The 6 most beautiful Loire Valley castles - The Loire Valley, known as “Le Jardin de la France (the garden of France)”, was being the favorite residence for the French kings during the Renaissance, and these buildings are mostly built or substantially reworked during the Renaissance in France. ParisbyM will present you some of the most beautiful Loire Valley castles, in order to help you in case you want to visit castles in the Loire Valley. As you can see from the map, there are numerous castles disperse in the region. The main reason might correspond to the hundred years’ war which made the French kings and the English kings oppose against each other. During this very long war, the kings of different nationalities possessed each a bank of the Loire and made the construction of several palaces and military fortresses which later became, particularly during the Renaissance, the majestic Loire Valley castles. In addition, the winegrowing condition and the goat cheese production make this region more charming in terms of the castle culture. The 6 most beautiful Loire Valley castles 1. Chateau de Chambord According to most people, the Chateau de Chambord is the castle the most worthiest of being visited. As the hunting reserve of the king François I, its immense park is the biggest closed forest park in Europe, with an area that is similar to the city of Paris. Its facade is also spectacular with its hundreds of amply curved chimneys and chapiters. In addition, you can also attend the horse and raptor shows in the Chateau de Chambord (the raptors may graze your shoulder!). 2.Chateau de Chenonceau The chateau de Chenonceau also named “le château des dames” (the castle of the ladies), spanning the river “le Cher” just like an elegant lady. Its history is marked and embellished by women. Thomas Bohier built the castle in 1513, but it was his wife Katherine Briçonnet who supervised the construction and imposed her style on the castle. Afterwards, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis also added their personal touch. As a result, you will have the chance to promenade in the marvelous French garden and in the forest, and to cross and walk along the banks of the beautiful le Cher. 3.Chateau royal de Blois To visit the chateau royal de Blois, is to discover a panorama of the French architecture history. In the center of the inner courtyard, four architectures of four different periods (from the medieval style to the classic style) are available for you to visit. Evidenced by the royal apartments sumptuously furnished and adorned with magnificent decorations, it is also a place which is evocative of the kingship and the daily life of the Court during the Renaissance. 4.Chateau de Cheverny Domaine de Cheverny was a seigneurial property that had belonged to the same family for six centuries. Unlike many castles in the Loire Valley, Cheverny has always been inhabited and each generation contributes to the maintenance of the castle with passion, to keep the beauty of the place. Therefore, Cheverny presents the most beautiful interior and the most beautiful furniture. It is worth mentioning that, in the comic “The Adventure of Tintin”, Hergé used Cheverny as the model for Marlinspike Hall, you can also visit an exposition dedicated to the comic album. 5.Chateau d’Amboise The primary reason to visit Chateau d’Amboise is that it offers you a unique view of the panorama of the Loire Valley. With its terraced gardens, you have many different vast and magnificent views of the valley. Another thing to know: Leonard da Vinci who lived in Amboise, is buried in the Chateau d’Amboise. You can also visit the Chateau Clos Lucé which is right next to it, where Leonard da Vinci lived for his last three years. 6.Chateau Chaumont-Sur-Loire The castle of Chaumont-Sur-Loire, standing in the Loire Valley between Amboise and Blois, its construction was for the purpose of protecting Blois from the attacks of the Counts of Anjou. It may not be interesting to visit the castle itself, but its gardens do worth a visit. Each year, the castle hosts the International Garden Festival, from April to November. You will discover not only the style of “French garden”, but also different contemporary artistic landscape creation. Really amazing and surprising to discover! Not only these 6 castles above, ParisbyM have selected for you the 19 most beautiful Loire Valley castles, you can check them out by clicking the marks on the following map! Have a good trip in the Loire Valley! Related Articles Loire Valley Bike Tours Loire River Cruise Top 10 French Castles Loire Valley Bike Tours - Do you want to spend your vacation in a more active way, out of the loud and busy city? Learn more about how to experience the area of Loire Valley by bike! Villandry Castle - Want to lose yourself among the most beautiful Loire Valley gardens? Discover the Villandry Castle and its magnificient gardens, go for a walk within the amazing green lands or take a look to the Renaissance and Neoclassicism styles within the castle! Chenonceau Castle - Do you want to take a breath in the magnificient gardens of the Loire Valley region? Do you expect to know a little bit more about the French history? So you cannot miss the Chanonceau castle! Known as "the castle of the ladies", this building has been trascendental in the French history as well as housing more many high ranked ladies and Queens! Chambord Castle - Château de Chambord is a great example of the splendor of French Renaissance architecture. This massive and popular castle was built starting in 1519 by François I. Azay-Le-Rideau Castle - Come and discover one of the most famous castles of Loire Valley. Built in 1518, the Azay Le Rideau castle has become one of the icons of the french Renaissence castles, combining both styles: French and Italian. City of Amboise - This peaceful, medieval town is a great place to explore as you wander amongst the boutique-filled streets or along the Loire River. Home to two famous castles: Amboise Castle and Clos Lucé Castle. Clos Lucé Castle - Discover more about what exactly this castle is and more about why it is famous. It was home to Leonardo da Vinci before he passed away.
