Corporate Holidays in the Loire Valley

According to a 2015 survey conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a global outplacement and business coaching firm, 80 percent of the respondents still planned to have their corporate holiday parties despite the slow economic growth.

Corporate holidays are unlike the holidays which most people experience with friends and family. They tend to be shared with a group of people who aren’t familiar with one another and require an ice breaker to occur. Traditionally, corporate holidays are filled with booze, music and flirting; however, companies can throw parties that can still be classy, relaxing and fun.

Corporations that have deep pockets can host upscale corporate holiday events and treat their employees to a trip of their lifetime. One of the places upmarket travellers might want to visit is the Loire Valley, the land of chateaus, fine wines and stunning sceneries. Considered as among the top holiday destinations in the world, Loire Valley offers a lot of activities that holidaymakers can enjoy. Here is a guide of things to do while in Loire Valley:

  • Tour Around the Valley on Bike
    The stress and pressure of a corporate job is very taxing. While in Loire Valley, you can relax and appreciate the beauty of the region while biking your way to some of the famous chateaus, parks and gardens on quiet country roads. You can either arrange group tours or just rent a bike and discover the allure and splendour of the countryside.
  • Get Sporty With a Canoe Holiday
    After pedalling through the forest, going back to the Renaissance period with trips to chateaus, and resetting your inner Zen at reposeful parks and gardens, you can paddle your way to more explorations with a canoe. Discover more chateaus and know more about the valley’s rich culture and heritage while following the rhythm of the water as it streamed down the river. Canoeing is a good team building activity. Companies can set race contests in groups or pairs. There are also group tours available to travellers.
  • Drink Wine
    Savour the French heritage with wine at vineyards and wine bars. While in Loire Valley, don’t miss visiting vine-covered hillsides that surround the region. Sample some of the most famous quaffs that are grown around the area or enjoy themed-nights at lounge bars which offer cocktails, salsa and jazz music. Celebrate your promotion or your company’s success at wine bars while relishing delicious terrines and rilletes that are made more flavourful with a bottle of Sancerre.
  • Throw a Fairy Tale-Themed Ball
    Since you are already surrounded with castles and a Renaissance ambiance, throw a fairy tale-themed ball where employees get to dress as royalties. Pose as kings and queens at stationed photo booths or have a portrait taken by a pro. Hand them custom-made goodies and souvenirs from their trip at Loire Valley. Don’t forget to add some music and of course, food and wine.

Employees look forward to enjoying corporate holidays. Before giving them a lavish experience of fun and spectacle, always keep your company’s finances in check. For upmarket travellers, avoid incurring debts during your holiday trip. If and when this happens, settle them with companies that provide quality assurance.

Irish Pub Tours Loire Valley

Irish Pub Tours Loire Valley France: The Pale

Tours (pronounced “Tuurh”) is the largest city in central France located on the river Loire in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Tourine, the region around Tours is known for its wines and for the perfection of its local spoken French. Much of the city is modern, it is a beautiful and lively city at night where you can find lots of places to relax, drink a beer or dance the night away.

An Irish missing home can find Irish camaraderie in The Pale, an authentic Irish Pub Tours Loire Valley is located in the heart of town at 18 Place Street at the corner of Rue Colbert and place Foire-le-Roi. The Pale is open from 2:00pm to 2:00am daily. It’s definitely the pub to go when you are visiting Tours, it’s close to everything. It is a great place to unwind after a day of sightseeing or have a few drinks after dinner. The outdoor seating and plenty of Irish beer make it a prime warm-weather hangout, day and night.

The Pale’s welcoming staff could make you feel at home and comfortable, even thousands of miles away from home. The Pale is popular with visitors of all ages, especially the English speaking ones. A great place to go if you are feeling lost and don’t speak any French as the clientele is about 75% Anglophone and all the staff are Irish.

Personally signed Irish celebrity framed posters, photographs and memorabilia are tastefully hung on the wooden walls, giving the pub a homey appeal. There are also beer tankards inscribed with the regular’s name. The Pale also have numerous wide HD screens and Sky Sports you won’t have to miss an important sporting event back home. The pub is particularly busy on game nights when fans gather to watch rugby and football matches.

There are billiard tables downstairs where they regularly have in-house concerts, invited bands play Irish music and dance nights. The Pale also have an upstairs section for people to play chess, backgammon and darts. The Pale have a wonderful terrace that is heated in the winter where you can chat with friends while drinking coffee or simply watch the people go by.

The Pale is one Irish pub all the way, with Guinness, as well an enviable collection of Irish whiskey alongside the beautifully lit bar. There is always an upbeat crowd here, and the staff makes sure everyone is having a good time. If you visit Tours and don’t go to The Pale, then you have missed out on a guaranteed highlight of your holiday!

