Imposing chateaux, dormant volcanoes and the City of Light
Central France may not boast fine beaches or share its borders with other European nations, but some of the country’s richest landscapes and attractions are located here: the châteaux of the Loire Valley, the extensive vineyards of Burgundy, the lakes and moors of Limousin and the volcanoes of the Auvergne. It also holds the shining jewel in France’s crown – Paris.
The capital needs little introduction. Many of its various museums, monuments, gardens, restaurants and architectural marvels are of legendary renown, and in combination they make every step through the city completely beguiling. The enchantment continues in the Loire, where some of the world’s most spectacular châteaux lie. Once royal residences, each has its own story to tell and all remain integral to the country’s identity. East of here the picturesque villages of Burgundy sit among row upon row of leafy vines, from whose grapes the elegant Burgundian wines are made.
Limousin and Auvergne are lesser known regions that have maintained a wild, unspoilt beauty that it’s a pleasure to behold. Vast, glittering lakes, volcanic scenery, honey coloured hamlets and medieval castles make these regions the perfect place to escape and feel the freedom of the outdoors.
A visit to central France is a chance to discover some of its less frequented areas, to delve further into its magnificent history and culture, and to sample some of its greatest produce.
Lorna took on the role of Manager last year, she is a fluent French speaker and loves cycling and walking and organising, so is in the perfect job, she has been sharing her expertise and knowledge with Belle France for the past 12 years.
A Fluent French speaker and a keen cyclist and walker herself she understands the individual needs of clients and matches them to their perfect holiday.
Although knowledgeable on all regions she is certainly the Loire specialist, making twice yearly visits to ensure that we are offering the best hotels, châteaux and routes.
21 Matching Holidays
Via Rhona by Bike
Cycle the Rhone Valley and bear witness to the Rhone’s wild side amongst a variety of landscapes
From Vienne, once an ancient capital of Roman Gaul, to the nature reserve of L’île au Beurre, via steeply terraced vineyards including the prestigious Côte-Rôtie, this beautiful stage of the 'Via Rhona' cycle route will delight those interested in...
Valleys of the Rugged South
Dramatic landscapes and remote beauty
Recommended in the Telegraph's Top 10 Activity Holidays in France for 2015, this is a moderate walk through stunning and dramatic scenery: steep tree covered slopes, cascading streams and remote, granite strewn plains. Experience...
Château to Château à Pied
Famous names and hidden gems
This easy walk through the Garden of France follows the limestone banks of the Loire. Turn inland through vineyards and flower-decked villages to take in some of the region’s most enchanting châteaux and their gardens.
Loire Prestige à Pied
Enchanting châteaux and picturesque villages
Live like a king on this luxurious holiday, which takes you through scenic countryside to some of the Loire’s most prestigious châteaux. The easy walk follows pathways alongside the river and through vineyards, to luxury hotels...
Loire Prestige en Vélo
Tranquil rivers and regal architecture
Explore quiet back roads and visit the fascinating old towns of Amboise and Blois with time to discover the classic wines of the region. Visit world famous châteaux and stay in luxury accommodation each night.
Along the Leisurely Loire
Historic Blois to charming Saumur
A moderate cycle following the majestic River Loire from Blois to Saumur. Visit several of the grand châteaux via the bustling city of Tours with its enchanting old quarter. The hotels offer genuine French charm and wonderful regional fare.
Châteaux, Gardens & Abbeys
Walk along the splendid River Loire from Tours to Saumur
A moderate walk from the regional capital of Tours to the fascinating riverside town of Saumur taking in some of the best loved châteaux and gardens. Visit the Royal Abbey, set in the heart of the beautiful forest of...
Loire Family Discovery
Gentle cycling and activities to suit all the family
The Loire is the perfect region for a family holiday: quiet country lanes and shady woodland routes make for gentle cycling for all ages and abilities. We've allowed plenty of time to visit the suggested family attractions and still make it back to...
Loire Valley River Cruise
Cruise through spectacular scenery in the Valley of the Kings
Aboard the only hotel barge sailing through the Loire Valley, you'll be treated to a unique view of the valley's numerous châteaux, many with expansive river frontages and the odd one even crossing the river above the barge, such as the elegant...
Champagne River Cruise
A voyage of sparkling Champagne, picturesque châteaux and gastronomic delights
Explore the undulating plains of a region famous for its bubbly apéritif and majestic cathedrals and châteaux, starting with an evening cruise through Paris, taking in the stunning floodlit Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Meander your way along the...
Alsace & Lorraine Canal Cruise
Cruise through historic landscapes and famous wine country
Aboard the twelve berth Panache, your floating hotel, you'll discover the beautiful waterways of Alsace & Lorraine. With a distinctive German influence, the little known area of Alsace, in eastern France, is an eclectic mix of historic...
Compostela - Le Puy to Nasbinals - Stage 1
Hidden hamlets, ancient churches and magnificent mountains
This classic walk follows in the footsteps of pilgrims often making use of the GR65 footpath. Starting in the Massif Central, heading through the vineyards of south west France and finishing in the sunny foothills of the Pyrenees. The horizons are...
Compostela - Conques to Cahors - Stage 3
Classic walk following in the footsteps of pilgrims
A moderate walk from the ancient town of Conques, via country tracks to discover woods, forests, watermills and burial grounds and finishing in Cahors.
Compostela - Cahors to Lectoure - Stage 4
Spend some time exploring this important stop on the pilgrims' trail
Set off from the fascinating town of Cahors, heading from the Lot into more rolling landscape of the Tarn et Garonne. A couple of opportunites to take a more strenuous detour which will be rewarded with splendid vistas.
Burgundy Canal Cruise
Gentle cruise through lush green countryside
Climb aboard the 12-berth L’Impressioniste for a passage through the picturesque locks and sleepy villages to discover the best of Burgundy. You’ll sample the exquisite wines of the region, visit the Cistercian Abbeyat La Bussière and explore the...
Stevenson Trail - Stage 2
Follow in Robert Louis Stevenson's footsteps across the wild Auvergne
This section of the walk, taken by Stevenson and Modestine, passes through ever-changing landscapes of lush woodlands, plunging valleys and boulder-strewn plains. A must for literature lovers and those with a sense of adventure.
Stevenson Trail - Stage 1
In the footsteps of one man and his donkey
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson published 'Travels with a Donkey', an account of his intriguing journey accompanied by his donkey, Modestine. Starting at the southern end of the Massif Central, this walk takes you across the Cevennes...
Volcanoes of the Auvergne
Wooded hills and lunar lakes
The dramatic landscape of the Auvergne is full of contrasts: barren yet lush, rolling yet rocky. You’ll be walking on a whole range of surfaces, from narrow woodland tracks to country lanes.
Moulin du Chemin
Explore the idyllic countryside of the Pays de Gatine
A single-centre holiday based at le Moulin du Chemin, a wonderful little Maison d’Hôte (guesthouse) hidden in a leafy valley in deepest rural France. The Maison d’Hôte was established by the present proprietors in 1993, in a restored mill house...
Château to Château en Vélo
Pretty villages and enchanting châteaux
This easy cycling holiday takes you past princely mansions standing next to picturesque farm houses, and fields of sunflowers merging with uniform rows of vineyards. There is ample opportunity for tasting some of the local wines.
The old Ardèche steam train trail: the ‘Dolce Via’
This moderate route is the perfect way to explore the dramatic vistas and charming villages of the Ardèche. Running along former railway lines and deep into the heart of the region, the steam train trail offers a leisurely exploration of...