Guided Walking & Sightseeing at Chinon, France

Treasures of the Loire Valley

Code: LVLCL

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Activity types:

  • Food & drink
  • History
  • Meadows & hills

Level

  • Easier
  • Easy
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £1,029.00 - 7 nights

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Prices are per person

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Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

Experience the beautiful Loire Valley, famed for its fairytale chateaux, wine, good food and pretty river views. We’ll enjoy leisurely walking west of Tours from our base in the medieval town of Chinon, which offers an incredibly warm welcome and is dominated by its photogenic landmark castle.

Price includes

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day plus 1 full sightseeing day
  • All transport to and from walks
  • The services of experienced  HF Holidays' leaders
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • 7 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Half Board – continental buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal

 

 

Accommodation

Situated in the heart of beautiful medieval Chinon, the 3-star Hotel de France provides easy access to the chateau and atmospheric old town. The hotel itself is a renovated 16th century building which now provides stylish and comfortable en-suite rooms overlooking a pretty square or the chateau itself, all with their own unique character. 

This family-run hotel combines comfort and warmth with tradition, all just steps away from the cobbled streets of a city with a tremendous historical and cultural heritage.  

Bedrooms

Decorated harmoniously, the 29 spacious and air-conditioned rooms at Hotel de France each have their own unique character. They are all equipped with modern en-suite facilities and fitted with lovely furniture as well as telephone, TV, hairdryer, room safe, minibar, complimentary toiletries and tea/coffee making facilities. Free WiFi internet access is also available.  

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Facilities

There is a new attractive rooftop terrace with seating offering views to the castle above the town. Next to this is a new breakfast/dining room. The family owns the hotel restaurant where our guests dine every evening.  Please note that this hotel does not have a lift.

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Food

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast is served from 7am and consists of a good selection of breads , fruit juices, cold hams and cheese, cereals and yoghurts, dried and fresh fruit, as well as jams and honey, tea, coffee and cocoa. 

Dinner: The evening meal is a 3-course served to the table and ordered the evening before.

Picnic lunch: Packed lunches are available to order from the hotel but you can also walk just a few minutes to some local shops and purchase the ingredients for your lunch.

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Evening

Each evening your walking leaders will tell you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. During the evening you may like to join in an optional organised evening activity, such as a quiz, or just have a walk around the town.  One evening, we have arranged for a speaker to enlighten our groups over coffee, on the rich history of this interesting region.  

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Holiday itinerary

Our experienced leaders offer the choice of two different walks each day. Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness

We provide flexible holidays. Choose easier walking one day and harder the next or just explore independently or relax around the resort.

Our leaders are friendly and welcoming making your holiday fun and sociable.

HF Holidays walks level 1 easierEasier walks: 4 to 6 miles (6.5-9.5km) on good paths, with some moderate ascent and descent. Up to 400ft (120m) of ascent in a day.

 

HF Holidays walks grade 2 easyHarder walks: 6 to 10 miles (9.5-16km) on good paths, with moderate ascent and descent. Up to 600ft (180m) of ascent in a day.


Day 1:  Arrival day

You should arrive at the hotel with time to settle into your room and perhaps enjoy a stroll around the area.  Our partner hotel is across a square and you may need to carry your luggage from the coach to the hotel on the arrival day.  Please ensure that your luggage is easily portable.  

On the first evening your leaders will explain more about the walks and there will be plenty of time to meet with your fellow guests.


Day 2:  A Fishing Village and views over Chinon

Today we have a relatively easy day for both walks.  Although longer than some of the other days, they are on very easy terrain with no time constraints as we shall be walking from the hotel and back to it.

The river Vienne, the major tributary to the south of the Loire, starts on the Plateau de Millevaches, an upland area in the Limousin region in central France.  It is 363 km long (227 miles) and discharges into the Loire at Candes-St-Martin, only 18 km to our west.  Today we walk along La Vienne to the old fishing village of Riviere.  La Vienne, more peaceful than the Loire, offers us more chance of seeing wildlife: kingfishers, green woodpeckers and an abundance of large freshwater fish.  Looking back to Chinon we can see the magnificent fortress where Joan of Arc came to seek the Dauphin, the future King Charles VII, on the heights above the Vienne valley.  The church of Notre Dame in Riviere is well worth visiting.

