THE LOIRE VALLEY 2016 NEWSLETTER
STEP INSIDE A WORLD OF FAIRYTALES
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HEIRLOOM TOMATOES AND CHERISHED ESTATES
Explore the world’s most complete and diverse heirloom tomato conservatory as the VIP guest of a French prince. After living in India and Latin America, where he was amazed to discover the great variety of fruits and vegetables in the world, the “garden prince” traded his crown and scepter for a straw hat and pitch fork. He has dedicated his life to his 55-hectare estate, listed as a historical monument, where he grows over 650 varieties of rare vintage tomatoes. As you walk the chateau gardens the prince will share his passion for biodiversity, quality organic foods and the natural way of life. End your visit with a gourmet lunch at the tomato bar, where you can choose specialties such as ratatouille, gazpacho, tarts, crumbles and jams… all made with the farm’s tasty tomatoes!
THE BEST OF
THE SECRETS OF THE TROGLODYTES
On your special guided tour, a local expert will take you to discover the unique troglodyte caves of the Cher. When kings and queens quarried the golden tufa limestone from the cliffs of the Loire Valley to build their mighty castles, they left magnificent caves and caverns behind. These fascinating labyrinths were the perfect temperature to store the fine white wines of the region, cultivate top-quality gourmet mushrooms and even build homes. Visit the unique underground villages and prestigious cellars of a time gone by and learn the secrets of their captivating history. You can even stay in a magnificent luxury hotel built in a troglodyte cliffside!
IT’S NOW OR NEVER
THE LIFE OF A RENAISSANCE MAN
The Chateau Clos Lucé is dedicated to honouring the art and the boundless vision of Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in this humble residence until his death. 500 years after his arrival at the Chateau, 2016 is marked by an exceptional program with brand new exhibitions featuring innovative displays and attractions. Walk in the footsteps of the great humanist thinker and see his inventions come to life through interactive models, flying machines, automobiles, aerial screws and giant translucent panels depicting his life’s work. Understand Da Vinci’s intense desire for unveiling the mechanics of life through the observation of his drawings, studies and inventions.
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S CASTLE
Accompanied by your local driver/guide, head to the edge of the dark and mysterious forest of Chinon, where the majestic white outline of the Chateau Ussé stands boldly on the hillside. This middle aged fortress inspired Charles Perrault to write the classic tale of sleeping beauty. The Duke of Blacas, whose family has managed the castle for the past two centuries, has recreated the main scenes of the story for visitors to relive in specially decorated rooms along the sentry walk. Admire the vast gardens designed by famed landscape artist Le Notre, the 30 meters of underground passageways, the imposing 33-meter-high dungeon, and the glamourous 18th century haute couture on display in this year’s special exhibition.
THE MICHELIN STAR EXPERIENCE
There is no better way to get to know the traditional cuisine of the Loire Valley than to prepare it yourself. Under the guidance of the most distinguished chef in the region, a private cooking course provides the perfect initiation to tasting, pairing and preparing your favourite gastronomic recipes. Start by choosing your ingredients from the restaurant’s very own fruit and vegetable garden, where the highest quality fresh produce is grown according to each season. Follow a step by step recipe explained by the master chef and gain an understanding of how basic elements can be combined in new and surprising ways to best compliment and highlight their individual flavours. Toast to your efforts with hand-picked champagnes and fine wines as you sit down to enjoy your meal!