Tag Archives: Trips

8 Day Loire Canoe Tour

Chateau_de_Chenonceau_Ra-smit

Château de Chenonceaux by Ra Smit

Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Tour

This is an 7 Night, 8 Day Tour in which we canoe on the Loir, the Loire, the Creuse and the Cher in the Loire region of central France.

We will explore the valley of the Loire by canoe, see many of its famous Châteaux and experience its cuisine and wines.

The tour includes:

  • canoeing on 4 different rivers
  • is Fully Guided whilst on the river & trail
  • all transport between hotels and rivers
  • includes all accommodation in B&Bs & small Hotels
  • includes all breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
  • a canoe through the Château Chenonceaux
  • picnics on islands and wild swims
  • a visit to the Château where Leonardo Da Vinci lived
  • visits to several other famous Châteaux
  • and a visit to the Parc Naturel Regional la Brenne
Château de Chambord by Arnold Scherer

Château de Chambord by Arnold Scherer

Tour description

 The rivers of the Loire valleys are flowing west towards the Atlantic Ocean at Nantes. The Loire itself is one of Frances longest at about 1000km, and is reputed to have 1000 Chateaux along its length. The Loir is a picturesque tributary of the Sarthe river which flows into the Loire. It generally flows parallel to the Loire and slightly north. The Cher is a tributary of the Loire that runs just south of it and joins it near Tours. The Creuse river is south of the Loire and runs through the Parc Naturel La Brenne.
The rivers are calm, if a little quick in places, with easy paddling through beautiful scenery. We can expect little more than riffles and no rapids. During the day we will find an island to take our picnic lunch on and if the weather is hot enough enjoy a wild swim or two. We will have plenty of fun weaving between the islands and should have plenty of opportunity for wildlife watching.

In the evenings we will be able to spend time visiting the small riverside towns where we are staying before out evening dinner together either at the hotel or out in the town. We will also keep an eye out for local events that often occur in these towns and villages during the summer months: fetes, concerts and the like. Before our canoeing excursion each day we will perhaps visit a local market to procure our picnic lunch for the day.

Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines.

We will pass several Châteaux on the river as we canoe by but we will also have the opportunity to visit many of the Châteaux in person. Those of note include the Chambord, Blois, Chenonceux, Chaumont, Amboise, and Clos Lucé (where Leonardo da Vinci lived).

More details can be found on our website about this and all our other tours.

A 6 Day version of this Tour is available too.

Château de Châteaudun by Patrick Giraud

Château de Châteaudun by Patrick Giraud

Day to Day Schedule

Day 1. Arrival

You will be met at the Orléans TGV Railway station sometime around midday.

Alternative arrangements can be made for arrivals, such as at regional airports, by prior arrangement.

We will drive to Lavardin (1hr30mins) and stop here for a picnic lunch, get to know each other and go over the trip together.  If it’s warm enough we will have a wild swim in the Loir or take a walk around the beautiful hilltop town.

We will then have a 55 minute drive to our accomodation in Châteaudun, where we will stay for the evening.

Taking a break at Rigny-Usse on the River Loire, France

Taking a break at Rigny-Usse on the River Loire, France

Day 2. A paddle on the Loir

Today we will paddle the Loir river. In the morning we will have time to wander the town first, and perhaps visit the castle, before we drive upstream to Marboué  and then paddle back down to Châteaudun (6.5km). We will find a place for our picnic lunch on the island in town.

In the afternoon we will paddle from Douy to Saint-Jean Froidmentel (15km) and enjoy the scenery as we go.

After our paddle we will drive to Blois (about 45mins) to our hotel in the town. We will have time to wander around around before dinner in the evening.

Steve and Coral paddling on the River Loire, France

Steve and Coral paddling on the River Loire, France

Day 3. First day on the Loire.

Today we will travel up to Cavereau and paddle back to Blos (20km). We will have plenty of time to wild swim along the way as we explore the islands. Somewhere along the way we will stop for our picnic lunch.

