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LOIRE CASTLES | When to Go, What to See, Prices and Itinerary. Practical information


the Most BEAUTIFUL LOIRE CASTLES in FRANCE

Practical information to organize the trip to this destination with details on when to go, necessary documents, how to get around and much more

WHEN TO VISIT THE LOIRE CASTLES in FRANCEA

The best time to visit the Loire Castles is between April and June and between September and October, when it rains less and the landscapes and gardens have the best colors, especially in spring. In fact, any time is good to visit the Loire Valley.


High season (July and August): these two months are the busiest, since in addition to the good weather, the days are longer and you can make more use of the travel days.

Mid season (April to June and September): this is the best time to visit the Loire Valley if you want to enjoy good weather, tranquility and lower prices.

Low season (October to March): this is the worst time when you consider the weather. Days are generally grayer, colder and increase the chances of rain. Furthermore, in some areas, during this period some clubs may close and the castles reduce visiting hours.

WHERE ARE LOCATED THE LOIRE CASTLES in FRANCE

The Loire Valley, also known as the garden of France due to its great beauty. The castles are located in one of the most incredible areas of the country and among the most beautiful in the world. In addition to visiting the beautiful interiors of the castles, with period furniture and magnificent gardens, it is worthwhile to rent a car to freely explore the landscapes that surround them.

 

Click'n'Go - Click on the Places you can find them on the Maps

 

the Most BEAUTIFUL LOIRE CASTLES in FRANCE

There are over 50 castles in the Loire Valley and neighboring valleys, here are the main ones:

Chambord Castle

Less than 2 hours south of Paris, Chambord is a must-see. It is the largest and most prestigious castle among the castles of the Loire Valley. Through this majestic manor, you can immerse yourself in the life of King Francis I.

Secluded in a magnificent wooded setting along the Cosson River, used by King Francis I for hunting, Chambord Castle is the largest and one of the best-known castles in the Loire Valley.

This castle stands out for its majestic size, has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 84 staircases, as well as being one of the best examples of the French Renaissance and one of the best preserved castles of the Loire. The project of the imposing internal staircase is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Parking P0 200 meters from the castle (car, motorbike): € 6 / day

  • Parking P1 (minibuses): € 11 / day - Coach: € 50 / day.

Free parking for groups who have already visited the castle (upon presentation of proof of purchase of at least 7 entrance tickets)

  • Parking P2 (car): 4 € / day. (Camper): € 11 / 24h.

  • 10-stop card (light vehicles): € 10 valid for 1 year.

  • Free bike parking

OPENING HOURS

Every day from 09:00 to 18:00

from April to October,

the rest of the year it closes at 5pm.

PRICE: € 14,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Royal Castle of Blois

This castle presents an authentic overview of the art and history of the castles of the Loire, making it the best introduction to tours of the castles of the Loire. If you are planning a trip to discover the castles of the Loire, the Château de Blois is one of the main stops. A World Heritage Site since 2000, Blois Castle houses an incredible collection of period art, furniture and objects. One of the most fascinating attractions of Blois is the sound and light show which, with the arrival of spring, transforms its facade into a giant screen on which the history of the castle is told.


OPENING HOURS

January - February - March: from 10:00 to 17:00

April - May - June: from 9:00 to 18:30

July - August: from 9:00 to 19:00

September - October: from 9:00 to 18:30

November - December: from 10:00 to 17:00

PRICE: € 13,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Cheverny Castle

It is the Tintin castle (those of our generation will recognize it immediately, in fact the Cheverny castle was taken as a model by the cartoonist Hergé to create the Moulinsart Castle, present in several issues of Tintin)! Very close to Blois and Chambord, it is known as the most sumptuously decorated castle in the Loire.

Cheverny Castle is surrounded by a huge botanical park, has interiors perfectly decorated with exceptional period pieces and is incredibly preserved thanks to the careful work of the owner family, who have lived in this building for more than 6 centuries. In addition, the gardens of the Château de Cheverny are among the most beautiful in the Loire Valley.

If you are a lover of the Adventures of Tintin, don't miss the permanent exhibition dedicated to Belgian comics.

OPENING HOURS

Every day from 09:15 to 18:30

from April to September,

the rest of the year from 10:00 to 17:00.

PRICE: € 13,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau Castle is one of the most famous castles of the Loire, together with Chambord, as well as being one of the most impressive castles in the world.

Known as the "castle of women" due to the modifications and embellishments made by several women, this 16th century castle, with a simple white facade and beautiful gardens, impresses with its large gallery that crosses the River Cher.

In addition to taking hundreds of photos from the outside, we recommend going inside to see an important collection of paintings by great masters such as Tintoretto and Rubens.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 09:15 to 18:30

from April to September,

the rest of the year from 10:00 to 17:00.

