Adventure vacations in France

Jewels of the Loire- Beaulieu to Villandry


France is ideally suited for riding tours and is the country where the idea got its start and is most highly developed. Horseback riding in Villandry is especially well-suited as the countryside in many places is most attractive and comparatively unspoiled. Rights-of-way have been well maintained so that horsemen can usually find appropriate trails and there is very little necessity to take paved roads.

Spectacular castles, walled towns and ancient monasteries are everywhere. Each region has a unique character with its own history, cuisine, wine, architecture and topography. French food and wine are justly famous and you will have every opportunity to savor them with appetites made keener by a day in the saddle.

In the centuries before the French Revolution the Loire Valley was the scene of an unprecedented flowering of culture where French kings and nobles vied with one another to build the most magnificent structures and to decorate them exquisitely. There are wonderful opportunities for gallops through some of the old hunting preserves of the French nobility, and you follow tracks through bucolic farmland and vineyards. Staying in smaller, private chateaux and manor houses contributes to the spirit of the adventure.

You will be staying in accommodations ranging from lovely chateaux to country hotels.

Your meals will be a sampling of wonderful French cuisine and wines of the region. Breakfast and the evening meals will be taken in the accommodations where you are staying.
Lunches will be either picnics or enjoyed in local restaurants, and may consist of pâté, ham, salads, cold meats or seafood, cheeses, fresh breads, wine, soft drinks and fruits.

  • Overview:
    The mixed breed horses used on this ride are well suited to their environment. These hardy Arab, Selle Francais, Thoroughbred, French Trotter and Spanish cross horses stand 14-15.5 hh. They are chosen for their temperament, hardiness and comfort. English saddles are used along with a few trekking saddles.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Hardy mixed breeds
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate to fast
  • Tack:
  • Weight limit:
    205 lbs

Vegetarian and other dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive from the TGV train station in Saumur to Château de Beaulieu at Saumur between 4:00 – 6:30 pm. Enjoy an aperitif and discussion of the week ahead which will start at 7:00 pm, followed by dinner at 7:30 pm. You will spend two nights here.

Day 2

AM – Ride about two hours from Chateau de Beaulieu, along vineyards to Champigny troglodyte cellar, with magnificent views of the Chateau of Saumur. Arrive on horseback into the troglodyte cellar… an unforgettable experience! There will be a Champigny wine tasting in troglodyte cellar depending on the season, followed by a gourmet lunch in a local restaurant.
PM – Continue riding for another 2 hrs in the Champigny vineyards and along the Loire River to Chateau de Montsoreau, which inspired well-known French writer, Alexandre Dumas, for his book “la dame de Montsoreau”. Return to Chateau de Beaulieu by car for dinner and the night.

Day 3

AM – Today ride to Chateau de Brézé by the vineyards, and picturesque countryside. Enjoy lunch in the old stables of Château de Brézé, followed by a guided visit of the château.
PM – In the afternoon continue on through vineyards and woods to Abbaye de Fontevraud. Arrive inside the Abbaye on horseback which is an unforgettable experience, and arranged specially for this group. Have a visit of the Abbaye with the tombs of Eleanor of Aquitane, Henry II of England, and their son, Richard the Lion Heart. Both AM and PM rides will be about 2 hrs. Dinner and night at Domaine de Mestré at Fontevraud.

Day 4

AM – Ride in French traditional countryside to Chateau de la Roche Martel, a private and historical chateau where you are welcomed by the owners for a picnic and visit.
PM – Travel through countryside and woods to the private Chateau de Ternay, with cordial welcome by Count and Countess of Ternay. Each AM and PM ride will be about 2 hrs. Enjoy dinner and night in Chateau de Ternay.

Day 5

AM – Ride for 2 hrs in the Chinon forest to Chateau d’Ussé; the sleeping beauty chateau. Lunch in Ussé.
PM – About two hours ride to Azay le Rideau with unforgettable long canters along the Indre River, and through woods and orchards.Transfer to Chinon with the evening free to visit this town before overnight in a medieval hotel.

Day 6

AM – Today’s destination is Chateau de Villandry; ride through the French countryside and woods to Chateau Villandry, which is known for its famous gardens. This morning’s ride is about 2.5 hrs.
PM – Visit of the beautiful gardens of the chateau, followed by transfer to Chateau de Gizeux for dinner and overnight where you will be welcomed by the family of the chateau.

Day 7

Departure from Chateau de Gizeux after breakfast. Transfer (not included) to Tours Saint Pierre des Corps TGV station.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible. Changes may be made at the guides discretion based on weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Preferred Trip Dates

Jewels of the Loire- Beaulieu to Villandry
April 23, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

Group Information

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The guide was an excellent leader and host. While our hotels and meals were excellent, he also prepared picnic lunches that were 4-Star! The venue for the trip was both exciting and interesting, stopping to visit castles, chateaus, caves and villages of great historical importance in French history. It was an unforgettable... Read more  

Pastore, 2019