During the paddle we will pass the château de Colliers, Church of Saint Dyé sur Loire (former port of Chambord), the village of Cour sur Loire and the Château de Menars.

After the paddle we will visit a local Chateau. The famous Chambord is close by, as are several others.

Tonight we will stay at the same hotel as last night.

Steve and Coral on the Loire, France

Steve and Coral on the Loire, France

Day 4. Second day on the Loire

Today we continue our paddle on the Loire and continue from Blois as we head to Chaumont (20km). Again we will be dodging islands, swimming and finding a private spot for our lunch.

We will paddle through Blois and pass by the Port de la Creusille, where you can see the traditional boats of the Loire.

Afterwards we will take the time to wander around the pretty town of Chaumont, again with its classic Chateau. We are staying in a hotel in town so we have plenty of time to explore before dinner.

Château de Clos Lucé by Nadègevillain

Château de Clos Lucé by Nadègevillain

Day 5. Third day on the Loire

Again we continue our adventure down the Loire as we head towards Amboise (18km).

More exploring of islands and such!

We will paddle beneath both the Château of Chaumont sur Loire and the Château Amboise.

At Amboise we will explore the Châteaux and perhaps also the Clos Luce which is the chateau where Leonardo de Vinci lived out his last years.

We then have to drive to our hotel at Le Blanc in the Parc Naturel La Brennes on the River Creuse (90mins).

The River Loire and the Chateau at Amboise, Loire, France

The River Loire and the Chateau at Amboise, Loire, France

Day 6. A canoe on La Creuse

In the morning we will have time to explore where we are staying before starting our day on the river.

Today we are paddling La Creuse a pretty river running through the Parc Naturel. After a short drive upstream we will put-in at Scoury, paddle past where we where staying at Le Blanc ou Le Blanc and continue onto Tournon St Martin. This is an all day paddle and we will, as usual, find a spot for our picnic lunch and very likely a place for a swim or two.

After our canoe we will relax on the riverbank for a little while enjoying the local wines before a short drive to Chenonceaux (80mins) where we will be staying for the night.

Steve and Coral arrive at Montsoreau under the Chateau, Loire, France

Steve and Coral arrive at Montsoreau under the Chateau, Loire, France

Day 7. A paddle on the Cher

 After a wander to explore our surroundings we will take to the Cher for a days paddle (18km) which finishes with a spectactular paddle beneath the Château Chenonceaux.

 This really is a wonderful stretch of river and we will take all day to enjoy it with a sumptious  picnic half-way through the long day as well as perhaps a swim or too.

When we are finished we will go for a beer or a glass of wine or an ice-cream in a cafe which overlooks the final stretch of our days paddling. If possible we will find the time to visit the Châteaux too.

We return to the same hotel we stayed in last night in Chenonceaux where we celebrate our adventures on the rivers of the region by having our final nights dinner together.

Kristine, Steve and Coral on Picnic Island, Loire, France

Kristine, Steve and Coral on Picnic Island, Loire, France

Day 8. Departure and Farewells

When we are ready we will drive for an hour and a half to the Orléans TGV Railway station for our return to Paris and beyond.

If time allows we can arrange to visit any of the Châteaux we may have missed, or indeed anything else in the vicinity, before the train departure.

Château de Blois by Tango1774

Château de Blois by Tango1774

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Canoe Keep Resolutions?

A Green River Canoes Poster: http://goo.gl/GRZBSF © Steven R House 2014

Everything must have a Resolution

It’s the usual time of year for making resolutions.

Beginning the New Year with some serious goals to improve and expand your canoeing not only helps keep your list interesting, but also makes it less likely to go the way of most resolution lists. Try out a few of the ideas below and make 2016 a year of adventure! I’m kidding. Most of us don’t have a hope!

Keep in mind that an early relapse needn’t undo your best intentions. Just switch to the Orthodox calendar, accept 14 January as your new New Year’s Day, and begin again. And if you fail again the Chinese New Year is 8 February. For serious failures, or to give yourself more time, consider that the EthiopianCalendar  is approximately 8 years behind our Gregorian one and that their New Year is about September 11th.

