See The Chteaux From Above
A unique thing to do in the Loire Valley is to admire the majestic castles from above, specifically in a hot air balloon. Marvel at the scenic landscapes and see the Loire Valley rivers and villages all glow during a sunset or sunrise balloon ride through the Loire Valley.
If a hot air balloon isnt your cup of tea, how about soaring above the Loire Valley in a private plane. This experience would truly make your trip to the Loire Valley unforgettable.
Soak Up The Sunshine Along The River At Les Caves Duhard
The view of the Loire River from the restaurant at the Caves Duhard.
Les Caves Duhard
A beachy restaurant laid out under smart parasols looking out onto the Loire River, this is a great spot for lunching on fish and cold cuts from the region. And local produce is what sommelier, owner and serial entrepreneur, ligérien Pascal Mineau, is all about.
The Caves Duhard, also known as the Caves Ambacia, date back to the 15th century, and are tucked inside a huge rock face, a “troglodyte wine cellar,” if you will. Pascal took it over and restored the building entirely. Today, it’s a stage for showing off the regions excellent produce, as well as on his own wine extracted from a select number of winemakers best vineyards, making Pascal one of the first, or rare, wine editors of the world. You can pick up a few Caves Duhard-stamped bottles, as well as vintages dating as far back as 1874, and jars of mustard, ham and other delicacies at the boutique.
Wildly passionate about quality and sharing the wonders of the Loire Valley, Pascal has also created a circuit of actually interesting interactive displays scattered through the underground wine cellar tunnels where visitors can learn about the region’s history and winemaking.
To finish, stop for lunch at the restaurant outside or upstairs in the new indoor restaurant space with wrap-around windows looking out onto the water.
Chteau Dazay Le Rideau 20 Minutes Drive From Hotel Chateau Dartigny
It was built on an island in the Indre River during the reign of Francis I. A subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor, it is an icon of the new art of building in the Loire Valley in the 16th century. Balzac even called it the Diamond of the Indre.
We also suggest you to visit less known castles. There are charming and less crowded
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The 20 Best Loire Valley Chateau Hotels
Chateaux define the Loire Valley, encapsulating the grandeur of the region’s past. This is what makes a chateau hotel a unique experience on a trip to the region. At once grand yet with a distinctly personal feel. Our hotel experts have compiled a collection of their favourite chateaux hotels in the Loire Valley to help with planning your next trip. Including grand Renaissance palaces and gilded neoclassical beauties to charming Tudor mansions and grand country houses. The majority of the best Loire Valley chateaux hotels are surrounded by acres of farmland and forestry making them a great choice for family breaks or romantic escapes.
Explore Chambord The Largest Chteau Of Them All
The 440-room Château de Chambord is one of the most impressive in France.
Probably the most impressive castle of the Loire Valley due to its sheer size , staggering number of towers and unique Renaissance architecture with a medieval edge. If there ever were a perfect chateau, Chambord would be it.
Completed in 1547 by a mystery architect rumored to be Leonardo da Vinci and commissioned by King of France Francis I, a prominent patron of the arts known for his support to da Vinci, he was the king who put the Loire Valley on the map.
Chambord is the biggest of the Loire castles and has magnificent artworks from the Louvre and Château de Compiègne that hang inside its opulently decorated rooms. Don’t miss the incredible sweeping double helix stone staircase, meaning it’s possible to go up one side without being seen by those coming down on the other side.
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Best Time To Visit Loire Valley
The best time to visit the castles in Loire Valley is the end of May or the months of June and September. At that time of the year, the castles gardens are blooming, the weather is warm and the lines are bearable.
Still, consider booking tickets in advance for the most popular chateaux . Also, keep in mind that some of the castles shuttles run only between May and October. This may be a bummer if youre not travelling by car. So check in advance the shuttle schedule before planning your itinerary .
Avoid the winter if possible, the weather is gloomy and you wont be able to see much of the beautiful gardens. In addition, some of the lesser-known manors may be closed to the public at that time of the year or the opening times are shorter.
Top 10 Chateaux In The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley châteaux make this central region one of the most popular destinations in France for visitors, and with good reason. Just two hours from Paris, the mighty river flows slowly through a gorgeous landscape where medieval fortresses and Renaissance palaces are strung out like jewels along the banks. During the Renaissance, François I made Amboise his capital and it became the aristocratic, artistic and intellectual heart of France. Chambord, the biggest of all the châteax in the Loire Valley, was built by François I as a hunting lodge only. Today the whole valley is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Great Wall of China, and many of the worlds most important places.
It’s easy to get to many of the châteaux by train from Paris, and a bus runs between several around Blois. Or base yourself in Blois or Tours in the western end and take side trips to other châteaux along the river by public transport. If you have a car, so much the better. Take time to château-hop your way along the Loire, its well worth it.
