Road trip France
Visiting the castles of the Loire had been on my bucket list for a while. But it was rather something like that for later. But because we couldn’t and didn’t really want to go anywhere by plane last summer, we decided to make a road trip through France. In addition to the Loire region, we also visited Versailles and the Champagne region. Perfect for a 13-day trip.
We decided to book hotels or b&b in advance. But the route we did would also be perfect to do with a camper or you could even camp. As always we have used Booking.com for our overnight stays. The places that I would really recommend I will always mention at every stop.
In France, the major roads are often toll roads. We often checked in advance whether a toll road was much faster than a non-toll road. If there wasn’t much difference, we tried to avoid the toll roads. You will always find this at the distance whether or not we have gone through toll roads.
Day 1: Belgium – Amiens (250 km – 3h (without toll roads))
In the morning we left for Amiens to visit the city for another half day. The city is not very big so perfect for a few hours. We visited the cathedral, had macarons d’Amiens and took a boat tour through les hortillages.
Day 2: Amiens – Gerberoy – Versailles (165 km – 2h50 (without toll roads))
Hotel in Versailles: L’Alcove Royale
The cozy village of Gerberoy is one of the most beautiful villages in France (les plus beaux villages de France). Stroll through the cobbled streets and enjoy the many flowers and roses that you can admire in front of and on the old houses. During the first weekend of June, the village hosts the Rose Festival. Then we drove on to Versailles.
Day 3: Visit Versailles
And then it was time to visit Versailles. We spent a whole day there to visit not only the castle but also the beautiful gardens. Here you can read more about our visit and also find some restaurant tips.
Day 4: Versailles – Chambord – Amboise (226 km – 2h45 (with toll roads))
Hotel Amboise: Gïte Nilou
In the morning we set sail for Chambord Castle, our first castle on the list. After the visit, we drove to Amboise where we had booked a room. Amboise really is the perfect city to explore the region. It is not only centrally located but also has more than enough good restaurants, which is always a plus of course.
We had also booked a wine tasting at Caves Ambacia. After a short explanation, we also learned more about the primary, secondary and tertiary smells of wine. We ended of course by tasting some wines. We went back the next day to enjoy an aperitif.
Day 5: Visit Cheverny Castle and Blois Castle
It was a day of visiting castles. You can read more about our visit here.
Day 6: Chinon
We started the day with a wine tasting at Pb Couly. Definitely, a must if you are in the area. In the afternoon we also visited the town of Chinon and the castle.
Day 7: Visit Chenonceau Castle and Chaumont Castle
On our last day in the Loire region we spent again visiting castles, this time the castles of Chenonceau and Chaumont.
Day 8: Amboise – Bar-Sur-Seine (331 km – 3h (with toll roads))
Hotel Bar-Sur-Seine: Seine en Bulles
Along the way we made a stop for a walk, but this turned out to be not really recommended. We then drove on to Bar-Sur-Seine where we had a room in the beautiful B&B Seine en Bulles. In the supermarket, we bought some cheese and bread and we enjoyed a beautiful summer evening with a bottle of Champagne outside on the terrace. Really enjoy.
Day 9: walk through the vineyards
Bar-Sur-Seine is located in the south of the Champagne region, and more specifically the Aube region. This region is not as well known as the region around Reims and Epernay, but you can still find many small champagne farmers here. In this region, you can mainly find the Pinot Noir grapes.
Departing from Celles-sur-Ource you can take a nice walk through the vineyards of 12 km (chemin de vigneron). This is an ideal walk to explore the region.
In the village itself, you can also visit some winegrowers and taste the champagne. We were just there during “le vendange” so we didn’t really have the chance to visit many farmers. But it was interesting to watch the pickers at work.
Day 10: Bar-sur-Seine – Géraudot – Epernay (131 km – 2h (without toll roads))
Hotel Epernay: Studio 86 Epernay
On the way to Epernay, we stopped briefly in Géraudot for a short walk along the lake. In the summer and September, there are a lot of mosquitoes here, so applying sunscreen before the walk is definitely recommended. Or wear long pants and a sweater with long sleeves.
Once we arrived in Epernay we went to explore the city and enjoyed a glass of champagne. If this is your first visit to the self-proclaimed capital of Champagne, you can book a tour of one of the great champagne houses.
Day 11: Biking to Hautvillers
In our B&B we could rent electric bicycles for a day. We decided to cycle to Hautvillers to visit some champagne farmers there. Here you can read which champagne houses we visited.
Day 12: Exploring more of the Champagne region
We besloten nog een wandeling te maken in de omgeving en reden naar Sermiers. De wandeling van ongeveer 9 km (Circuit de la Noëlle) brengt je niet alleen door wijngaarden maar ook door bossen en velden.
In de namiddag was het tijd om nog wat champagne te drinken op de Avenue de Champagne.
Day 13: going back home
Then it was time to drive back home. You could also pay a visit to Reims. The cathedral is definitely worth a visit. In Reims there are more than 80 champagne houses, so plenty of choices for a visit. Some examples are Ruinart, Taittinger, Krug, Mumm, and Veuve Clicquot.
Have you already visited one of these regions?
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