Best Chateaux to visit in the Loire Valley, France
What to do and when to go in the Loire valley.
Vallée de la Loire” known in English as The Loire Valley is located in central France, in the central stretch of the Loire River in both regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire. Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Montsoreau, Orléans, Saumur and Tours, including Nantes and Saint-Nazaire all adds to the splendour of the valley.
Delights of the French country side, known as the Garden of France it’s the chateaux of the Loire Valley river valley! It is a place to experience the history of chateaux in the Loire Valley, Surrounded by vineyards and acres of orchards. Here, you will find some amazing Villas to rent in Loire valley. The Garden of France is where royals and noble ministers not only built fantastic châteaux, but also established the art of the French Renaissance garden.
The Loire Valley wine region comprises the French wine regions situated along the Loire River. it is best to explore the wine region by combining your stay either in Villa in Loire Valley or living like a noble in Luxury Chateaux in Loire valley. The Loire Valley is separated into three wine production divisions. Upper Loire comprises areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, Middle Loire regions around Touraine, Saumur, Chinon and Vouvray and the Lower Loire which leads to the aperture of the river’s entrance to the Atlantic goes through the Muscadet region. Crémant production throughout the Loire is the second largest sparkling wine producer in France after Champagne. The area of the Loire Valley covers around 800 square kilometres.
The Royal connection with Vallée de la Loire goes back to the 100 years’ war (1350-1450). Due to a dynastic dispute, the English had a serious claim to the French throne, by the early 1400’s they controlled much of France including Paris. Kings always retreated to Loire to rule what was remained of their kingdom. When the threats subsided and kings returned to Paris, many of their Loire castles became Luxury country escapes. The French rebounded and eventually drove of the English back to England and the French kings lived in the Loire region for the next two centuries, with getting comfortable with Château culture in the region. With a wonderfully mild climate, and good hunting, pensive rivers, wealthy friends by side with similar luxury with close proximity to Paris yet far enough away. The 16th Cultural golden age with peace and stability with no longer a need for fortification, It was the fantasy of economic elite. Then with the French revolution, it all changed, with the working class rising up they chased the bankers and financiers away from their estates and looted most of the palaces. These palaces are open to visitors now but are finding hard to upkeep with rising costs, however, they enjoy financial assistance from the government if they open these mansions to the public.
Châteaux in Loire Valley
There are more than 300 Châteaux in Loire Valley, it rules this region in terms of architecture, building and power. Well obviously, you can’t visit them all in one holiday, unless you have whole year to explore these palaces. These big castles not only need time to walk but also needs time to soak in the history behind it. So we thought, best work out some Unique châteaux in Loire Valley for your interests.
Enjoy the river that marks the heart of France, Play with Leonardo’s invention at his last home, admire the ultimate and graceful palaces that you don’t find anywhere else in Europe, feed the dogs and eat well yourself before enjoying the Castles and gardens of your dream.
The Loire Valley hides countless castles or chateaus, while you might be planning to visit several, it is important to choose the visits prudently. Instead of seeing similar castles, it is better to choose variety. Some examples are shown below. They are chosen for their distinctive differences.
The Famous and the biggest: Château de Chambord
Start your trip with the grandest of all chateaus, Château de Chambord. France has historically been dived by Loire River, using your own luxury villa or Château in Loire valley as a base, you can explore some important castles, such as Chateau de Chambord much bigger than the average castle.
The castle has 440 rooms and is surrounded by Europe’s largest and closed forest. Still home to wild deer and wild-boar, you can explore the area by rental bike. Starting in 1519, French king Francis the 1st built and employed 1800 workmen for 15 years.
Italian renaissance influenced – Château d’Amboise
Château d’Amboise was the famous royal residence of several kings with commanding views. In the Château d’Amboise, you will notice the impact of Italian renaissance when French big shots went to Italy they returned enthused by art and architecture they saw, tastes, food, gardens, and artists were all influenced by Italian culture.
Francois premier (Francis I of France), did what he can to physically bring the Renaissance to France. It sort of made sense: the ultimate French renaissance French king invited the ultimate renaissance Artist, Leonardo da Vinci to join his court. The king set Leonardo in Clos Lucé (Château du Clos Lucé), a small mansion just down the road, where he spent his last days.
