loire-Blois - bridge

Freewheeling France – LOIRE & NORMANDY self-guided driving holidays

Driving holidays for people who want to explore independently with the security of a planned itinerary. Tell us where you want to go, how long you’ve got, your must-see sights, preferred type of accommodation and leave the rest to us.

While all holidays are fully customised, some regions are requested often, such as the LOIRE and NORMANDY. There are good train and TGV connections from Paris to the main towns of the Loire. For Normandy, Rouen is the perfect starting point. It’s less than an hour from Paris by train and has a beautiful old centre with half-timbered buildings, notable churches, cathedral and museums.

Below is an itinerary that combines the Loire and Normandy, but we can also link the Loire with Brittany to the west, or the Limousin and Dordogne regions to the south, or with Burgundy to the east.

Day 1 – Train from Paris Austerlitz to Amboise, then taxi to your studio apartment, or a central 3 star hotel. Relax and explore Amboise (Royal chateau, Clos de Luce).

Day 2 – Morning in Amboise, then collect your rental car for an excursion to Chateau de Valmer for its gardens and return to Amboise via the vineyards of Vouvray.

Day 3 – Explore Amboise and its market, then drive over the hills to Chenonceaux for the Loire’s most famous Renaissance chateau. Overnight Amboise.

Day 4 – Full day excursion to discover Blois and its rambling chateau.  Return to Amboise via the elegant chateau at Cheverny.

loire-chat Cheverny

Day 5 – Wind through the Montlouis vineyards to Villandry to see the famous garden, then continue to Chinon for a 3 night stay at a welcoming B&B with parking, in the centre of town.

Day 6 – Excursion to the Renaissance gem, Chateau d’Azay-le Rideaux and the fortified chateau at Langeais. Return to Chinon via the Bourgeuil vineyards.

Day 7 – Excursion to Fontevraud for its Royal abbey, then through the Saumur-Champigny vineyards to Saumur. Overnight Chinon.

Day 8 – Head north to Le Mans for a walkabout and lunch, then take the autoroute to Bayeux for a 4 night stay at an elegant, central 3 star hotel.

Day 9 – Morning in Bayeux, then an excursion to Omaha Beach with the option of a 6km walk along the coast to Point Hoc and Grandcamp Maisy (or drive).

Day 10 – Morning in Bayeux, then to Caen for lunch and to discover its historic centre.

Day 11 Full day excursion to Arromanches and the Normandy beaches, returning to Bayeux via Chateau de Fontaine-Henry and the lovely Jardins de Brecy.

Day 12 – Autoroute to the resort town of Deauville, then follow the coast to Honfleur for lunch and walkabout. After the spectacular bridge over the Seine estuary, discover the dramatic cliffs at Etretat and Fecamp en route to Veules-les-Roses for a charming complex with studio apartments.

Day 13 – Morning in Veules-les-Roses, then an excursion to the fabulous gardens of Bois des Moutiers and Chateau de Miromesnil.

Day 14 – Morning in Veules-les-Roses, then an excursion to Dieppe, or to Jardins de Bellevue and the peaceful Foret d’Eawy.

Day 15 – To Rouen and return the car, before taking a train to Paris, or stay a night or two in Rouen.

CONTACT US to discuss your Loire and/or Normandy driving holiday.