‘It is not the cheaper things that we want to possess, but expensive things that cost a lot less’ – John Ruskin.
The tour takes in assorted luxury chateaux hotels, along with various racing circuits, some forgotten that can be driven, and various other attractions. With great driving roads and terrific scenery this is a tour not to miss and will not run again!
Listed below is the itinerary for the event, which is designed to be a relaxing holiday with your car, not just an old car rally. There is no night driving, and absolutely no competition, other than getting to the bar first!
May 9th, Saturday. Arrivals at Hotel La Chartreuse du Val Saint Esprit, which is just 52 miles from Calais and an easy run down the motorway. Country Lane Tours has used the venue several times previously and it never fails to impress. Food is excellent, with vegetables mainly sourced on site in the extensive garden. Overnight – Gosnay.
May 10th, Sunday. A leisurely day with the option of just chilling out at hotel or taking a scenic run through the lanes to Vimy Ridge and the newly refurbished museum. A walk around some of the restored trenches gives an idea of how horrific conditions were in WW1 and the graves an insight into the terrible loss of life. Overnight – Gosnay. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 0 / 56
May 11th, Monday. We set off south today, via the old Reims racing circuit at Gueux and a tour by train of the champagne caves of Mercier at Epernay to the 5 star Royal Champagne at Champillon. The historic buildings on the pit straight are being lovingly restored to their original splendour and as you drive along it you can imagine what it was like in its heyday. I’m negotiating for us to have a buffet lunch in the restored buildings right.
The afternoon sees us travelling to Epernay and a tour and champagne tasting before arriving at the hotel which has an incredible view across the valley. The restaurant has a Michelin star! Overnight – Champillon. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 156
May 13th, Tuesday. A run through the French lanes to the incredible Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. The chateau predates Versailles. The gardens are truly epic.
After lunch at Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte we travel on to the famous banked circuit at Montlhery where I’m hoping we can take the cars onto the track – currently negotiating! Overnight – Montlhery, but possibly Provins. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 115
May 13th, Wednesday. A slightly higher mileage day so we’re taking the motorway for most of the way to Dijon-Prenois circuit and then through the lanes to Chateau Gilly, our stay for the next two nights. Overnight – Gilly-les- Citeaux. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 196
May 14th, Thursday. Another chance to chill out or perhaps take a sort run via the village of Nuits- St-Georges, famous for its wine, Chateau Savigny-les-Beaune with its amazing collection of motorbikes, Abarth cars, and aeroplanes, before lunch in the historic town of Beaune.
Overnight – Gilly-les-Citeaux. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 0 / 38
May 15th, Friday. Once more some scenic good driving roads via Magny Cours racing circuit to Vichy where our hotel is in the centre but close to the river with views over the park. Overnight – Vichy. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 176
May 16th, Saturday. Vichy – Clermont-Ferrand circuit – Limoges. More great driving roads and spectacular scenery, climbing initially through hills covered with vines to the Clermont- Ferrand circuit.
Unfortunately Limoges, whilst famous for its exquisite porcelain, doesn’t have a hotel in the centre that is upmarket and has a car park, which means using a Novotel about ten minutes out. It’s OK (typical Novotel!) so I’ve not organised dinner as people may wish to go into town. I’m in the process of sorting a visit and tour of a porcelain factory. Overnight – Limoges. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 141
May 17th, Sunday. Limoges – Montabazon. A leisurely wander through rural countryside again to our next location, the spectacular Chateau D’Artigny in Montabazon, on the outskirts of Tours in the Loire Valley. Overnight – Montbazon. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 129
May 18th, Monday. There will be a scenic route in the Loire Valley and possibly a boat trip. Overnight – Montbazon. MILEAGE FOR DAY – TBA
May 19th, Tuesday. Montbazon – Le Mans – Bayeux. Once more heading north we stop at Le Mans where you can drive a large section of the historic circuit, including the famous Mulsanne Straight, and visit the museum. Overnight – Bayeux. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 169
May 20th, Wednesday. Bayeux tapestry – Omaha Beach – Overlord Museum. A relaxed day again, taking in local attractions Overnight – Bayeux. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 164
May 21st, Thursday. Bayeux – Honfleur – Rouen Essarts old circuit – V1 Rocket site. A pleasant run initially along the coast via pretty Honfleur, the old Rouen Essarts track and the amazing ruins of the Vi rocket site at Ardouval before arriving at our hotel right in the historic centre of Rouen. Overnight – Rouen. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 162
May 22nd, Friday. Rouen. A relaxing final day to just chill and take in the sights of Rouen. Overnight – Rouen. MILEAGE FOR DAY – 0
May 23rd, Departure for home.
Please note! There may be slight variations to the schedule if circumstances dictate, but regular updates will be issued to registered participants.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
- Two nights’ dinner bed & breakfast at La Chartreuse du Val Saint Esprit
- Buffet lunch at old Reims racing circuit, Gueux
- Guided train tour of Mercier Champagne Caves, along with tasting, Epernay
- One night’s D,B&B at 5 star Royal Champagne Hotel, Champillon
- Entry to Chateau Vaux-Le-Vicomte
- Lunch at Vaux-le-Vicomte
- Entry to Montlhery old Circuit *
- One night’s D,B&B at either Montlhery or Provins * Entry to Dijon-Prenois Circuit
- Two nights’ D,B&B at Chateau Gilly
- Entry to Chateau Savigny-les-Beaune Museum
- Entry to Magny Cours circuit *
- One night’s B&B at Vichy Celestins Hotel & Spa
- One night’s B&B at Novoel, Limoges
- Guided tour of porcelain factory
- Two nights’ D,B&B at Chateau D’Artigny, Montbazon
- River tour on the Loire * Entry to Le Mans museum
- Two nights’ B&B accommodation Bayeux
- Entry to tapestry museum
- Two nights’ B&B at Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, Rouen
- Final night dinner, Rouen
- All city taxes
- Entry to some attractions
- Most car parking charges
- Backup support vehicle and experienced mechanic
- Detailed road book
- Marked Michelin map book of France
- Rally plates
- Experienced tour director present throughout
- Plus more and various minor additions
CHATEAUS, CHAMPAGNE & CIRCUITS ROUTE IN BLUE
The total mileage on the tour is only fourteen hundred (approximate) in the entire fortnight. The route described gives just a synopsis of the things to do and see on the tour as space here does not allow inclusion of every detail.
Top: Vaux le Vicomte. Above left: Our hotel in Gosnay. Above right: Our Rouen centre hotel. Left: Chateau Savigny-les-Beaune