The easier walk returns to Chinon passing through the first of the many vineyards we shall see this week.

The harder option heads away from the river before making its way up into the higher vineyards to reward us with magnificent views over Chinon and the countryside around. 

Easier Walk: 6 miles (9.5 km) with 100 feet (30m) of ascent.

Harder Walk: 8 miles (13 km) with 300 feet (90m) of ascent.


Day 3:  Sightseeing Day

The magnificent 16th century Chateau de Chenonceau and the town of Amboise are our destinations today. 

There are many chateaux in the Loire Valley but Chenonceau is unique, with its graceful arches spanning the river Cher.  It is an architectural fantasy land largely the work of several remarkable women, hence its alternative name the Chateau de Dames.  Construction started in 1515 for Thomas Bohier, a court minister to Charles VIII, although much of the work was overseen by his wife, Katherine Briconnet.  The arches and one of the formal gardens was added by Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henri II.  After the death of Henry, his widow, Catherine de Medici, removed Diane from Chenonceau and completed the construction, adding the huge yew tree labyrinth.  The interior is full of wonderful furniture and tapestries.

Amboise, the childhood home of Charles VIII and the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci, is pleasantly perched on the southern bank of the Loire.  There are many sights to visit in this very busy town, in particular, Le Clos Luce, where Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1516 until his death in May 1519, and Amboise Castle, the Renaissance royal residence, steeped in history.


Day 4:  Vines and the Loire

The soft limestone, or tufa, found in the Loire area is a highly porous, sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate, and is very soft. For many thousands of years, man has dug into the tufa to make shelters, burial places, storage spaces for goods and animals, and in recent times for the preservation of wine. Today we visit
an enormous excavated cave to see the remains of a true troglodyte village. Modern humans have also cast their mould and built houses and cafés in the limestone. A short journey west takes us to the village of  Dampierre sur Loire for the start of our walks. Initially ascending to a fine vantage point, we will survey the Loire and vineyards over to the north. After visiting the caves we continue along the escarpment to the Eglaise de Parnay, on old church with shelter and good views.

The easier walk descends from here to the banks of the Loire and to the Bar La Gabelle for refreshments and pick-up.

The harder route continues along the escarpment to visit the Apple Tappers (time permitting) before making its way down to the Loire and the Bar La Gabelle.

Easier Walk: 4 miles (6.5km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent

Harder Walk: 4 miles (6.5km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent


Day 5:  Free day

Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Some options for your free day may include:

Chinon

Relax in Chinon; explore the charming cobbled streets and pop into some small interesting shops for some unique gift shopping. There are plenty of cafés to have a relaxing lunch.

Chinon Chateau

Spend some time visiting this castle which dates back to the 11th century and has a rich history. From the watchtower there is a magnificent view across Chinon and towards the Vienne River. See the large trebuchet at the rear. Admission charges apply.

River boats

Boat trips operate on the Vienne River from Chinon on traditional boats. Check with the hotel for full information. Rates from around €11 to €25.


Day 6: Caves and Wines

Travelling east for a few minutes takes us to a more hilly area and gives us the opportunity to visit a wine cellar in a true cave.  We will stop and have a tasting experience in the dark, perhaps by candle light.  The wines on sale are very reasonable but you must decide yourself if they are to your taste.  We may well be a little slower after our experience but the bulk of the walk is finished by now and time will not be a problem. There is a bar at the end of the walk where we are picked up.

The easier walk starts at a winery on the main road from Chinon and goes south initially before turning east and to Cravantles-Coteaux.

