Limoges hosts our nearest airport at just a 40-minutes drive from The Halcyon Golf and Spa Retreat, but if you want to create a real sightseeing holiday adventure, then why not use your travel time as a fabulous road trip?
This itinerary is based on travelling from Paris by car, but all stop-offs are train routes too. The direct route by car is only around four hours and fifty minutes but here, we will be giving you an idea of some of the fantastic places to stop off at and see along the way.
Of course, the time you spend at each stop-off is up to you. We have suggested to include one overnight stay midway allowing you ample time to take in the sites leisurely.
1st Stop – Versailles – 60 mins drive
The Estate of Versailles is a must-see! Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 700 rooms, you’ll get a glimpse into the world of the French Monarchy during its most influential years.
Built by Louis XIV, with the main purpose of showing off his immense power and wealth, we think this estate is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Check the website for tours that will appeal to you the most, but here is a breakdown of our favourites: The Hall of Mirrors – The most famous room in the palace, made of over 300 mirrors, this huge ballroom symbolises French opulence. Marie Antoinette’s Estate – A half-hour walk through the gardens will bring you to the Queen’s own hamlet, consisting of barns, cottages, parks and even a theatre. This estate is where Marie Antoinette escaped the Palace politics and pomp. Ornamental Gardens and parks – The gardens sprawl across a vast 800 hectares where you’ll find fountains, 400 statues, and topiaries, and during the summer months, there are musical fountain displays.
You’ll want to spend at least half a day here to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy all it offers.
2nd Stop – Orléans – 90 mins drive
The gorgeous river-side city, Orléans, was once home to Joan of Arc, who famously liberated it from a siege by the English in 1429. A Local hero, there are numerous statues in her honour and an annual festival held in May to celebrate the end of the siege.
Take a stroll around the historic city centre, beginning along the Rue de Bourgogne (just as Joan of Arc did) and enjoy glimpsing the medieval half-timbered houses scattered amongst newer 19th-century mansions, a perfect mixture of old and new.
Spend some time at the Parc Floral de la Source, a semi-wild park with beautiful gardens, a butterfly house, and an aviary.
Finally, put your feet up for the night, rest your head at one of the city’s historic hotels, and wake up fresh to a typical French breakfast at one of the cafes before continuing your journey south.
3rd Stop – Bourges – 105 min drive
Not generally found on the tourist route, it is a little-known fact that Bourges was the capital of France at one time. Here you’ll find 500 half-timbered houses, a castle, ancient ruins and lots of pretty cobbled streets to explore.
We recommend adventuring to Les Marais. Once boggy swampland that almost became the downfall of the Roman Emperor, the marshes were eventually drained and used as farmland over the years. Nowadays, it is a gorgeous patchwork of allotments, each taken care of with pride, interwoven with canals and brooks.
4th Stop – Argenton-sur-Creuse – 130 mins drive
Nicknamed “La Venise du Berry” (The Venice of the Berry), Argenton-Sur-Creuse is a small waterside town that allows you to step back in time by exploring quaint alleyways, wheel mills and colourful houses with wooden galleries that overhang the water’s edge. It has been named one of France’s most beautiful villages.
If you have time, visit the Museum of Shirts and Male Excellence, which brings to life the rich history of the clothing industry that the industrial revolution bought about here.
The Halcyon Retreat Golf and Spa Resort – 40 minutes drive
Forty minutes more of scenic roads and pretty countryside, and you’ll have made it to the Halcyon Retreat, where you can relax and begin the rest of your holiday with us!
We’ll be recommending fabulous day trips out from the resort and more road trip ideas soon that we hope will inspire you to explore some of the incredible places France has to offer!