First however bear in mind some rules for making sure you can achieve your resolutions.

Resolution Rules

Do Not use Previous Resolutions

You failed at these before that’s why you’re considering giving it another bash. Don’t. It’s a failure for ever. This is liberating and not at all depressing. Even if you had achieved it you would still have realised the overall pointless of it all.

Choose Many Resolutions

This will give you ample room for failure and a better chance that at least one will stick. Spread the disappointment of non-achievment around. With any luck you may still have a chance to fail, right at the end, this time next year.

Make your Resolutions Reasonable

Say you will try to do ‘x’ instead of I will do ‘x’. Let yourself down easy. Even better make your targets incremental. Just as soon as you find out what that is.

Use Last Years Achievments as Resolutions

If you accidentally achieved something last year that you omitted to make a resolution last year, then drag it out and claim it for this year. Then you can relax. Do try to inform any friends about these achievements if they are not aware of them. Don’t go to early though. February should be fine.

Avoid Common Resolutions

Really everyone is attempting to do these. Stopping drinking and losing weight. No-one will care if you do or don’t achieve them. Some may actually hate you if you do. So what’s the point? Find your unique gelling point and that way you can bore everyone silly about your resolutions.

Don’t Resolute when Drunk

You will have forgotten what they were anyway and if someone reminds you of promises made whilst you were down in your cups then stare at them hard. They don’t count now, and never did.

Social Media Resolutions

Don’t do it. Everyone else is anyway so you’ll have already been culled by all your online friends and your streams will be empty. When they sheepishly return you can chastise/troll them for it mercilessly.

January 1st Resolutions

These don’t count either.

Lower the Resolution Bar

Get over yourself and aim low. This will surely give you a better chance of succeeding even if your success has less bragging rights. Start low and go lower.

Resolutions that Never Fail

Go for the resolutions that are heroic even in the event of failure. Because it’s the taking part that counts.

Try 2 Year Resolutions

Just give yourself longer to achieve the hard things, with the added advantage of not requiring you to go through all this hassle this time next year.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax02Resolution Ideas

Explore a New River, Lake or Sea

Particularly if it is near where you live and you always thought it might be dull. Find out. Everywhere has some interest. If you’ve been doing the same runs over & over. Try somewhere new. If you normally paddle a river, try a lake, and vice-versa. If you normally paddle a canoe, try a kayak.

Camp Overnight

Taking all your camping gear out by canoe is a thrill. Find a place to wild-camp if possible. Leave the technology behind. Enjoy a fire and the stars.

Try A Charity

This could be by donating your time to helping get disadvantaged people on the water or helping protect a threatened environment. In the USA you may like to help protect the Boundary Waters. In the UK you could help protect reptiles & amphibians. You will have your own favourites.

Take a First Aid or Rescue Course

It’s always good to top up your skills. It could be vital. In the UK the St. John’s organisation is the place for First Aid training. You can do a Foundation Rescue Course and Whitewater Rescue Course at British Canoeing.

Get Professional Coaching

Even seasoned paddlers can benefit from professional coaching or instruction. Learn something new or correct bad habits you didn’t know you had. It’s never too late to learn and it’s very important to top your skills up.

Try a Tandem Boat with a Friend

If you normally paddle solo, then try a tandem, and vice-versa. The communiation skills are important. The co-operation is vital. But must of all it’s important to share. In fact forget solo paddling altogether it’s just plain unsociable.

Introduce a friend to the sport

Experience the nostalgia of watching someone discover the magic of paddling and practice your teaching skills by taking a friend with you to a lake or an easy river this year.

Start a Diary

Keeping a diary or log can be beneficial in the long run to help remind you of how rivers are at certain levels and certain times, and it will help you remember your days on the river and who you were with when you are in your dotage!

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax03

So Happy New Year and all the best on the water for 2016. Don’t take yourself seriously, but take the water seriously, help the environment as much as you can and have a fabulous year.