town, Sarlat-la-Canéda
  • Visit two iconic Dordogne gardens, Les Jardins de Marqueyssac & the Eyrignac
  • Explore Le Temple-sur-Lot, a wonderful water lily garden
  • Tour Château de La Brede
  • Experience Bordeaux on a walking tour
  • Visit Bordeaux’s Musee des Beaux Arts

Map

Included Experiences

  • Services of a Tour & Cruise Manager & Botanical Guide
  • Airport transfers on first & last day, tipping, porterage & port taxes
  • Travel Business Class on the Eurostar
  • 37 Meals – 16 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches & 13 Dinners
  • Wine, beer & soft drinks included with lunch & dinner on board the ship
  • Seven nights aboard the luxurious river ship MS AmaDolce
  • Onboard lectures by the Botanical Guide
  • Freedom of Choice touring on most days of the cruise is included in the price

MS AmaDolce Deckplan

MS AmaDolce

Cruise through France’s Bordeaux region in comfort, style and luxury on thisAPT Aria Class river ship.

See the deck plans for MS AmaDolce here

Additional Information

Chaumont Garden Festival

  • Every year the grounds of the Chaumont-sur Loire Castle become home to around 30 unique landscape art installations, all created around a specific theme

 

Fitness level

  • Our tours and cruises cater to various fitness levels
  • This tour requires a medium level of fitness – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two-night stays in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • The waterways in the Bordeaux region are part of a tidal river system which results in changing water levels. Disruptions to cruising and itinerary may occur as a result
  • Due to circumstances beyond our control please note that Monty Don is no longer available to join the Bordeaux cruise
  • Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included

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