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This brochure is provided by Green River Canoes Ltd and details some of the Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips described on the website at www.greenrivercanoes.com . You can also reach us at: https://www.facebook.com/greenrivercanoes https://twitter.com/canoegreenriver For any questions please email us at info@greenrivercanoes.com or use the form at http://greenrivercanoes.com/contact-us You can subscribe to our infrequent newsletter to receive news of new trips, schedules and offers. Steven House


“Contents Green River Canoes

6

Introduction

8

8 Day Loire 4 Rivers Tour

11

Where We Stay

27

What we see

33

Canoeing

34

Wild-Swimming

34

Hiking

35

Wildlife

36

Loire Wines

39

Maps and Books

40


Green River Canoes We provide Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoeing Trips on beautiful calm green rivers in the Loire regions of central France. This brochure describes the following tour: 8 Days and 4 Rivers in the Loire with canoeing on the Loir, the Loire, the Cher, and the Creuse rivers. All our trips are guided. Our guests will be accompanied on the river and trail by an experienced guide who knows the area and rivers well. Our other guide will accompany us in the background by driving our vehicle between lodgings. When necessary this vehicle will be transferring our luggage, meeting us for lunch and generally being available as and when needed. All the accommodation on our trips is in small local Hotels, Chambre D'Hotes or B&Bs:


All our trip prices include transfers, canoe hire, accommodation (with breakfasts) all lunches and all evening meals. Trips come in two sizes: with up to 7 guests we will have 2 guides and with between 8 and 14 guests we will have 3 guides (2 on the river & trail). Larger groups can be accommodated by request.


Introduction Take your time in examining the summary page for each trip and then look at the day-to-day schedule and the description of the hotels we use. This should give you a good idea of what to expect from each trip. The Prices and Dates page is self explanatory and the Details and Queries page may also answer some of the more technical questions you might have. If you have further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us, we are only to happy to help. In particular if the dates we've scheduled don't fit your requirements or you would like to change the schedule in some way then we will do our best to help you.


If you are a group of 4 or more then we are also happy to arrange a private trip for you. Just provide us with the dates you would like, the trip your are interested in (with any schedule changes you require) and we will do our utmost to provide it. Although our regular and scheduled trips have a maximum of 14 guests and 3 guides, larger groups can be accommodated with private and custom trips.


8 Day Loire 4 Rivers Tour This is an 7 Night, 8 Day tour in which we canoe on the Loir, the Loire, the Creuse and the Cher in the Loire region of central France. We will explore the valley of the Loire by canoe, see many of its famous Chateaux and experience its cuisine and wines. The rivers of the Loire valleys are flowing west towards the Atlantic Ocean at Nantes. The Loire itself is one of Frances longest at about 1000km, and is reputed to have 1000 Chateaux along its length. The Loir is a picturesque tributary of the Sarthe river which flows into the Loire. It generally flows parallel to the Loire and slightly north. The Cher is a tributary of the Loire that runs just south of it and joins it near Tours. The Creuse river is south of the Loire and runs through the Parc Naturel La Brenne. The rivers are calm, if a little quick in places, with easy paddling through beautiful scenery. We can expect little more than riffles and no rapids. During the day we will find an island to take our picnic lunch on and if the weather is hot enough enjoy a wild swim or two. We will have plenty of fun weaving between the islands and should have plenty of opportunity for wildlife watching. In the evenings we will be able to spend time visiting the small riverside towns where we are staying before out evening dinner together either at the hotel or out in the town. We will also keep an eye out for local events that often occur in these towns and villages during the summer months: fetes, concerts and the like. Before our canoeing excursion each day we will perhaps visit a local market to procure our picnic lunch for the day. Â


Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines. We will pass several Châteaux on the river as we canoe by but we will also have the opportunity to visit many of the Châteaux in person. Those of note include the Chambord, Blois, Chenonceux, Chaumont, Amboise, and Clos Lucé (where Leonardo da Vinci lived).


Day to Day Schedule Day 1. Arrival, first meeting and riverside walk. You will be met at the OrlĂŠans TGV Railway station sometime around midday. Alternative arrangements can be made for arrivals, such as at regional airports, by prior arrangement. We will drive to Lavardin (1hr30mins) and stop here for a picnic lunch, get to know each other and go over the trip together. Â If it's warm enough we will have a wild swim in the Loir or take a walk around the beautiful hilltop town. We will then have a 55 minute drive to our accommodation in Chateaudun, where we will stay for the evening.


