There is something about the Loire that speaks of indulgence; its magnificent chateaux, splendorous gardens, stand-out wines and sublime local cuisine.
A group of friends and I (we all met while travelling in Australia but were now back in the UK) in the 80's once caught a ferry from Dover to Calais. We then drove to the Loire and had an extended and decadent lunch in a chateau. We spent the afternoon exploring its gardens. Now that was an indulgent experience and one not easily forgotten. We went there and back in one day!
So why not gather together a group of friends and take a walking tour of the Loire Valley where not only can you explore the magnificent chateaux and gardens, but also discover its rich history. In the evenings, once you have completed your walk, (for example from the village of Chenonceaux to Amboise, the town where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last year of his life), sit in a square overlooking the river and chateau. A typical menu would include a filet of turbot or a fresh seafood platter. Polish it all off with a dessert of chocolate mousse or local cheeses and a delicious cherry liquor called Guignolet, made in Anjou. Have fun with your friends recounting stories of past travel experiences, just as you will recount this one with them in the future.