A Chateau-Infused European Sojourn

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

by and

A 23-day odyssey through Europe's most captivating destinations, beginning in the vibrant streets of London and venturing deep into the heart of France. From the fairytale castles of the Loire Valley to the rugged landscapes of the Dordogne region, to the beaches of Biarritz, and the historic charm of Pau and Lourdes. Explore the rich history, culture, and natural wonders of these enchanting destinations.

Our expedition commenced amidst the hustle and bustle of London, a city steeped in history and modernity. From its iconic landmarks to its thriving arts scene, London set the stage for our European escapade.

The heart of our adventure lay in the enchanting Loire Valley, a region renowned for its magnificent chateaus and lush vineyards. As we wandered through the opulent corridors and manicured gardens of these architectural wonders, we couldn't help but feel transported to a world of fairy tales.

Continuing our journey southward, we found ourselves immersed in the medieval charm of the Dordogne region, where ancient towns, prehistoric caves, and meandering rivers beckoned us to explore. The Dordogne revealed secrets of a bygone era, where history whispered through cobblestone streets and ancient cave paintings.

Our pilgrimage then led us to the hallowed path of the Camino Frances (a historic pilgrimage route leading to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain), where we followed in the footsteps of countless seekers. Although we didn’t traverse the trail on foot, we saw pilgrims starting their journey in the historic St. Jean-Pied-du-Port, and we traversed the Pyrenees mountains on our way to Logrono; another stop on the historic Camino Frances trail.

Venturing into Basque Country, our senses were enraptured by the rugged beauty of Biarritz's coastline, the artistic vibrancy of Bilbao, and the spiritual aura of Lourdes in France. Basque Country, with its unique blend of traditions and landscapes, provided the perfect crescendo to our European symphony.

Join us as we embark on a narrative through London's modernity, the regal chateaus of France, and the enchanting spirit of Basque Country.

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From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond Your passport, the key that unlocks a world of travel experiences, deserves protection. While some may consider a passport cover a mere accessory, its benefits extend far beyond aesthetics. Here's why investing in a good passport cover is a wise decision for any globetrotter:

Constant handling, travel wear and tear, and potential spills can damage your passport. A sturdy passport cover acts as a barrier, protecting the delicate pages and crucial information from scratches, bends, and liquids.

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Trip Destinations List 

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

London, England

There were several good reasons why we selected to start our trip in London, the principle reason being we were able to use United Airlines miles to fly there! The secondary reason was that the last time we were there, we took a lot of really good imagery and then our camera was stolen in Paris. We lost all of that imagery, and we wanted to replace it. And yes, London is a very interesting place to visit.

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

The Loire River Valley of France

The Loire River Valley in France is a picturesque and historically significant region that captivates visitors with its natural beauty and cultural richness. Stretching approximately 280 kilometers through the heart of France, this iconic waterway meanders through lush vineyards, charming villages, and magnificent châteaux.

What truly sets the Loire Valley apart is its extraordinary collection of châteaux (over 300). From the fairy-tale spires of Château de Chambord to the elegant gardens of Villandry, these architectural wonders showcase centuries of French history and artistic achievement. Each château tells a unique story, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore the grandeur of France's past.

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

The Dordogne River Valley of France

The Dordogne River Valley in France is a captivating region known for its breathtaking landscapes, prehistoric treasures, and timeless charm. Flowing for approximately 483 kilometers through southwestern France, the Dordogne River has carved a picturesque valley that enchants visitors with its rolling hills, lush forests, and serene waterways.

The Dordogne Valley is also celebrated for its gastronomy. It is a paradise for food enthusiasts, boasting exquisite truffles, foie gras, and regional wines like Bergerac and Cahors. Local markets burst with fresh produce, inviting visitors to savor the authentic flavors of French cuisine.

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

Exploring Southern France

Our motivation for visiting Southern France was based upon us completing our explorations of the Loire & Dordogne Valleys and then to continue to explore other areas that we had never visited previously. Biarritz was selected because it was somewhat on the route we planned to take into Spain, and because it is obviously a beautiful coastal city.

The southwestern region of France encompassing Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Pau, and Lourdes is a captivating tapestry of natural beauty, historical significance, and spiritual devotion. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port serves as a picturesque starting point for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, with its cobbled streets and centuries-old buildings exuding medieval charm.

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

Exploring Northern Spain

The Logroño, Bilbao and Getxo areas in Spain offer a captivating blend of culture, cuisine, and stunning landscapes in the northern region of the country. Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, is a charming city renowned for its wine culture. It's at the heart of Spain's celebrated wine-producing region, offering numerous wineries, where you can sample world-class Rioja wines. The historic center of Logroño, with its narrow streets and vibrant tapas bars, provides a delightful gastronomic experience.

From London to the Loire Valley and Beyond

Exploring Lourdes, France

When we put together our Trip Plans, we knew we wanted to cover as much of Southern France as possible, so we searched for destinations that would be unique, interesting as well as entertaining. We discovered that Lourdes was actually on our route from Biarritz to Toulouse, and that it has a rich history. The more we researched Lourdes, the more interested we became in exploring it!

The first column below ("All Trip Destinations") lists all of our major trip destinations (for this trip) and the next four columns list each of our trip "basecamps" and then a list of what we explored from that basecamp. Each destination name is linked to it's page - so all you need to do is click that name.


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