Check-in between 6 and 7pm. Welcome meeting in the evening and introduction to the crew. Dinner on board and after dinner there is an optional cruise along a branch of the Loire, the river Erdre, so named the “most beautiful river in France” by King Francis I.
After breakfast there is an optional tour of Nantes to discover the narrow streets of the medieval Bouffay quarter, the beautiful Flamboyant-style Cathedral, the île Feydeau and the shopping districts around the Théâtre Graslin and the Passage Pommeraye. Visit the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany built in the late Middle Ages by Duke Francis II and his daughter, Anne of Brittany, to defend the independence of the Duchy of Brittany, then under threat from the Kingdom of France. Return on board for lunch. Afternoon cruise to Saint-Nazaire, and arrive during the evening. Dinner on board, followed by an evening of entertainment. Overnight in Saint Nazaire.
After breakfast there is an optional excursion to Saint-Nazaire, with a visit to the Escal’Atlantic and the shipyard, one of the largest and well-renowned in Europe. Once the birthplace of the most outstanding French transatlantic liners, today it is the construction site for elegant cruise ships. There is also an alternative optional excursion to Guérande. The tour will visit the salt marshes, where you will discover the process of harvesting Guérande salt and how the marshes work. Return to the ship for lunch. Afternoon cruise to Ancenis and overnight at Ancenis.
Morning optional excursion to visit the famous Muscadet wine region including a stop at the Château Cassemichère (or similar). You will have the opportunity to learn about its historic vineyard, visit the cellars and taste the lovely white wine. Continue to Clisson, a charming medieval city with an Italian feel. Return to the ship and continue the cruise to Angers, arriving early in the evening. Dinner on board and overnight in Angers.
After breakfast there is an optional tour of the town of Angers which was the capital of the historical Anjou province. Visit the 13th century castle and the immense walls of the famous Château d’Angers which contains the extraordinary Apocalypse Tapestry. Return on board for lunch. Optional afternoon excursion to the Cadre Noir and the city of Saumur. In 2011, UNESCO added the Cadre Noir (a horse riding school) to its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; here you will visit the stables and the tack room. Continue the visit and walk through the fortified city of Saumur, dominate by its chateau. Dinner on board and overnight in Saumur.
After breakfast there is a full day’s excursion to the Châteaux of the Loire Valley (lunch included). Departure by coach to the beautiful Château d'Azay-le-Rideau; the chateau is a French national monument and possesses all the refinement found in the French Renaissance. Continue to Villandry for lunch. After lunch, enjoy a walk through the lovely gardens surrounding the Château de Villandry. Continue the tour to visit the Château d’Ussé. Rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries, this stronghold with fortified towers, turrets and steeples looks like something out of a fairytale. Return on board for dinner and overnight in Saumur.