Day 2. A paddle on the Loir. Today we will paddle the Loir river. In the morning we will have time to wander the town first, and perhaps visit the castle, before we drive upstream to Saint-Christophe, paddle down to Marboué for some lunch on the river bank and then paddledown to Châteaudun (16.5km). After our paddle we will drive to Blois (about 45mins) to our hotel in the town. We will have time to wander around the narrow streets and chateaux here before dinner in the evening.


Day 3. First day on the Loire Today we will travel up to Cavereau and paddle back to Blos (20km). We will have plenty of time to wild swim along the way as we explore the islands. Somewhere along the way we will stop for our picnic lunch. During the paddle we will pass the Château de Colliers, Church of Saint Dyé sur Loire (former port of Chambord), the village of Cour sur Loire and the Château de Menars. After the paddle we will visit a local Château. The famous Chambord is close by, as are several others. Tonight we will stay at the same hotel as last night.


Day 4. Second day on the Loire Today we continue our paddle on the Loire and continue from Blois as we head to Chaumont (20km). Again we will be dodging islands, swimming and finding a private spot for our lunch. We will paddle through Blois and pass by the Port de la Creusille, where you can see the traditional boats of the Loire. Afterwards we will take the time to wander around the pretty town of Chaumont, again with its classic Château We are staying in a hotel in town so we have plenty of time to explore before dinner.


Day 5. Third day on the Loire Again we continue our adventure down the Loire as we head towards Amboise (18km). More exploring of islands and such! At Amboise we will explore the Château and perhaps also the Clos Lucé which is the Château where Leonardo de Vinci lived out his last years. We drive to our hotel at Le Blanc in the Parc Naturel La Brennes on the River Creuse (90mins). Our B&B is on the river bank of the Creuse and we can walk along it for dinner in town.


Day 6. A Paddle on the Creuse river In the morning we will have time to explore where we are staying before starting our day on the river. Today we are paddling La Creuse a pretty river running through the Parc Naturel. After a short drive upstream we will put-in at Scoury, and paddle downstream to Le Blanc. This is an all day paddle and we will, as usual, find a spot for our picnic lunch and very likely a place for a swim or two. After our canoe we will relax on the riverbank for a little while enjoying the local wines before a short drive to Chenonceaux (80mins) where we will be staying for the night.


Day 7. A Paddle on the Cher After a wander to explore our surroundings we will take to the Cher for a days paddle (18km) which finishes with a spectacular paddle beneath the Château Chenonceaux. This really is a wonderful stretch of river and we will take all day to enjoy it with a sumptuous picnic half-way through the long day as well as perhaps a swim or too. When we are finished we will go for a beer or a glass of wine or an ice-cream in a cafe which overlooks the final stretch of our days paddling. If possible we will find the time to visit the Château too. We return to the same hotel we stayed in last night in Chenonceaux where we celebrate our adventures on the rivers of the region by having our final nights dinner together.


Day 8. Departures and Farewells When we are ready we will drive for an hour and a half to the OrlÊans TGV Railway station for our return to Paris and beyond. If time allows we can arrange to visit any of the Château we may have missed, or indeed anything else in the vicinity, before the train departure.


Where We Stay The Moulin de Segland, about 4kms from Chateaudun on the banks of the Loir river. We stay here on our first night. It’s a beautiful little spot, the rooms are beautifully decorated and the breakfast is fabulous.


Hotel Côté Loire, Blois We stay here on our 2nd and 3rd nights. The Hotel le Côté Loire is nestled back from the road that follows the bank of Loire, on the Place de la Grève (just a 2 minutes walk to the castle of Blois). It was built during the XVIth century.


Hostellerie du Château, Chaumont We stay here on our 4th night. L’Hostellerie du Chateau is situated in the charming village of Chaumont sur Loire, between Blois and Amboise in the centre of the Grands Châteaux circuit of Chambord, Blois, Amboise, Chenonceaux. The hotel is on the banks of the Loire, at the foot of the feudal Chaumont castle which dominates the valley


Manoir de la Presle, Le Blanc We stay here on our 5th night Built between the 17 and 19 century, the manor of Presle is located in a peaceful area surrounded by a 5-hectare park. Along the river Creuse at the end of the property  you can access the shops and discover the beautiful city of Blanc with its historical and cultural heritage.