PRICE: € 15,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Clos Lucé Castle-Leonardo da Vinci Park

This red brick and tuff castle was the last residence of Leonardo da Vinci, when he moved to Amboise at the court of Francis I. The Château du Clos Lucé is located, in fact, 500 meters from the royal castle, in Amboise. During the visit to the castle it is possible to visit the Chamber of Leonardo da Vinci and discover a lot of his inventions.

OPENING HOURS

January: from 10:00 to 18:00

February - June: from 9:00 to 19:00

July - August: from 9:00 to 20:00

September - October: from 9:00 to 19:00

November - December: from 9:00 to 18:00

PRICE: € 18,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Royal Castle of Amboise

Amboise Castle is located in the town of the same name on the banks of the Loire. Many European scholars and artists spent time at the Amboise court. The most vigorous historical period of the Royal Castle of Amboise was with the presence of the kings Charles III and Francis I of France. In 1516 that King Francis I invited Leonardo da Vinci to go to France and became its patron, appointing him as the king's painter, engineer and architect. And for him to reside in France, he gave him the castle of Clos-Lucé, where the king lived during his childhood. After his death three years later, Leonardo da Vinci was buried in the Saint-Hubert chapel within the Amboise Castle complex.

In addition to the castle, do not miss a visit to the town of Amboise with panoramic views of the banks of the Loire on which stands the Royal Castle, half-timbered houses and the Clock Tower.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 09:00 to 18:30

from April to May,

until 19:00 in June and July,

until 17:00 September and October

the rest of the year from 09:00 to 12:30

and from 14:00 to 16:30.

PRICE: € 13,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Villandry Castle and Gardens

The Renaissance-style Château de Villandry is located in the heart of 3 terraced gardens, among the most beautiful in France, and was the last of the great Loire castles to be built during the Renaissance period. The three gardens are distinguished by each having a different design and theme, adorned with plants and flowers that form geometric figures of all kinds on 3 levels of terraces.


OPENING HOURS

Visit of the gardens: every day from 9:00 to 19:00

in winter it closes earlier

PRICE: € 12,00 per Adult CASTLE + GARDENS

PRICE: € 7,50 per Adult GARDENS

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Langeais Castle

The castle of Langeais is one of the best preserved and least restored of all the castles of the Loire Valley, which is why it is an unmissable stop on a journey to discover the castles of the Loire. This castle, which has its origins in the late 10th century, is composed of the Foulques tower, the oldest keep in France, and the Louis XI castle, which gives visitors an idea of its glorious period, with furniture from the 15th century and mosaic floors. Don't miss the lookout with a beautiful view over the Loire Valley.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 9:30 to 17:30

PRICE: € 11,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle

Another of the most beautiful castles of the Loire is the chateau of Chaumont-sur-Loire, which belonged to Catherine de 'Medici. Set in a 32-hectare estate with landscaped gardens and artwork, the exterior architecture with large towers is reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty Castle. From the terrace of the castle you have a fantastic panoramic view of the Loire Valley. From June to October, landscape architects from all over the world meet on this estate to celebrate the International Garden Festival.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 10:00 to 18:00,

in winter it closes at 16:00/17:00

PRICE: € 19,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Sully-sur-Loire Castle

Most of the castles of the Loire Valley are located between the cities of Angers and Orleans, so those who start their journey from the latter will first encounter that of Sully-sur-Loire, a two-hour drive from Paris.

This fairytale castle from the late 14th century is surrounded by a water-filled defensive moat which sets it apart from many Loire castles which served more as palaces or stately homes than military constructions. Inside, despite having suffered various damages throughout its history, some of its jewels have been preserved, such as a tapestry dedicated to Psyche and the tomb of the Duke of Sully.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 10:00 to 18:00

from July to August,

other months from 10:00 to 12:00 e

from 14:00 to 17:00.

PRICE: € 8,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Ussé Castle

Another Loire castle not to be missed. Ussé Castle, built in the 15th century, inspired the French writer Charles Perrault for his famous fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty". Its white stone Renaissance facade blends harmoniously with French gardens and a beautiful Renaissance chapel, denoting its past as a royal residence. Inside you will find rooms furnished with antiques, 18th century paintings and Flemish tapestries.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from April to September

from 10:00 to 19:00,

the rest of the year it closes at 18:00

PRICE: € 14,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Azay-le-Rideau Castle

