17th-23rd May 2021
Undoubtedly an exceptional place to visit in May - it has been said that spring in the valley of the Loire something that everyone should experience at least once - the Loire Valley, after all, is known as The Garden of France. We might reasonably expect the early morning fog to shroud the landscape in a soft, white haze together with an abundance of green shoots and wild flowers.
To journey around the chateaux of the Loire Valley is to step into an enchanted, fairytale land where castles rise majestically and dense dark forests create the backdrop. Stunningly elegant gardens surround the magnificent Renaissance monuments, and three wide, gently flowing rivers pass through this magical region. The area is abundant in so many ways and never more so than in springtime.
In 1519, the Loire became the cradle of Renaissance creativity, thinking, architecture and art de vivre. It is doubtless with good reason that George Sand, Honoré de Balzac and Leonardo Da Vinci all have strong roots in in this area.
Ancestral castles, contrasting landscapes, troglodyte houses, medieval fortresses, gardens, abbeys and ancient wineries - we will have no shortage of ideas to inspire us on our travels.
Château du Clos Lucé
Leonardo lived out his last three years in the nearby town of Amboise and the rose-bricked charm of the Château du Clos Lucé, his last home, will doubtless provide much to inspire us.
The 15 acre park is magnificent for the innovative way in which Leonardo’s artwork is depicted. The trees are hung with huge translucent representations of his paintings and quotes. They seem to float in the air, backlit and ethereal.
It’s romantic, otherworldly and beautifully presented. As an enormous Mona Lisa sways gently, you almost feel as though you can hear her whisper.
Château de Chenonceau
Almost certainly the most well known of all the châteaux is Château de Chenonceau. It is also the most photographed château in France.
We might venture to suggest there is nothing our friends and clients enjoy more than the challenge of making new and inspiring images from something that has been recorded a million times already.
If the Chaumont-sur-Loire estate had a soul, it would be that of an artist.
The property has a triple identity - it celebrates heritage, art and gardens and has been capturing the hearts of the great and the good around the world since the 15th century.
Bubbling over with creativity, it is an architectural delight of great beauty with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered at every turn.
CENTRE OF THE ARTS
Each year the Centre for Arts and Nature invites internationally renowned artists and photographers come and create unprecedented and original works on the theme of nature. Scattered across the 32 hectares of the site, the works of art offer visitors an introductory tour rich in discoveries, surprises and emotions.
There are also permanent installations and visitors can immerse themselves completely in the spirit of creation that is woven into every inch of the estate.
The gardens are officially designated one of France's 'remarkable gardens' and it isn't hard to see why. The International Garden Festival attracts landscape artists, architects and gardeners from around the globe as they compete to have their work represented here.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Peppered with picturesque villages, the Loire Valley is arguably home to some of the most beautiful villages in France. Chédigny is the only village in France certified with the label “Jardin Remarquable”. A unique garden village with 800 rose bushes and thousands of perennial plants. A rose garden that encompasses a whole village, walking through the narrow streets is a tranquil and serene experience.
We will base ourselves just outside Tours. Often described as a 'mini Paris', the beguiling maze of cobbled streets are lined with 14th-16th century half-timbered townhouses, decorated with exquisitely carved figures.
NANTES ART TRAIL
If time allows, we will head to Nantes to pick up the start of the meandering Artistic Trail which runs along the Loire estuary and invites us to take a new look at this landscape and its environment. Leading visitors through its cobblestone streets and charmingly lopsided buildings, internationally acclaimed artists are showcased and some thirty or so works are exhibited from Nantes to Saint Nazaire.
BEYOND CREATIVE NOURISHMENT
It stands to reason that works of art do not appear out of thin air. Those of you who have travelled with us before know we like to choose our calories carefully. We intend to fully immerse ourselves in what the area has to offer.
In 2015, Ackerman began a collaboration with the prestigious Fontevraud Abbey to jointly establish an artist in residency programme. This has led to the creation of an artwork which has magically transformed the vast underground cellars. In 2019, they won the gold medal in the Wine Tourism Awards in the "Art & culture" category.
The labyrinthine underground cellars are a natural showcase for the display of monumental artworks .