TGV Rail Train Paris Loire Valley Accommodation France Disneyland

Travelling By Train

Image by Sese Ingolstadt

Early developers of high speed trains – the ‘TGV’ – France now has a well-developed network of rail links between major centres both in France and to neighbouring countries.

Fortunately their booking system is going a lot faster too! gets you to the booking site which gives you the fast trains, or go to if you want a wider choice of trains.

But before you book, look at a map! Seems obvious, but we have had many visitors who think we are in the South of France –or just outside Paris – or anywhere in between!

The TGV site lists TGV destinations, so use the map to find the nearest point of departure and arrival.

Booking on the site is quite easy, although they do show us lots of options, so check very carefully that you have the correct destination and time! There are sometimes special offers such as first class travel at almost the same price as second class, especially at off peak times such as Sunday lunchtime.

Another option is the opportunity to modify or cancel your tickets, free or with a small fee. As this allows you to cancel at any time up to the train departure, it can be quite useful – a little extra insurance against things going wrong! It also means that you can book all your travel then modify if you find that it would be nice to stay on an extra day somewhere to visit a special event – a summer fete, a winter chateau wonderland…

All aboard!

At the station, watch the arrival/departure screens for information on your train. Be sure to check the train number as you would for a flight! The screens will give the platform number. Unfortunately most announcements are in French only. You will need to know the French for a late train –“retard” or “delai” – fortunately near enough to English.

There will be a screen on the platform showing the train make up – carriage or “car” numbers – with an indication that, for example, car 2 can be boarded between zones E and F, which are indicated on its platform.

Note your “car” number and seat number and away you go! 250 km/hr seems not fast at all! As journey times are pretty well standard, trains do not make up time and arrive early. So if you are due to arrive at noon, you probably will!

As there are never many stops, this means that you can be ready to exit at the appointed station without the worry that it may be the wrong one! (Useful as announcements are often only in French again). We set our phone alarms to vibrate 10 minutes before arrival time so we can snooze without worry!

Use the TGV to travel to the Loire Valley – Tours or St Pierre des Corps – from CDG airport (1 hour 40 minutes) or Paris (1 hour) and visit the stunning chateaux.

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Villandry Gardens Accommodation Loire Valley France

The Gardens of the Loire

La Ferme du TempleThe longest untamed river in France- La Loire- passes through Touraine, where in the valley and surrounding hills can be found hundreds of chateaux, manoir and other imposing buildings. A classified UNESCO site, the Loire Valley has long attracted kings and queens, artists and writers, poets and plebs.

At the root of the attraction of this area is a mild climate and fertile soil, giving rise to the name “The Garden of France”.

With a mix of soil types – chalk, clay, gravel – short winters and dry summers, almost any non-tropical plant will find an ideal growing location, be they roses or grapes.

There are gardens here for all tastes, from traditional to, well, frankly bizarre (or maybe innovative is better!)

Traditional starts with Villandry a stylised Renaissance formal garden. Low box hedges surround beds of roses, annual flowers and vegetables in a visually stunning geometric layout. There is also the formal lake, the avenue of lime trees, a maze… the whole is a picture of tranquillity where you could imagine princes and princesses strolling.

Another formal garden is at the Chateau of Chenonceau, a stunning building spanning the River Cher. However, the formality is balanced by the forest walks through massive oaks, chestnuts, beech and other trees. Here you will find hidden treasures – the maze, the gazebo – where you can pause and rest awhile.

A similar forest is at the Chateau de Riveau, but carried one stage further, The Chateau itself being quite small, the owners have developed interest in the garden. Taking as their theme things gargantuan (Gargantua was the giant hero of books by the writer Rabelais who lived in this area), you will find giant boots, giant legs striding through  the forest, giant – well, you get the idea! And some elves and fairies, all very delightful.

Even more innovative are the gardens at the Chateux de Courson, where every year from April to October they hold a garden festival.

The chateau is set in a parkland – giant Lebanese cedars, flower and grass meadows, woods; but, adjacent to the old farm buildings, a large area has been set aside to host some 30 show gardens. Unlike temporary garden shows such as Chelsea, the show gardens here have to survive for 6 months – withstanding all the weather has to offer, as well as thousands of visitors passing through.

Here you will find the imaginative, innovative, and, yes, bizarre, but always idea generating, amusing and sometimes stunningly beautiful.

Here at the farm of La Ferme du Temple, we love to share our garden with our visitors. Natural streams, a small lake, meadows grazed and fallow, a rose bed, dahlias and spring bulbs. All enhanced with bridges, old stone buildings and sculptures – a private paradise!