Also, Chenonceau, Château de Cheverny and Villandry are other incredible castles not to be missed during your visit to the Loire Valley. Due to its strategic location, productiveness of its land and long history, the Loire Valley is home to fainting variety of castles and palaces. While the earliest were designed mainly for defence, but a valley address became a “must have” for the royalties of the 16th century, the old medieval towers were replaced by luxurious castles (chateaux).
Chateau of the ladies – Château de Chenonceau
Graceful Château de Chenonceau is a tribute to Loire. A 16th Century renaissance castle curves elegantly over cher river. The Official garden of the palace combines with a delightful riverside setting, makes it one of the must-see sights in all of France. You will see 16th-century tapestries inside the palace, they the finest in France.
Château de Chenonceau was known as the first great pleasure palace with its eye-catching grand gallery straddling the river, it was made for the high society. Nicknamed “Chateau of the ladies” Château de Chenonceau housed many well-known women over the centuries. In 1547, Henri II, presented the Chenonceau to Diane-de-Poitiers, once his governess, presently his mistress, she added an arch bridge over the river. When the king passed away, his wife Catherine de Medici expelled Diane, and took Chenonceau for herself and she turned the bridge into a fancy ballroom. Great personalities like kings, tickled more than one tiara at a time. Mistresses were a routine part of the mix. Louis XV, ornamented this château with a painting of three graces…containing his three favourite mistresses. Now, that is the arrogance of power.
Unwind here with some delicious French cuisine as evening sets in. There are many rustic and elegant spots that serve delicious and well-presented traditional cuisine and are hit with the locals. Try the freshwater Shrimp from Loire River with Tapenade and summer August in France, its always Rose wine, even escargot red meat yes its perfect they say! There the classic dishes with and in French cuisine duck (more like chicken of France) and lamb is pretty common. Remember all meals prices include all service charge and taxes, so no need to tip a lot here, unlike in the US. Try the local cheeses here and everywhere in France for that matter, they are from both the Cow and Goats. Cheeses like Sainte-Maure de Touraine, Selles-sur-Cher, Valençay, Pouligny-Saint-Pierre (a French goats’-milk cheese), if you like Savoie (Savoy cow) then try reblochon, from the North you have Maroilles, it is a cow milk cheese from the regions of Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais and not to forget is the fourme d’ambert bleu from Auvergne. All the Luxury Chateaux and Villas to rent in Loire Valley should be within a good 1 to 1.30 hr of travel time to castles, so make sure you have time to relax and enjoy the pools at the Chateaus and Villas, where you have booked your rentals.
Five century of rule and up to date – Château de Cheverny
The royally hunting Château de Cheverny is located at Cheverny, in the department of Loir-et-Cher in the Loire Valley. It is a magnificently preserved castle which was designed and built in 30 years, in the 1600s. its conspicuous architectural harmony and unity of elegance is still visible.
The chateau has been in the same family for five centuries and the intimate details like the wedding dress in the bedroom, are a reminder that the marquise lives here to this day. It is still possible to see upstairs in the family quarters a more “lived in” feel, the library shows a passion for music and culture, you can even see in the kids’ room 19th-century toys, and the clock does it all showing the stage of the moon day and date. Its second hand has been ticking away for 250 years now.
The 1789 revolution caused major destruction to many French chateaus and palaces, some were even burned down to the ground, yet many survived. Some were lucky, and some had fast-talking owners with friends in high places, some had a good reputation like Château de Cheverny, even up to today of being good to workers. In those days there was a good part of life was spent hunting and to some degree it still does. Marquis hunt two times a week, a pack of some seventy hunting hounds are kept in kennels within the grounds, feeding times for the hounds are 5pm daily, and many visits to see this, as the master moves the dogs out and prepares the red meat feast. Then he allows them to come down and gather at the concrete table and gives the signal to feast.
Château de Villandry – Jean le Breton inspired Gardeners Paradise
Château de Villandry by the River Cher, is one special castle in France. Loire Valley many have many castles with impressive gardens, yet Villandry stands out above all of these, specifically for its landscaping. Completed in 1536, was the last major renaissance chateau built on Loire valley.
