ParisByM
contact@parisbym.com +33 6 52 86 11 36
ParisByM receptive travel agent
Loire Valley castles

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.

Loire Valley castlesAs 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, Full Day, Guided Tour, visit paris and france, french castles

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, the French king at that time.

WHAT TO SEE?

Paris Day Trips

wikimedia.org

You can see the former king’s, François I’s, apartments both in 17th and 18th century style. The chapel in the western wing of the castle, albeit simple in many ways, bears the marks of three different periods of construction. It took, after all, more than 30 years to complete this castle.

The vaulted ceilings bear the letter F and the symbol of François I. You can also explore the courtyard and the famed double-helix staircase. This staircase was based on sketches done by Leonardo da Vinci. It is very interesting because it was designed so that two people can ascend in sight of one another but without ever meeting.

The terraces of this castle offer magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding Chambord Park. This park was a royal hunting forest and remains the largest enclosed forest in Europe.

HOW TO EXPERIENCE

Chambord Staircase

Wikimedia Commons

Start your visit off by walking through the courtyard and apartments. Absolutely do not miss the view from the terraces or the staircase architectural marvel.

The castle also offers ways to improve your experience at the chateau. You can purchase a guidebook, audio guide, a tour with a digital tablet, or a guided tour. We highly recommend the tour with digital tablet.

Then, if you please, you can visit the forest. The chateau offers 4X4 park visits or you can choose to walk along the canal. You may also rent bikes.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Hours: 9am-5pm (Certain months open till 6pm see website for details).
  • Price: 11€
  • Access: By car, or by train + shuttle/taxi (Frankly this castle is not easy to access without a car, we highly recommend taking our tour instead).

 

Villandry Castle

Azay-Le-Rideau Castle

Clos Lucé Castle

 

Amboise

City of Amboise

This peaceful 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. The former which was home to Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, and where Leonardo da Vinci is buried. The latter which was where da Vinci spent his last days.

Amboise

Wikimedia Commons

WHAT TO SEE?

Don’t miss the Clos Lucé Castle where you can discover so much about Leonardo da Vinci and his work as a painter, engineer, and architect. Also don’t miss the Amboise Castle where da Vinci is buried.

On Friday and Sundays there is a fabulous farmers’ market, one of the biggest in the valley. Great place to find some fresh fruits, veggies, and treats.

Explore the town too of course. Walk near the Loire River, wander the streets and stop in the cute boutique shops. Try some good French food and wine at one of the restaurants.

HOW TO EXPERIENCE?

Amboise

Wikimedia Commons

Take you time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of this old, medieval town. Wander at will throughout the streets of Amboise. Enjoy the more calm, slower-paced style of this smaller town.

Also you should try and visit one or both of the castles if possible. They are, after all, so close-by. Become more well-versed in the history and learn about how the Italian Renaissance was brought to the Loire Valley.

You mustn’t miss trying some Loire Valley wine with your meal. This region is known for their fruity and diverse wines.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Hours: N/A. If interested in the castles see their websites.
  • Price: Free to visit the town
  • Access: Train from Paris Montparnasse or Paris Austerlitz to Amboise

 

Additional sightseeings in the Loire Valley

Chenonceau Castle

Clos Lucé Castle

Chenonceau Castle