La Roseraie, Chenonceaux We stay here on our 6th and 7th nights. This small, romantic, 18th-century-built hotel, sits in a very convenient location in the village centre, a mere 400m walking distance from the Château de Chenonceau.


What We See France's lavish royal past is everywhere in the gentle landscapes of the Loire Valley. Hundreds of majestic châteaux and palaces follow the course of the country's longest river as it makes its way to the Atlantic. The valleys exceptionally fertile land drew France's rulers during the 15th century, when they created ever more elaborate royal residences during the French Renaissance. The nobility soon followed, turning this so-called Valley of the Kings into a wonderfully over-the-top game of architectural one-upmanship. Their gardens had to be just as ornate, notably the ones at Villandry and Chaumont-sur-Loire, home to one of France's biggest garden festivals which runs from April until October. In the summer, the châteaux become magical in the evening sonet-lumière shows that light up their grounds in July and August. CHÂTEAUX OF THE LOIRE VALLEY: Chateaudun where we stay on our first night Chambord, just off the Loire, on our first day on the river Blois, we stay in this town two nights. Chenonceux, we canoe through this when paddling the Cher river Chaumont, on the Loire we we arrive on the second day on the river Amboise, on the Loire where we arrive on our 3rd day on the river. and Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years in Amboise


Canoeing All the canoes for the trips are provided by us and include paddles and a life-jacket. The price is included in the trip. We always prefer open Canadian style canoes, which are paddled in tandem - with two people aboard (usually). If you prefer to paddle solo then this can be arranged. These canoes are especially suited for the calm water conditions we will be paddling on and are stable and safe. They allow plenty of room for yourself and your stuff. From time to time we get clients who wish to paddle a Kayak. We can arrange this for you if you prefer but we do stress that the rivers we canoe do not really warrant the use of a kayak and we feel tandem paddling in a canoe is the way to go. Most of our clients have been canoeing before but we will insist on reviewing safety procedures at the beginning of paddling each day and revise paddling strokes for those who haven't paddled for a while or have paddled on lakes rather than rivers for example. For those who have never paddled before their will be plenty of time for lessons as we go. These rivers are ideal places for learning. If time and the inclination allows we can also practise other paddling procedures such as Eddy Turns, Peeling Out and Ferrying. The clients will not be expected to lift or carry canoes at any time.

Wild-Swimming The rivers we paddle on provide ample scope for wild-swimming, and we have many opportunities for this.


Hiking Although the main focus of the trips will be on the canoeing we will have plenty of time for short walks and longer hikes. Where possible we will walk to and from the river, although this is not compulsory. In the appropriate season when early mornings are light we can opt to go for a pre-breakfast walk. The length and timing of the walk will depend on a consensus reached between those that wish to walk, how early we wish to rise and the time of year.


Wildlife On the river we will see plenty of bird-life both on and around the water. We will see Ducks, and Herons. We will also see K i n g f i s h e r s , Wa g t a i l s , Dippers and Sandpipers. We will see Swallows and Swifts and Martins as well as various other birds crossing our path such as Woodpeckers, Jays and other crows as well as the almost invisible songbirds in the tree and hedges. Of the raptors we will see the Common Buzzard and possibly an Osprey or a Kestrel. This area of France has a rich variety of Butterflies and we will see many familiar species (if you are from Britain). We will also see some rather more exotic species such as the two types of Swallowtail, the Cleopatra, the Banded Grayling and if we are lucky some rarer species such as the Large Blue or the Lesser Purple Emperor or Festoons. The river itself will provide many examples of the Dragonfly and Damselfly family. The delicate damsels include the Western Demoiselle, the WhiteLegged, the Orange Featherleg, the Blue Featherleg and various Bluets and Bluetails. Of the dragons we may see the Small Pincertail, the Ye l l o w C l u b t a i l , t h e Pronged Clubtail and the Common Clubtail


amongst others. We will also be able to see many flowers, especially early in the season before the meadows are cut, and these will include several orchids such as the Purple, the Pyramid, the Bee and the Lizard Orchids. Of course we will also see many trees and shrubs along the river course and in the forests. We can have some fun trying to identify them. Of the reptiles we will probably see lizards and hear frogs. We sometimes see a Grass Snake swimming in the river (harmless) and sometimes a Viper (the only venomous snake, which is small, 18 inches long, and not very poisonous). The hardest things to see are the mammals. We have seen Nutria and Otters on these rivers and we've also glimpsed Red Squirrels and Mink and Martens along the banks. On the early morning walks we've encountered Foxes, Roe Deer and Fallow Deer. Badgers have only been seen at night in the headlights. The European Beaver swims in the Loire and if we are lucky we may catch a glimpse of these.


