Loire Valley Travel Guide

by Natalie Becci

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.

Chateaux Guide


Château, 41250 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.


6 Place du Château, 41000 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. 


Montée de l’Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 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.


Rue de Pineau, 37190 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.


37150 Chenonceaux 

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.


Place Pierre de Brosse, 37130 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.

Things To Do

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 Ride Around the Loire

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

Amboise Troglodyte

19bis Rue Camille Breton, 37530 Nazelles

Around Saumur, houses are not only built but quite literally tunnelled into the hills!   ‘Troglodyte’ dwellings offer surprising levels of comfort and a very different kind of hotel experience. 

Le Manoir les Minimes

34, quai Charles Guinot, 37400 Amboise

Manoir les Minimes is close enough to Château d’Amboise that you can see it from your bedroom window.  This hotel, which was recently awarded its fifth star, resides inside this elegant 18th-century manor house.

92 Rue de Monts, 37250 Montbazon

Live in the lap of luxury at Château d’Artigny. Built in 1912 by French perfumer François Coty, this is a building of grand proportions that has been a hotel since 1961. Situated close to Tours.

Relais de Chambord

Place St Louis, 41250 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.

Where To Eat

Fleur de Loire

26 quai Villebois Mareuil, 41 000 Blois

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.

La Table du Château Gratien

94 Route de Montsoreau, 49400 Saumur

Set on the grounds of a leafy park, this finely dressed restaurant uses its location to its advantage. The menu glitters with regional produce like mushrooms and Parthenais beef, offset by homemade bread and garden vegetables.

L'Ecluse d'Amboise

Rue Racine, 37400 Amboise

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

Maison Trois Gros

728 Route de Villerest, 42155 Ouches

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. 

Related Articles

This Site Uses Cookies

Don’t be alarmed, we do not use or store your information. We are a French site and this is simply a regulation for the European Union to let you know that this website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Read More