A flight in a hot-air balloon with Air Touraine

It’s always fun to catch a glimpse of a colourful hot-air balloon floating in the sky. You can imagine yourself on board with the passengers, looking down on the landscapes of the region and listening to the pilot’s commentary.

First flight in a hot-air balloon

The balloonist, the hot-air balloon pilot. - Air Touraine, Loire Valley, France.

The balloonist, the hot-air balloon pilot.

For an exceptional gift or a special event, a first-flight in a hot-air balloon is definitely the ideal way to spend a memorable weekend. Flights are of course subject to weather conditions, but hot-air balloon professionals are used to managing this factor. When all the elements are right, you will be able to take some wonderful photos during your first trip in the sky above the Cher valley, in the company of Air Touraine, specialists in flights in hot-air balloons (with a range of take-off sites), airships and helicopters above the châteaux.

Inflating the balloon envelope

Most flights are in hot-air balloons. After confirmation of the date and time, passengers arrive at the take-off site early in the morning or in the late afternoon to make the most of the ideal conditions: a mild ambient temperature and gentle winds. The balloon starts to take shape as the envelope is filled with hot-air and expands. You will have the time to take a good look at wicker basket (gondola) and the burner, to get to know the other passengers and to listen to a detailed description of the flight.

The balloon envelope

The balloon envelope

Hot-air balloon: wicker basket and burner

Hot-air balloon: wicker basket and burner

Hot-air balloons and the Loire chateaux

The flight only lasts about an hour, but what an experience it is! From the gondola, you will see other balloons flying nearby above the Château de Chenonceau, a jewel among the Loire châteaux. From the sky, France shows off some of its very finest landscapes.

Chenonceau - Hot air balloon - Loire Valley, France.

A great gift: a flight in a hot-air balloon above the Château de Chenonceau.

Chenonceaux - Hot air balloon - Loire Valley, France

A first flight above Chenonceau.

Toasting the balloonists

A flight like this one is well worth celebrating. After landing, once the balloon has been folded up and the gondola has been put away, it’s time for the balloonists’ toast and a chance for the pilot and passengers to enjoy a friendly chat. Everyone can give their impressions and opinions about the flight and the landscapes. A great experience!

End of the flight: deflating the balloon!

End of the flight: deflating the balloon!

Celebrate a first flight in a hot-air balloon

Celebrate a first flight in a hot-air balloon

Ballon flights: did you know?

Along with Provence, the Alps, the Loire region and Burgundy, Indre-et-Loire is one of the main centres for hot-air balloon flights in France. Balloon pilots have an official licence. In Villaines-les- Rochers, basket makers produce real wicker baskets!

The Montgolfier brothers made the first official (unmanned) flight in a hot-air balloon in Annonay (Ardèche) in 1783. The first manned flight took place in Paris (in the Saint-Antoine district), a few months later. During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Léon Gambetta used a gas-powered balloon to escape from Paris, which was surrounded, to Tours.

Hot-air balloon flights were made completely safe in the late 1950s with the use of a nylon balloon envelope and liquefied petroleum gas.

Also see: the magic of a flight in a hot-air balloon with Art Montgolières.

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