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Loire Valley Travel Guide

With its numerous royal chateaux and beautiful landscapes along the wide Loire river, Loire Valley is one of France’s most-visited regions. Rolling vineyards, pretty stone towns and a wide selection of excellent hotels and restaurants await.

About Loire Valley

Welcome to the enchanting world of Loire Valley, a tapestry of French elegance, history, and natural splendor. Nestled along the banks of the majestic Loire River, this region beckons with its picturesque landscapes, adorned with fairytale-like castles, sprawling vineyards, and charming villages that seem frozen in time.

Loire Valley, often referred to as the “Garden of France,” unfolds like a living canvas, where each stroke tells a story of royal legacies and artistic brilliance. As you wander through its meandering vineyard-covered hills and verdant forests, you’ll discover the harmonious blend of architectural grandeur and the serene beauty of the countryside.

Chateaux to visit in Loire Valley

Château de Chambord

With over 400 rooms, Chambord is the largest chateau in the Loire Valley. Its famous roof lined with 200 chimneys gives it its distinctive silhouette, reflected into the glass-like lake in front. These formal French gardens were renovated in 2017 and are now seamlessly united with the 13 500 acres of natural parkland beyond. While the extent of his influence on Chambord’s architecture been debated over the years, the great double helix staircase has been attributed to Italian great, Leonardo da Vinci.

Château, 41250 Chambord 

Château de Blois

Blois represented a special place for the French Court during the Renaissance. Its importance is shown through the 9-room fine arts museum and stunning Royal apartments which are both vast and ornately decorated (just try and count the 6720 fleurs-de-lys on the paneling of the General Assembly Hall). Classified as a historic monument since 1845, Blois features a variety of architectural designs including Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical. Spend some time deciphering the chateau’s marvelous edifice, presenting the history of the seven kings and ten queens of France. 

6 Place du Château, 41000 Blois

Château d'Amboise

In its lofty position over the Loire river, Amboise is synonymous with the grandeur and history of the region’s châteaux. The French court was based here during the 15th and 16th centuries and enjoyed several architectural innovations during its construction in this period. King François the First who grew up here had a special affection for it, and as a great patron of the arts, invited Leonardo da Vinci to be his painter/engineer in residence between 1516 to 1519. Amboise became da Vinci’s final resting place and you can visit the artist’s tomb at the nearby Chapel of Saint-Hubert.

Montée de l’Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 Amboise 

Château d'Azay le Rideau

Inspired by the Italian Renaissance style following conquests in Italy, Azay-le-Rideau was commissioned by François I in the 16th century. A blend of French traditions and Italian decor, this small but statuesque chateau is built on an island in the river Indre. This special position gives it a ‘water mirror’ effect where the chateau is perfectly reflected in the river below. Make sure you include a stroll around the England-style parks when you visit. Created by keen botanist Charles de Biencourt, it was filled with a variety of different trees, many of which were exotic species at the time. A magical chateau to visit in winter.

Rue de Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau 

Château de Chenonceau

Also known as the Château des Dames, Chenonceau was influenced by several women who altered and protected its unique architecture over the years. A love triangle dictates a great deal of the chateau’s interior and garden design. King Henry II decided not to give Chenonceau to his Queen, Catherine de Médicis; but to his Favorite, Diane de Poitiers. To this end, two gardens designed by each woman are set on opposing sides of the chateau. Diane’s garden represents one of the country’s finest examples of a floating parterre. Inside, Chenonceau is famous for its elaborate bouquets that fill each room.

37150 Chenonceaux 

Château de Langeais

Fiercely fought over by the House of Anjou and the House of Blois (two local and rival dynasties), Langeais is a fortress dating back to the Middle Ages. Its traditional keep was saved from ruin by Charles VII in 1422 and modernized by Louis XI in 1452 to reflect the 15th-century changes. A beautiful castle to see in fall and winter, Langeais has 15 rooms to visit and a splendid collection of 16th and 18th-century tapestries.

Place Pierre de Brosse, 37130 Langeais 

Things to do in Loire Valley

Hot Air Balloon Ride

A bird’s eye view of the chateaux! In the company of experienced pilots take a three-hour trip over some of the Loire’s most beautiful landscapes and chateaux.

Horse riding in the valley

Why drive from chateau to chateau when you go on horseback? Circuits include B&B accommodation, castle visits, and rides through parks, forests, and vineyards.


Kayak along the Loire

On a fine summer day, what better way to see the countryside than from the cool water?

Wine tasting

The Loire Valley produces many wonderful wines. A wine tasting in the cellars is a great way to learn more about the region and its wine-making methods. If you want to buy after you try, most wine houses will ship your purchases home.

Villandry Gardens

The kitchen and ornamental gardens at Villandry are world famous. A reference in formal garden design, open all year round. The entire grounds are maintained free from chemicals or pesticides, making them entirely organic. A visit here is bound to inspire any garden designer.

Domaine de Chaumont Garden Festival

Running from late April to mid October every year, this garden festival – started in 1992 – is a brilliant laboratory and showcase for all kinds of garden design.  

Where to stay in Loire Valley

From the manor house to an actual chateau, this is the region to go grand!

stay at

Les Hauts de Loire

This glorious manor house turned hotel is a fantastic place to relax and use as a home base for visiting the area.   Choose between rooms in the main house or in the equally comfortable annexe.  Enjoy good meals at either their gastronomic restaurant or less formal bistro.   Bikes are available for cycling around the extensive grounds.


Relais de Chambord

The only hotel to enjoy the more than 5000 hectares of Chambord National Domain. Offering unique views onto maybe the most spectacular chateau of the valley, with chic and contemporary design.

Place St Louis, 41250 Chambord


Château Louise de La Vallière

Experience real chateau life, and step back in time.  This newly renovated chateau has been designed by Jacques Garcia and is a true experience in fine country living. Fine dining offered in its own restaurant 

Where to Eat Loire Valley

eat at

Fleur de Loire

Chef Christophe Hay’s new address is a two-Michelin-star restaurant nestled inside a 5-star hotel, lost in the splendid forest of Blois. Serving beautifully crafted local fare backed up by an impressive wine list, this is surely already one of Loire’s finest addresses.

26 quai Villebois Mareuil, 41 000 Blois

eat at

L'Ecluse d'Amboise

Fine french food served with simplicity. Located in the heart of Amboise, seating inside or outside in the garden with lovely views.

Rue Racine, 37400 Amboise

eat at

Maison Trois Gros

Stylish and contemporary design within the walls of a former farmhouse. The five-star hotel boasts a three-star Michelin restaurant and offers the ideal location for visiting the area. 

728 Route de Villerest, 42155 Ouches

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