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Chteau De Vault De Lugny
12th century boutique hotel with indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and farm in the Bourgogne region.
The Château de Vault de Lugny may be the only castle hotel in France where you can take a swim beneath 12th-century vaults. This stunning, ancient building dates from the 12th century and is reportedly a favourite holiday destination of singer Eric Clapton.
The rooms are lavishly decorated and come with a range of period features and antiques, adding to the vintage charm of this beautiful hotel.
The Château de Vault de Lugny Restaurant
Although the restaurant at the Château de Vault de Lugny is undoubtedly focused on traditional Burgundian cuisine, the menu is inventive, fresh and modern, showcasing this regions wonderful produce at its best. Ingredients are as local as they come, with most of the vegetables gathered from the castles extensive gardens.
Key attractions & things to do near the castle
- Hiking/Cycling in the Morvan National Park
- Visit Dijon, the regions gastronomic hub
- Explore the medieval town of Vézelay with its medieval church
Key events during the year
- Semur-en-Auxois Horse Racing Festival, including chariot races May
How to get to Château de Vault de Lugny
The closest town to this French castle hotel is Auxerre. The closest international airport is Orly International Airport .
Take In The Loire River Views At Amboise Chteau
Amboise Château was a place of residence for French kings from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
Touraine Loire Valley
A former royal palace with chambers boasting paintings and sculptures from the 16th to 19th centuries, the highlight at the Château d’Amboise is the view of the river from the very top of its last remaining tower.
Stroll the meticulously sculpted gardens that host various events in the warmer months, and, for visitors who like a bit of an edge, visit the dungeon, its cold white stone walls scrawled with graffiti by prisoners held here centuries ago. There is also a small chapel on site where rumor has it that Leonardo da Vincis remains are buried, which experts have been unable to verify to this day.
Half the fun is doing the self-guided visit with a Histopad, a touchscreen tablet that gives you plenty of bite-sized information and trivia about the castle, as well as scans of the rooms as they would have been originally, bringing the experience alive.
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Royal Chteau De Blois
Perched on a hill above the Loire River in the medieval town of Blois, is the underrated Royal Château of Blois. The castle is a masterpiece that reflects the architectural styles from the 13th to 17th centuries when it was occupied by seven French kings and ten queens. During your visit, make sure to visit the king and queens bedchambers, the beautifully designed Stateroom, and the Architecture Rooms.
The Royal Château of Blois can be reached directly by train from Paris as a day trip, and the Blois town makes for a great base to visit other castles in the area.
Into Leonardo Da Vinci’s Old Atelier At The Clos Luc
The Clos Lucé was Leonardo da Vinci’s last home before he died in 1519.
A more modest château that’s just as charming as the big blockbusters, the Clos Lucé, surrounded by leafy gardens, was the final home of Leonardo da Vinci. His most prominent patron, King of France Francis I, under whom the Loire Valley became established as a sort of land of the kings, invited Leonardo to take up residence here. The Italian master passed away in his room at the Clos Lucé in 1519.
Visit the château accompanied by Carol, a local Leonardo expert. He’ll paint a vivid picture of the Loire Valley’s days as the land of the kings as well as Leonardo’s last years.
See where the artist-inventor slept, painted, carried out scientific experiments. Follow with the Clos Lucé’s just-opened 5,380-sq. ft. cultural center and museum . You’ll be able to walk among 17 of Leonardo’s legendary works projected on the walls of the lofty space, including The Last Supper as well as 3-D animations of some of his star inventions.
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Beautiful Chteaux To Stay In Loire Valley
Today, you dont have to be of royal blood to stay at one of the best castle hotels in France, fit for any aspiring lord or lady.
France, and especially the Loire Valley, is blessed with many castles, beautiful French châteaux all full of history. Many of these castles full of charm have found new lives as Loire Valley chateau hotels and now offer accommodation with discerning five-star service that will treat you like a royal, if only just for the night.
Explore the best castles of the Loire Valley during the day, and choose your particular château to rest your head at night.
Looking for a romantic getaway in the Loire Valley, France? Treat you and your loved one to a weekend in one of the gorgeous chateau hotels in Loire Valley. From medieval times to the 19th century, each château offers something a little unique for those who want to sleep like a King.
Get Lost In Chteau Of Villandry’s Maze
Villandry Château with its beautiful gardens.
Originally a country house built in the 16th century with a crenellated tower, the Château of Villandry main attribute is its sprawling gardens à la française and photogenic low-box hedge maze. It was confiscated from its owner during the French Revolution, and appealed so much to Napoleon Bonaparte that he acquired it for his brother Jérôme Bonaparte. In 1906, Villandry’s new owner, Spanish doctor and researcher Joachim Carvallo, restored the structure and created Renaissance style flower gardens that remain one of the castle’s highlights to this day.
