French Gardens: Paris & the Loire - A Marco Polo Journey (2023)

Celebrate the stunning gardens and châteaux of France, from Paris to Versailles, in exuberant style.

Journey Overview

Celebrate the stunning gardens and châteaux of France, from Paris to Versailles, in exuberant style. Devote an entire day to the International Garden Festival at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, privately tour a château with its owner and sample vintages at an organic winery on a journey for flower lovers that includes two nights in Paris.

Journey Highlights

  • Take in the botanical pageantry at the International Garden Festival at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire during a full day on site
  • Sit down to a Champagne picnic on the grounds of Versailles, and then explore the palace itself
  • Explore a variety of châteaux in the Loire Valley, both large and small, including an exclusive visit with the owner of Château du Rivau
  • Stroll the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, once a royal medical garden and now France’s most important botanical garden
  • Join an award-winning florist for a master class in the art of regal floral arrangements at the Château de Chenonceau
  • Learn the secrets of Chantilly cream at the château where it originated

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paris, France

Arrive in Paris, the City of Light, where you are met and transferred to your luxury hotel set amid gardens. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner.

Le Bristol Paris | Meals: D

Day 2: Paris | French Cuisine & the Physician’s Garden

Begin your day with a walking foodie excursion that introduces you to some of Paris’ best-loved treats and the vendors who supply them. Then, explore the Jardin des Plantes. Founded in 1635 as the royal physician’s garden, it is now part of the Museum of Natural History and considered France’s national botanical garden. View its plantings of roses, alpine plants, perennials and more. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure, free to explore Paris.

Le Bristol Paris | Meals: B

Day 3: Loire Valley | Private Garden Tour

Ride Like a Local on the TGV high-speed train to Tours, reaching the heart of the Loire Valley — a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with historic towns, landscapes and châteaux — in only one hour. Upon arrival, privately tour the magnificent gardens of the Château de Villandry, followed by lunch on the grounds. Then, transfer to your hotel nestled in the verdant countryside.

Chateau d'Artigny | Meals: BLD

Day 4: Loire Valley | Meet the Castle’s Owner

Enjoy an A&K-exclusive encounter with the owner of Château du Rivau, who escorts you through this ornamental castle. Afterward, stroll the fairy-tale gardens of the castle grounds, gathering for a private lunch in the exclusive “secret garden” restaurant. This afternoon, travel to Chinon, site of a former castle that housed both English and French royalty, where you participate in a workshop that explores the medicinal uses of plants.

Chateau d'Artigny | Meals: BL

Day 5: Chenonceau | Special Before-Hours Access

Journey east along the Loire River, then up its tributary, the Cher, to beautiful Château de Chenonceau, which arches elegantly over the river’s flowing waters. Enjoy this remarkable castle — once home to Catherine de Medici — without the crowds, thanks to before-hours access arranged by A&K. Take part in a floral master class led by the château’s celebrated chief florist, a winner of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France. Then, proceed to a nearby winery to explore its carved stone cellars and savour a lunch paired with their organic wines.

Les Sources de Cheverny | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Chaumont | The International Garden Festival

Today, experience the International Garden Festival, which each year brings together leading garden designers from around the world to create themed installations at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. Tour the château and its historic stables, and then board a traditional flatboat for a cruise along the Loire, with a lunch on board. Return to Chaumont for an afternoon exploring the fascinating garden creations and botanical wonders of the festival. Continue to Château de Troussay for a private tour and apéritif with a selection of local cheeses and petit fours. This evening dine at your hotel.

Les Sources de Cheverny | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Versailles | Dazzling Legacy of Louis XIV

Drive to the magnificent Palace of Versailles, set in 2,000 acres of beautiful park and gardens principally designed by André Le Nôtre. Indulge in a picnic created with ingredients from local markets amid the splendour of the palace grounds. Then, explore the astounding palace itself, a masterpiece built out to its full glory by Louis XIV. Proceed to your hotel at Chantilly.

Château Hôtel Mont Royal | Meals: BL

Day 8: Chantilly | A Dish Fit for a King

Explore the grand Château de Chantilly, home to one of the country’s best art collections. After lunch in one of its historic buildings, partake in a Chef ’s Table workshop that reveals the secrets behind authentic Chantilly cream, which was first served at this castle during a lavish party held for Louis XIV. Return to the hotel for time at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner.

Château Hôtel Mont Royal | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Depart Paris

After breakfast, transfer to Charles de Gaulle airport for your departing flight.

Meals: B

Journey Details

Minimum age is 12 years.
First group event: welcome briefing at 6:00 p.m. on Day 1.
Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Day 8.
Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Program Note: Combine the first departure of this journey with English Gardens & the Chelsea Flower Show to create one grand garden show adventure.

Please note: Proof of COVID-19 full vaccination is required for this program.

Included with every Marco Polo Journey

  • English-Speaking Resident Tour Director and Local Guides
  • Hand-Selected Luxury Accommodations (Where Available)
  • Airport Meet and Greet with Private Transfers
  • Travelling Bell Boy Luggage Handling
  • Breakfast in Bed on Select Days
  • Full Breakfast Daily; Select Lunches and Dinners
  • Traveller’s Valet Laundry Service
  • Internet Access (Where Available)
  • Entrance Fees, Taxes and All Gratuities Except Resident Tour Director
  • 24/7 A&K On-Call Support
  • Guaranteed Departures with Just Two Guests

Customise this Journey

Talk to one of our expert Journey Designers or your travel agent about booking this tour as a private journey for your own small group with family or friends. Or, if you would prefer to travel privately, find out more about creating the perfect bespoke tailor-made journey based on this itinerary.

Show Full Itinerary
Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

May 26, 2023 - Jun 3, 2023
Price AU$18,160pp Single Supplement AU$4,640 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Jul 21, 2023 - Jul 29, 2023
Price AU$18,160pp Single Supplement AU$4,640 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Call for Availability Enquire

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