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map of loire chateaux

4 original Loire Valley chateaux

 

The Loire Valley chateaux have influenced and inspired imaginations the world over. Luckily for you, if you’re planning a trip to Paris, you can make it to these illustrious castles easily. We’ll walk you through some of our favorite lesser-known sites on this Loire Valley chateaux map. For the classics, take a look at our previous post, 4 French castles to see in the Loire Valley.

You’ll find an interactive version here : http://parisbym.com/map-of-loire-valley/

Chinon

Less refined than its later Renaissance counterpart, Chinon clings to its medieval heritage. Here is where Joan of Arc holed up and declared her commitment to ousting the English. Chinon’s uniqueness earns it a place on the list of must-sees.

loire valley chateaux

Chinon (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Meung

Meung is a picturesque castle with a memorable history. Meung locals rebelled, and when the king’s men stormed the town to put them in their place they flung themselves off the castle tower in defiance. Today it is independently run, each of its rooms offering a taste of French countryside history. The chateau also features temporary exhibitions that make it worth the visit.

loire valley chateaux map

Meung

 

Clos Lucé

The French king François I famously cultivated a friendship with Leonardo da Vinci. It’s with François that da Vinci spent the last years of his life, in the company of a man (one of many, surely) who truly appreciated the Italian’s genius. In return for close friendship and kingly hospitality, da Vinci lent François his mind. At Clos Lucé, you’ll find an abundance of his genius, especially his royally-appreciated bent for creative weapons of mass destruction. This is one of the more special pins on our Loire valley chateaux map.

loire valley chateaux maps

Clos Lucé (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Villandry

While certainly not lesser known, no list of Loire valley chateaux can in its right mind forget this horticultural marvel. This is a castle with a garden that stands out among the Loire valley’s plethora of manicured greenery. The garden here is a quintessential example of the jardin à la française, and embodies the philosophy thereof. Nature, it was thought, was unruly, and a garden fit for a king should display mankind’s domination over it. As you stroll through an unforgettably vast, geometrical yard, you may spot the many layers of Renaissance symbolism.

Loire Valley chateaux maps

The gardens (Wikimedia Commons)