Updated: Jul 12, 2018
There is nothing like scheduling a day trip that starts at 7:15AM! Luckily, this day trip was one you can't miss. When I was planning this trip to Europe, I stumbled across this day trip that included wine tasting and visiting two chateaus (one of which I have wanted to see for a long time). It was hard to get passed the hefty price tag of $200 per person but the 5 star reviews from about 500 reviewers convinced me to go for it. Have you ever used Viator before? If you haven't, use THIS LINK to sign up and you will get $10 off your first Viator booking! The trip we ended up booking can be found HERE.
Travel Tip: Pick up a few things for breakfast the night before when you have a day trip that starts this early.
In the short time we were in Paris, we got to be pro's at taking public transportation. If you are staying near the RER B line, this will take you right to where the meeting point is at the Catacombs! When you check in, try and get put in the smaller bus that holds about 20 people. It will make for a much more enjoyable day. There are much less people you have to worry about and you can get places a lot faster.
Our first stop of the morning was Chateau de Chambord. This huge 20 bedroom chateau was built as a mere hunting lodge for King Francois 1. He ended up only staying here only a few weeks in total. When you visit, you will notice the intricate designs, including the double helix staircase inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. No one knows exactly who the architect was on the chateau. On first glance of this castle, it may remind you of the Beauty and the Beast castle. Disney used this castle as their inspiration!
Your tour guide will walk you to a few of the rooms before allowing you to have about 30 minutes of free time to explore the chateau and walk the grounds. This chateau will seem very bare compared to your last chateau of the day. That is because the chateau was pillaged and furniture was taken or sold off. The chateau is now being presented in more of its bare state.
Travel Tip: Once your tour guide releases you, head straight for the roof. You will get some amazing views and chances are because you got there so close to opening, it won't be too crowded.
After you have had time to explore Chateau de Chambord, you will then head to your first wine tasting and lunch. The tour will take you to Chateau Nitray. This is a family owned and operated winery and chateau. Though you can't visit inside the castle, you will have time to walk the grounds after lunch. First, the owner will have you sample a red and white wine. Then, you will be served a lunch of grilled tomatoes, chicken, and potatoes. The meal was super good! They will also bring you unlimited bottles of wine as you enjoy your lunch. Drink up!
Travel Tip: Buy a bottle of wine here to enjoy on the rest of your stay in Paris. They offered us wine for about $5 euro!
Your last stop is Chateau de Chenonceau. This chateau was the inspiration behind the sleeping beauty castle! If you have opted in for a 2nd wine tasting (which you should) you will go there for the first 20 minutes and sample 3 wines. We ended up buying the rose here to enjoy back in Paris for the great price of $7 euro.
You will have about 45 minutes to wander the chateau and the grounds. This castle has a lot more of the original touches and hasn't been preserved as well over the years due to funding and private ownership. This chateau just became a UNESCO world heritage site this year, so visit soon before hordes of tourists take over!
Overall, this was an amazing day spent seeing two chateaus and drinking a lot of good wine!