Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 12 March 2010

River cruise

Last weekend we’ve fixed the dates for our annual trip to the Loire Valley. Exceptionally we’ll be travelling in the second half of May. This leaves me another two months or so to prepare our trip.

We will be staying at our usual chambres d’hôtes in Vouvray. The necessary bookings have already been made and confirmed by our hostess. We’ll be visiting some of our all-time favourite places: Candes St.Martin, of course, Crissay-sur-Manse, the markets of Amboise and Bourgeuil, a.o.

We’d also like to take a look at some lesser known Châteaux, such as Valmer, Troussay and Villesavin … considering that we’ve seen most of the great classics at least once!

For years we’ve been thinking about taking a short ‘Loire’ cruise. But we’ve never had the opportunity or the time to do so. This year, however, we will definitely try to realize this project. There are several possibilities. First of all there is the St. Martin de Tours which is moored at Rochecorbon, between Vouvray and Tours According to the information on the internet:

“The Saint-Martin-de-Tours is the only passenger boat in Touraine offering unique views of the limestone cliffs and troglodyte houses of Rochecorbon and the surrounding landscape declared World Heritage Beauty site by UNESCO (source:

The cruise first takes you upstream for about half an hour. Near Vouvray and the Château de Montcontour the boat turns around and navigates downstream again to its mooring place in Rochecorbon. The whole trip takes about 50 minutes. Not long, I admit, but we Belgians are not a ‘sea faring nation’. So I don’t really feel the need for an extended all-afternoon cruise.

Moreover this ‘river cruise’ is one of the three sites in the Touraine region to have obtained the quality label ‘Qualité Tourisme TM’. The other sites are the Château of Villandry and the’ Vallée troglodytique des Goupillières (Azay-le-Rideau). To know the criteria which are required to obtain this label, check out the website of
‘Qualité Tourisme TM’ of the French government.

Another option is a cruise on the Cher River, from Chisseaux to the castle of Chenonceau. The boat makes his way through several locks and passes under the archways of Chenonceau castle. The view of the Château from the water is said to be breathtaking and unique.

There are other possibilities with boats leaving from Amboise and Candes St. Martin, but I haven’t had the time to look into them more closely. Maybe you have already taken one or several of these cruises? If so, I’m curious to know your impressions and recommendations.



Nadege said...

Martine, it sounds so wonderful.
I didn't know they had these kinds of cruises. My ex brother and sister in law have taken few barge trips in Burgundy and the Rhone river. They really loved them.

Carolyn said...

We saw this smallish boat going upstream and then back down when we were walking along the river near Chenonceau. I may even have a picture of it about to go under the Chenonceau arches. It looked like fun.

Please keep us up to date on your planning. I like the way you collect information.

Jean said...

My sister-in-law did the Chenonceau cruise and said it was fabulous, with a nice lunch on board. We have often wondered about it for ourselves.

Other friends did the balloon ride over the château. They were much braver than me, but they really enjoyed it.

ladybird said...

Nadege, Barge cruises on the Rhone or the Canal du Midi are very nice indeed. I've seen some documentaries on the subject and the scences are really idyllic. Personally, however, I don't like to stay too long on the water and the pace is just a bit too slow for me.

Carolyn, I'm still trying to figure out which cruise to take. As for gathering the information, I find a lot of ideas in the monthly newsletter of the Touraine tourist board. It's free and you can subscribe to it by simply leaving your e-mail address on their website: . You'll find a lot of usfual an interesting tips in these newsletters.

Jean, That lunch/cruise idea sounds appealing! Balloon rides over the Loire Valley châteaux are said to be fantastic ... However, I'm like you ... just not brave enough :)