Loire Wines Some of France's most celebrated wines come from the vineyards of the Loire Valley, notably the crisp whites from Sancerre, Pouillysur-Loire and Vouvray. They make superb partners for the nutty goat's cheese from Chavignol. Similarly, it's hard not to have a glass of Muscadet without some form of seafood on the plate. Then there are the underrated red wines of Chinon and Bourgueil and the sparkling wines from Saumur (which also produces a fine red).


Maps And Books GUIDE BOOKS, for the Loire Tours  All the usual suspects do guide books to the Loire: Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Michelin, DK Eyewitness, Footprint, Cadogan and others so you can take your pick of your favourite style. Many of these same imprints have books dedicated to the Chateaux of the Loire valley too.   Loire, a Cultural History by Martin Garrett Gustave Flaubert called the Loire "the most French of French rivers." It is the longest river in France and the most varied in scenery and moods. Beginning as a mountain stream in the Ardeche, it issues, 630 miles later, into the Atlantic beyond the great modern port of St-Nazaire. Small and rapid at first, the Loire runs through dark volcanic hills; further downstream it becomes the broader, slower river of sandy islands, poplars and chateaux and of the vibrant cities of Orleans, Blois. Tours, and Nantes (the former capital of Britanny). It is lined with vineyards, forest, medieval fortresses, and flamboyant Renaissance palaces. And it is fed by countless tributaries, from rivulets to mighty rivers like the Allier, Cher, and Vienne. each with their own remarkable sights. Martin Garrett follows the Loire's course through cities and countryside. tracing its dramatic history from the days of feuding warlords and barons to the battles of 1940. Looking at the wide range of literature, art, and architecture created along its banks, he considers work that ranges from Du Bellay and Balzac to Virginia Woolf from Renaissance palace builders to Le Corbusier.


Loire, Brenne and Sologne (Crossbill Guides) by Dirk Hibers The Loire valley lies right in the heart of France. The grand river Loire flows right through the centre of the region. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its high concentration of stunning castles and stately homes. This part of France is gentle in its topography, its scenery, its climate and, with the aid of fine wines and food, also its general pace of life. Perhaps less known is the fact that this region also supports a a large range of flora and fauna. Two major natural areas within the region are the Brenne and the Sologne both of which sport hundreds of marsh-fringed lakes. These lakes together form some of France's finest wetlands, with large populations of Purple and Night Herons, Little Bitterns, Whiskered Terns, Black-necked Grebes and much more. Because of these lakes and their rich birdlife, the region is well known amongst birdwatchers. But the avian interest extends far beyond the wetlands. The landscape is a patchwork of forests, heathlands, streams, unimproved, hedge-lined meadows and fields, where birdwatchers can meet with an extraordinary assemblage of birds. Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, Short-toed Eagles, Little Bustards and Rock Sparrows which could make you believe that you are somewhere deep in Spain. Yet Middle-spotted and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Red-backed Shrikes and Ospreys add a flavour of the east or the north. Yet the Loire Valley is neither in the deep south nor in the north or east, but a mere two hours drive from Paris. What goes for the avifauna holds true for the reptiles and amphibians (beauties like Green Lizard and Western Whip Snake), the flora (many orchids) and butterflies. The Loire and its tributaries is one of Europe's finest areas for dragonflies. Â