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Loire Valley Chateaux Map
This suggested castle itinerary covers the 5 most famous chateaux in Loire Valley. Its an itinerary for 3 full days that includes staying in two different towns Tours and Blois. The estates are grouped in such a way that youll be able to see most of the region, no matter if youre travelling by car or train.
If youre travelling by train, youll have to stay at least in 2 places, so you can reach the properties easier. However, if youre travelling by car it all depends on your preferences.
You can find a map of all the chateaux here. After you identify the ones you want to visit you can easily modify the itinerary below according to your preferences.
Day 1: Blois
- start the day by visiting the most famous chateau, Chambord
- visit Château de Blois in the afternoon and attend the Sound and Light show in the evening
- if you have arrived the previous day in Blois and managed to visit the chateau on the day of your arrival, you can switch Château de Blois with Cheverny
Day 2: Blois
- visit Château dAmboise in the morning
- afternoon Château de Chaumont
Day 3: Tours
- travel to Tours by train and explore the city in the morning
- take a train from Tour to Château de Chenonceau
Best Chateau To Stay At In Loire Valley
I recently took my parents on a week long trip throughout the Loire Valley staying at different Chateaus each night. Chateau Gizeux was a little out of the way but ABSOLUTELY worth the trip. The family was extremely welcoming and took the guests on a personal tour of the family Chateau telling us stories along the way. Stephanie Laffon made us dinner in the evening and we walked back to our rooms through the candle lit Chateau – an eerie and fascinating experience~! Ever wonder why this Chateau, unlike the others, is not along the river? Just ask the family – the answer will surprise you! 🙂 A definite must do!More
- Trip type: Traveled with family
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Amboise The Best Place To Stay In Loire Valley For Couples
Located 15 miles east of Tours, this town is buried in history, and you will notice that every step of the way along the narrow streets of Amboise! You can also see the mark that Italy has left on the French kings as you explore the town.
When they returned from Italy, the sovereigns started building beautiful castles with extensive gardens resembling the ones they saw there. Some of the most famous ones here are the Château of Amboise and the Château of Clos Lucé, Leonardo Da Vincis last home.
Amboise is truly a magical place! If youre looking for a romantic getaway to Loire Valley, you can definitely add this town as a choice!
When youre not busy admiring all the castles with their antique furniture and four-poster beds, you can take a moment to explore the streets of Amboise, if youre lucky to come here on a Sunday you can even attend their famous market, which is the largest one in the Loire Valley region!
One place that I think you cant miss here is the Bigot Chocolate factory which opened in 1913 and has since conquered the hearts of many chocolate lovers!
Option : Amboise Castle Clos Luc And Chaumont
This option which starts in Amboise, includes a lot more walking and isnt the easiest.
- 7:00am: Arrive at Gare Paris Austerlitz and take the 7:29am train to Amboise
- 9:22am: Arrive to Amboise, take a 5 min taxi, or walk 20 minutes to Amboise Castle.
- 9:45am: Explore Amboise Castle and the Clos Lucé Manor. Have lunch in Amboise.
- 1:50pm: Head back to the Amboise train station and catch the 2:23pm train to Onzain-Chaumont Station.
- 2:32pm: Arrive at Onzain-Chaumont Station. Enjoy the 30 minute walk to Chaumont from station, path has good signage.
- 5:20pm: Leave Chaumont Castle and either catch the 5:30pm Navette Azalys shuttle bus or walk back to the Onzain-Chaumont Station. From here you have several options:
- Catch the next train to Paris from Onzain
- Take the same shuttle to Blois and explore the old town and have dinner, then catch the next train to Paris from Blois train station
- Visit the Blois Château
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Where To Stay In The Loire Valley
My husband and I will be staying in the Loire Valley for a few days in May. Any recommendations on the best little town/village to stay in? We would like to use public transportation, but will rent a car if that is the better option to maximize what we can see and do.
I suggest that 5 days is too much for the Loire Valley. Add 2 of those to Provence, which is huge and packed with wonderful sights. If you do that, you could have enough time to use 2 bases, one in the west and one further east.
Loire Valley: If you want to visit some of the better known chateaus in the country where the rail lines don’t go, then the Loire Valley can be a place where the hassle of driving can be worth it: gives you more flexibility, avoid driving in the bigger towns.Some travelers are happy not renting a car, and just seeing the chateaus near the rail lines, combining rail with either public transportation and/or van/shuttle tours.
Depends on whether your bucket list includes the chateaus that are out in the country.
Provence: Similar advice as above for Provence. If you want to see places like Les Baux, a car is worth the trouble. But you don’t want to, or need to, drive in places like Avignon or Nimes. The main urban areas are well served by rail, but not the country locations.