Day 1 – Getting a taste for the castles
You will start your day off by taking a train at around 7am from Paris to the Tours central train station. Your guide will pick you up at the nearby, designated meeting location. Then you will be off in the mini-van to visit the beautiful chateaux of the Loire Valley.
The first castle up is the Chateau of Azay-Le-Rideau. This castle was built during the reign of Francis I during the 16th century. Here you will find an exemplary illustration of early French renaissance architecture. Examine also the collection of Flemish and French tapestries which furnish the chateau’s apartments.
Next up you will visit the magnificent Gardens of Villandry. These gardens frame the Chateau of Villandry. These gardens were known for their beauty during the Renaissance. They are constructed on three different levels: the water garden with lime trees, a decorative flower garden, and the kitchen garden.
Then you will have lunch in a nice, regional restaurant in Tours.
During the afternoon you will depart for the Chateau of Chenonceau. This castle was built during the 16th century. It was modified by Diane de Poitiers and later by Catherine de Medici. This castle has inspired artists from the Renaissance on. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the French gardens.
The last castle is the Chateau of Chambord. Francois I built this castle in 1519. With 440 rooms this castle is very expansive and yet it was built like a fortress with Gothic roofs, turrets, and strong stone façades.
You will be dropped off at your hotel in the medieval city of Amboise for the night.
Day 2 – Exploring Amboise & Clos Lucé
In the morning you will visit the medieval city of Amboise. Wander through the streets and get a feel for the history of this city. On the weekend, there are markets you can also visit.
You will then visit the castle of Amboise, home of Henri the II and Catherine de Medicis. It is also the place where Leonardo Da Vinci is buried.
As an add-on option you can also visit the Clos Lucé Castle if you would like. (This option is instead of taking time to relax during meal or wandering in the city). Clos Lucé was the home of Leonardo Da Vinci from 1516 to 1519, the last years of his life.
Visit the rooms of the chateau and imagine Leonardo living and working there. Also see his garden where nature inspired him and see models of his inventions.
In the evening you will take a train back from Amboise to Paris.
2-star hotel: Le Blason
Credit: Le Blaston
A classic hotel centrally located in the city of Amboise. Simply furnished with down to earth rooms. The rooms are fine, nothing fancy but clean. There is a medieval atmosphere in the hotel that makes it special.
For more information click here.
4-star hotel: Le Clos d’Amboise
Credit: Le Clos d’Amboise
A regal hotel with elegant rooms. This beautiful mansion offers a park and, in summer, a pool. For an additional fee continental breakfast is offered and there is a restaurant in the hotel.
For more information click here.
Note: the name of the hotel selected will be confirmed once the payment is processed. You will be accommodated in hotels equivalent to the ones listed above, according to availability at the time of booking.
Customize your trip by adding additional activities and visits here!
What is included in the price?
- Transportation between Paris and Tours/Amboise in train
- Transportation in minivan in small group on Day 1
- Entrance to 5 castles : Chambord, Chenonceau, Azay-Le-Rideau, Villandry (gardens), Amboise
- Entrance to 5 castles
- Lunch on Day 1
- Accommodation in Amboise for 1 night in a 2-star hotel on the basis on occupancy of 2 people per room (additional cost for those in single occupancy in 2-star hotel room)
- Transportation from the hotel to the train station in Amboise on Day 2
What is not included in the price?
- Meals (except lunch on day 1)
- Guided tours of the castles
- Villandry castle (only gardens are included, which is enough)
- Entrance to Clos Lucé castle (can be added as an option)
- Private expenses
- Add-on, customize your trip options (which includes single occupancy in 2-star hotel)
✓ Guided tours are generally available at the entrance of the castles for free or for a few additional euros. Be sure to check the end time as not to miss the departure of the minivan for the rest of the excursion.
✓ The Chenonceau guided tour with tablet is specifically worth following as it shows images and short movies.
✓ The castle and gardens of Villandry offer a free app for your visit, be sure to download it when you have wifi. Available on Apple store (https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/villandry-en/id668335308?mt=8) and on Play store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.comediart.villandry2En)
✓ Relax and take your time in the city of Amboise on Day 2. Discover regional food at the local restaurants
✓ To reach the train station in Amboise on Day 2, you can either go walking (10-15 minutes walk) or call a cab. In this case, do not hesitate to ask the reception desk at your hotel to call one for you. They will gladly help you with that.