HISTORY The Discovery of France. A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War. by Graham Robb Illuminating, engrossing and full of surprises, The Discovery of France is a literary exploration of a country few will recognise; from maps and migration to magic, language and landscape, it’s a book that reveals the real past of France to tell the whole story and history of this remarkable nation. ’With gloriously apposite facts and an abundance of quirky anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of people, places and customs, Robb, on brilliant form, takes us on a stunning journey through the historical landscape of France’ Independent. ‘Certain books strain the patience of those close to you. How many times can you demand: Look at this! Can you imagine? Did you know that? Without actually handing over the volume? This is such a book’ Mail on Sunday. ’An extraordinary journey of discovery that will delight even the most indolent armchair traveller’ Daily Telegraph  A Concise History of France by Roger Price This book provides a clear and well-informed guide to French history from the emergence of a strong state in the Ile-de-France in the early middle ages, to the trente glorieuses following the Second World War and the Mitterrand presidency. As such, it provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive study of French history available. Among the book's central themes are the relationship between state and society, the impact of war and such crucial questions as who possessed political power, how this power was used, in whose interests, and with what consequences. Roger Price examines the role of leading figures including Philip Augustus, Henri IV, Louis XIV, the two Napoleans, Clemenceau and De Gaulle as well as the lives of ordinary people. A rich entertaining guide for the student and general reader.


 A Traveller’s History of France, by Robert Cole The Traveller's History series is designed for the traveller who feels they need more historical background information on the country in which they are staying than can be found in an ordinary guidebook. For those who want to look deeper and discover more about the roots of France, its history and culture, in an enjoyable read, this is the book to choose. Designed for easy reference it is the key to unlocking the secrets of France. If you want to find about the mysterious Merovingian kings or the results of the last election; if you want to know when Chartres cathedral was built or how Napoleon rose to power or when and where Princess Diana died - you'll find it all in A Traveller's History of France. 'Undoubtedly the best way to prepare for a trip to France is to bone up on some history. The Traveller's History of France by Robert Cole is concise and gives the essential facts in a very readable form.' The Independent 'This little book is a very good idea indeed, a running commentary on the complexities, triumphs and tragedies of French history from the Lascaux Caves to the Pompidou centre. A must for tourists who want to know what happened where.' The Birmingham Post 'A brilliant idea from Gloucestershire publishers Windrush: a series of books which give a potted history of European countries. Ostensibly aimed at holidaymakers, the first on France, is an excellent introduction for anyone who wants an idiot's guide to a history that has so often intertwined with our own.' The Oxford Times


FICTION Five Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake - but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow, plies her culinary trade at the creperie - and lets her memory play strange games. As her nephew attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes Framboise has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers, memories of a disturbed childhood during the German Occupation flood back, and expose a past full of betrayal, blackmail and lies. From the author of Chocolat. Eugenie Grandet, by HonorÊ de Balzac  'Who is going to marry Eugenie Grandet?' This is the question that fills the minds of the inhabitants of Saumur, the setting for Eugenie Grandet (1833), one of the earliest and most famous novels in Balzac's Comedie humaine. The Grandet household, oppressed by the exacting miserliness of Grandet himself, is jerked violently out of routine by the sudden arrival of Eugenie's cousin Charles, recently orphaned and penniless. Eugenie's emotional awakening, stimulated by her love for her cousin, brings her into direct conflict with her father, whose cunning and financial success are matched against her determination to rebel. Eugenie's moving story is set against the backdrop of provincial oppression, the vicissitudes of the wine trade, and the workings of the financial system in the aftermath of the French Revolution. It is both a poignant portrayal of private life and a vigorous fictional document of its age.


MAPS Many types of maps are available for this region but I recommend those produced by the Institute Geographique Nationale (IGN). They have two series of walking maps which are suitable for our canoeing needs. The Top25 series is at a scale of 4cm to the km and the Top100 series is at a scale of 1cm to the km. For the Loire Tours: TOP100 IGN 127 Orleans/Blois This map covers the stretch of the Loir we paddle and the upper Loire either side of Blois. TOP100 IGN 133 Tours/Blois This map covers the Loire from Blois down to Saumur and the Cher from either side of Chenonceaux. TOP100 IGN 139 Poitiers/Chatellerault This map covers the Creuse river either side of Le Blanc and the Parc Naturel Regional de la Brenne. These maps are available to buy online at IGN and at the usual online book shops. I would recommend the TOP100 maps. We have all these maps with us on the trips. In addition we have the IGN Carte Touristique for the Parc Naturel Regional Loire-Anjou-Tourraine (scale 1cm = 800m) and the Parc Naturel Regional La Brenne (scale 1cm = 600m).


Green River Canoes: Loire  
Green River Canoes: Loire  

A description of Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Tours to the Loire region of central France.

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