A Castle to Castle Riding Tour in the Loire Valley in France

October 8, 2013

An international group of equestrians bring their Mangalarga Marchador horses on a dreamy riding tour from castle to castle in the Loire valley in France.

from Sophia Baptista de Oliveira

France means excellent food and wonderful wines, Loire Valley means more than 60 castles within a circle of 31 miles (50 km) and Brazilians mean special horses: Mangalarga Marchadors!

castle horse loire valley france

Mounted on Mangalarga Marchadors outside of the Chateau de Chambord in France.

The Loire Valley lies in central France, bordered by the regions of Brittany, Normandy and the Ile de France to the north, the Massif Central and Poitou to the south, Burgundy to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The river itself is the longest in France (1,020 km /634 miles). One can distinguish the six diverse regions along this beautiful valley.

Our Loire Valley riding tour was mainly in the Blaisois (Blois) in the central part. This fertile land was once the playground of kings and their court, who left behind a trail of magnificent châteaux ranging from exuberant Renaissance to Classical grandeur. With fields of vines stretching along both banks of the river, wine has an important place in the Loire Valley, of which Sancerre and Muscadet are the best known.

chateau castle france horse loire

The riders outside of a beautiful chateau in the Loire Valley in France.

I made this trip with Marcelo Baptista de Oliveira and Astrid Oberniedermayr and Dieter Mader and the vitrine stallions Patek de Maripá, Urano de Maripá, Ourofino El Far and the stallion Fandango de Maripá. Again these Marchadors did a wonderful job and gave us great time riding in comfortable Marcha with a speed of 9 km / h along the castles!

The rides took two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Lunch breaks always took place in or close to one of the wonderful castles, giving us the chance to visit the castle and have some lunch and some wine.

On the first day of our castles riding tour of the Loire valley, we took a leisurely two-hour ride westwards through wooded areas and farmland brought us to the privately owned Château de Montpoupon, home to the “Huntsman Museum” where 25 rooms are dedicated to the history, craft and skills associated with everything to do with horses and hunting. After lunch, we visited the Auberge du Château.

Chauteau Montpoupon

Château de Montpoupon's Manor House is from the 12th century with a famous huntsman museum. Montpoupon was one of the famous hunting teams in the area.

The next morning after breakfast, we packed up and left the Prieuré de la Chaise to rejoin the horses and ride to the magnificent Château de Chenonceau, followed by a visit to this jewel of the Renaissance.

The afternoon was spent riding through the beautiful forest of “Amboise” to Souvigny de Touraine. Here the horses spent the night in the Gite Equestre Le Tremblay in nearby Vallieres Les Grandes. A ten-minute car transfer brought us riders to the majestic Château de Pray overlooking the Loire River.

After rejoining with our horses at Souvigny de Touraine the next day, we rode along the Loire River to the 15th century Château de Chaumont, where we stopped for lunch. We were able to visit of the château and its beautiful and famous gardens. We then rode along the Loire for a few miles before turning south towards Pontlevoy.

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