The harder walk starts a little further south visiting an ancient dolmen in the village of Biancon. This massive structure Le Gros-Chillou is 15 metres long and 3 metres high. Sadly it does not reveal its former glory. We now head north and join the route of the easier walk into Cravantles-Coteaux. Both walks enjoy the same circular walk round Cravant-les-Coteaux.

Easier Walk: 5 miles (8km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent

Harder Walk: 6 miles (9.5km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent


Day 7:  L’Abbaye

Founded in 1101 on the border of the provinces of Poitou, Anjou and Touraine, Fontevraud is the largest monastic city remaining from the middle ages. At the heart of the abbey are the effigies of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II and Richard the Lion Heart, the darling of the Plantagenets. It served as a prison from 1804 to 1963.  In 2000 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Fontevraud combines heritage, culture, lifestyle and hospitality, continuing the ambition desired of an ideal city by its founder.

Today’s walks allow a variety of choices. You may wish to do the easier option in the morning and visit the  abbey in the afternoon, or opt out of any walks and spend the whole day there. The harder walkers initially walk to the abbey and then can either continue their walk or spend the afternoon visiting the abbey.

The easier walkers are dropped in the city, and the walk starts from near the abbey. It describes a circular clockwise walk through the surrounding villages, vineyards and forests before returning to the city centre for
refreshments.

The harder walkers get off the coach in the hamlet of St-Germain-sur-Loire and pick up the GR3, the famous long distance path. This has a fairly steep ascent but soon becomes more level as it makes its way on good tracks through the ancient Foret de Fontevraud to the city. The walk continues by following the same circuit as the easier walk.

Easier Walk: 5 miles (8 km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent

Harder Walk: 8 miles (13 km) with 700 feet (210m) of ascent


Day 8: Departure day

Please note that the itinerary outlined is provisional and could be subject to change. A finalised itinerary will be available at the resort and every evening your leaders will talk to you about the next day’s walks.

Local area

Chinon is located on the banks of the Vienne river, in the region called the Touraine, which is known as the "garden of France". It is in the Loire Valley, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

It is well known for its wines as well as its castle and historic town. Chinon played an important and strategic role during the Middle Ages, having served both French and English kings.

The winding streets up to the castle are lined with small shops, inns, and cafés. The cobbles and timber houses dating back to the 15th century give you a feel of its history. Along the streets below the castle walls are Troglodyte dwellings, some occupied and many used by wine merchants.   

This town is an ideal base to visit the region which includes France's finest chateaux.

There are a number of local shops within a short walking distance of the hotel where you can obtain the basic necessities, ingredients for a packed lunch and plenty of gift shopping.

 

Travel

We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.

 

‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ from Gatwick to Nantes airport.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel.

The coach transfer takes approx 2 hours to the Hotel de France.

For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

 

‘Without flight’ holidays the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

-          We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Nantes airport.

This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flight* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £31.50.

-          Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer? - Price on request.

-          You may also find it convenient to fly into Tours and make your own way to Chinon.

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

 

 

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach under any circumstance. 

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
19 Nov 2016, 9:44 p.m.

Service rating:

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Service review:

No review provided

Product review:

Good service.
14 Nov 2016, 7:38 p.m.

Service rating:

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+

Service review:

As always the planning and organisation were first rate

Product review:

The hotel was excellent and ideally located. The sightseeing element was good, but the walks lacked variety.
14 Nov 2016, 8:55 a.m.

Service rating:

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Product rating:

+

Service review:

All the arrangements went smoothly. Guides well informed and guests well supported.

Product review:

Some days need to be improved to include more interest. e.g. a local historian perhaps to talk about the Troglodyte houses and their early occupants.
12 Nov 2016, 7:15 p.m.

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Service review:

A really good company committed to customer service, good value for money & excellent quality

Product review:

Great mix of sightseeing & wandering in a variety of landscapes in the Loire region. Good food, super hotel with staff really interested in making us welcome
9 Nov 2016, 6:53 p.m.

Service rating:

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Service review:

Brochure descriptions are good and clear together with walks booklets. Always reliable. Leaders are knowledgeable on local area and make everything easy for the clients.