The castle is all about its grounds, its arranged in intricate geometric patterns and spotlessly well kept – it’s the dream of a Gardner. The project was an investment of very rich banker named Jean le Breton, who was an employer of the king Francois premier (Francis I of France). Jean le Breton’s inspiration came from Italian renaissance gardens, as a result of building his Château he made sure he had a renaissance gardens in his castle.
The earlier Loire gardens were maintained by abbey monks, and the monks seems to like geometrical patterns, however later the Italian of pretty ponds, arbours and fountains.
Today you can visit Villandry castle and still see how the careful steps that are taken to preserve the originality of this 1530 castle. Thanks to the owners the Carvallo family, the Château de Villandry is open to the public.
Well, it is not all about Châteaux, Châteaux and Châteaux….there is much more to explore here during your villa rentals in Loire Valley.
Other things not to miss in Loire river valley
Meander the Terra Botanica Garden in Angers
If you like plant life, here’s a place to pay a visit. This Terra Botanica Garden in Angers, has a history of plants from around the world, brought over by explorers to bloom in the gardens of the châteaux. Thousands of plants showcased to explore if you have the time for it, from tropical jungles to greenhouse plants, ask the gardeners.
The Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans
If you are a car race lover and around this vicinity, see if you have time to visit the Circuit de la Sarthe, Found south of the city, on the road to Tours, the 24 Hours circuit has changed since its creation in 1923. The beginning of this circuit is closely related to the Grand Prix of France, which took place in the Sarthe in 1906. It is a semi-permanent motorsport race course primarily famous as the venue for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race.
Go on the wine trail in an exploration of its delicate essences
Saumur, Chinon, Bourgueil, Vouvray, Muscadet—these are jewel known appellations of the Loire Valley, spread over 300 kilometers (180 miles) in the middle of Blois and Nantes. White, red, rosé, mellow, quiet or sparkling, their variety will please your taste buds.
Partake in some wine tasting at Bouvet-Ladubay
For a wide guided trip of one of France’s best makers of sparkling wine, this is the place to visit. It owns no fewer than 10 miles of wine cellars— with a tasting at the end of the tour. Don’t worry about having to walk so many kilometers; the winery offers wonderful cycling tours. If you have energetic teens it’s a good way to keep them away from their devices. If they can’t taste, they can still learn about wines.
Cycle the bends of Loire
Want to stretch your legs?! If you’d fancy a shorter route, from one chateau to another: there are 14 routes in the Loire Valley, with more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) of bike trails with well-marked routes. For the fit, follow the longest route of the river for 900 kilometres (560 miles), starting from Cuffy in the Cher and ending in St Brevin
Family with kids in the Loire valley – some suggested activities
Malagué Lake activities and swimming
In Chaumont d’Anjou, a leisure base is located by the side of Lac Malagué within a 20 acre wood. Swimming is overseen by lifeguards in summer, and numerous activities such as peddle-boating, canoeing, stand-up paddling are offered. If you with your family this is an idea base!
Awe at the technical accomplishments of the Scénoféerie de Semblançay
During the summer, at the base of the Semblançay castle north of Tours, this live show traces the great historical fresco of Touraine from the Gallo-Romans to the Revolution. Totally, around 450 actors participate in costumes, 60 fighters and stuntmen and many horses that will bring memorable moments to life in the midst of fireworks, flames and fountains. Great fun for families holidaying Loire valley with kids.
Watch the Châteaux from the top of a hot air balloon
Well, maybe you are short of time or prefer to have a glance of the Châteaux of France from above until your next visit to explore them in detail? Or you just want to spend less time with castle and see other things to do around. From a bird’s eye view, the landscape looks so amazing, more like a movie or like travelling back in time so quickly and having a peep into the old France and making your own movie on your head. Flying over the Châteaux of Chenonceau or Chambord in tranquillity, drift above the sandy coasts of the Loire, and peek over the vineyards extending out to the forests packed with wildlife.
Papea Parc, Yvre-l’Eveque
Nice little amusement park with rides for all ages. Papea Parc is located in Yvre-l’Eveque.