Product review:

Lovely mix of walks, excellent food at hotel although its town centre position made it rather noisy at night.
9 Nov 2016, 9:23 a.m.

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+

Service review:

always good , friendly and interesting

Product review:

hotel noisy
13 Jul 2016, 10:18 a.m.

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Product rating:

-

Service review:

Previous HF holidays have been excellent.

Product review:

Hotel food failed to meet the usual HF standard & far below our French expectation for quality of meals. Presentation of meals were of a hostel standard and individual's selections were not managed. Hotel location in Chinon was good. Although we appreciate that the Holiday was mostly tourist oriented we felt the walking content of the holiday was easier than expected. However, the leaders were competent,informative & personable.
Thank you for your feedback.

I am sorry that, on this occasion you were disappointed with your holiday.

We do try to ensure that the holiday accommodation and programme is enjoyed by all our guests and your comments have been passed through to our Operations Team to take on board and for future holidays.

I do hope that we will be able to welcome you back on an HF holiday in the future.

Kind regards
Toni

Toni McNulty
Customer Relations Manager
HF Holidays
7 Jul 2016, 3:57 p.m.

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Service review:

HF holidays are well organised, great fun and good quality accomodation.

Product review:

A real gem of a holiday. A delightful part of France and the holiday was a good balance between undemanding walking and sightseeing.
5 Jul 2016, 6:24 p.m.

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Service review:

Is it not possible to organise later flights as both the trip out and back had very early starts and were extremely long days.

Product review:

The leaders were excellent and the hotel was also excellent. The only let down was the food in the restaurant next to the hotel. It was very much sub-standard and in some cases I was unable to eat the main course as it was too salty. The French are renowned for their food and so what we had was very disappointing.
The free day was also disappointing as most of the shops and restaurants were closed. The Thursday would have been a better free day as there was a very interesting market in Chinon which we did not have much time to look at as were were on our way to a walk.
The walks themselves were just right, interesting and lovely views. The leaders were very informative.
5 Jul 2016, 5:31 p.m.

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Service review:

All worked well with bookings and holiday arrangements

Product review:

Good holiday though walks quite short. But, if I'd read the brochure properly beforehand, I would have realized that!

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
13 May 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 13 May 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 13 May 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 20 May 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 20 May 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
13 May 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
20 May 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 20 May 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 20 May 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 27 May 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 27 May 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
20 May 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
27 May 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
3 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 3 Jun 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 3 Jun 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 10 Jun 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 10 Jun 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
3 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
10 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 10 Jun 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 10 Jun 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 17 Jun 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 17 Jun 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
10 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
17 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 17 Jun 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 17 Jun 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 24 Jun 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 24 Jun 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
17 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
24 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 24 Jun 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 24 Jun 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 1 Jul 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 1 Jul 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
24 Jun 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
19 Aug 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 19 Aug 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 19 Aug 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 26 Aug 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 26 Aug 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
19 Aug 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
26 Aug 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 26 Aug 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 26 Aug 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 2 Sep 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 2 Sep 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
26 Aug 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
2 Sep 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 2 Sep 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 2 Sep 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 9 Sep 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 9 Sep 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
2 Sep 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
9 Sep 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 9 Sep 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 9 Sep 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 16 Sep 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 16 Sep 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
9 Sep 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now
16 Sep 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

EasyJet

  • Depart: 16 Sep 2017, 6:45 a.m.
  • Arrive: 16 Sep 2017, 9:10 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: Nantes Atlantique

Flight - Return

EasyJet

  • Depart: 23 Sep 2017, 9:35 a.m.
  • Arrive: 23 Sep 2017, 9:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Nantes Atlantique
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
7 £1,229.00 Book Now
16 Sep 2017 LVLCL - Guided Walking Chinon - Without Flights 7 £1,029.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Double room for sole occupancy: £22.50 per night
  • All transport to walks is included in the price of the holiday
  • Allow €35 for the sightseeing
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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