Built on an island in the middle of the Indre River, the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau displays all the refinement of a French Early Renaissance building. Its facades reflected in the river make it one of the most beautiful castles of the Loire. It is also worth delving into its well-kept interiors to see the living room and dining room of the Marquises de Biencourt, the kitchen and the innovative straight staircase, which took the place of the typical spiral staircases. All this makes it one of the mandatory stops on any route through the Loire Valley.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 10:00 to 18:00

PRICE: € 11,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Angers Castle

Large medieval fortress, flanked by 17 towers, was built in the 13th century by the young Saint Louis on the border of his kingdom. Inside its walls it is possible to admire the famous tapestry of the Apocalypse.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 09:30 to 18:30

from May to August,

other months from 10:00 to 17:30

PRICE: € 9,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Royal Citadel of Loches

The royal citadel of Loches was a village on the trade route from Amboise to Poitiers via the Indre valley, which later became a small medieval citadel. Its huge quadrangular tower stands out.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from April to September

from 09:00 to 19:00,

the rest of the year from 09:30 to 17:00

PRICE: € 10,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Royal Fortress of Chinon

The royal fortress of Chinon dominates the village and evokes a time when the history of France and England were intimately intertwined. In 1429, in the great hall of the royal apartments, the historic meeting of Joan of Arc with the Dauphin, future Charles VII, took place.


OPENING HOURS

January - February - November

- December: 9:30 - 17:00

March - April and September - October: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm

May 1st - August 31st: 9.30am - 7pm

PRICE: € 10,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Fontevrault Abbey

Considered one of the largest monastic precincts in Europe, Fontevraud Abbey will catch your attention with its proportions and original architecture. Former prison, the "cells" now house a Cultural Center.


OPENING HOURS

From 3 January to 8 April: 10:00 - 18:00

/ Closed every Tuesday

From 7 November to 16 December: 10:00 - 18:00

/ Closed every Tuesday

From 9 April to 1 July: 10:00 - 19:00

/ Open 7 days a week

From 29 August to 6 November: 10:00 - 19:00

/ Open 7 days a week

From December 17th to January 6th 2023: 10am - 7pm

/ Open 7 days a week

From 2 July to 28 August: 10:00 - 20:00

PRICE Royal Abbey: € 12,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Valençay Castle

Napoleon bought it so that his famous foreign minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, could receive European dignitaries with due honors. The building combines 2 architectural styles: Renaissance and Classical and is surrounded by magnificent French gardens and an English park.


OPENING HOURS

Every day: 10:00 - 18:00

October and November: 10:30 - 17:00

PRICE: € 14,50 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Saumur Castle

Built at the end of the 11th century, Saumur Castle has had various functions throughout its history: from a fortress, a palace to a prison and weapons depot. The castle dominates the city of Saumur and the majestic Loire from the top of a promontory. Saumur Castle was one of the last castles of the Loire that we visited on our trip and from afar it appeared to us as a fairytale castle.


OPENING HOURS

Every day from 10:00 to 18:30

June 15 - September 15

The rest of the year from Tuesday to Sunday

from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00

PRICE: € 8,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Brezè Castle

Brézé Castle, built between the 11th and 19th centuries, offers visitors the chance to discover an elegant inhabited residence and an extraordinary underground enclosure.


OPENING HOURS

February - March: From 9:30 to 18:00

April - May - June -

September: From 9:30 to 18:30

July - August: From 9:30 to 19:00

October November December:

From 9:30 to 18:00 non-stop

PRICE: € 12,10 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Brissac Castle

From the expansive lawns of its romantic-toned park, Brissac's facades elevate their striking architecture.


OPENING HOURS

January - February: only during school holidays

March - April - May - June:

from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00

July - August: from 10:00 to 18:00

September: from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00

October: from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30

November December:

only during school holidays

PRICE: € 11,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes

Last castle on the banks of the Loire, known as the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. Its extraordinary buildings from the 15th and 17th centuries lure visitors into the magic of an authentic journey into the heart of history.


OPENING HOURS

Courtyard and ramparts - freely accessible

Open 7 days a week: from 8:30 to 19:00

July 1st> August 31st: 8.30am to 8.00pm

Interior of the castle, museum and exhibition

From 10:00 to 18:00, closed on Mondays

1 luglio > 31 agosto: dalle 10:00 alle 18:00, 7 gg 7

PRICE: € 8,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Le Rivau Castle

It is located near Chinon. It is in this castle that Joan of Arc and her companions gathered the horses that they would use to liberate the city of Orleans.


OPENING HOURS

April 1st - April 30th: 10am - 6pm

May 1st - September 30th: 10am - 7pm

October 1st - November 13th: 10am - 6pm

PRICE: € 12,00 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here


Montsoreau Castle of Contemporary Art

Since 2016 it hosts the largest collection in the world of works by the group of contemporary artists Art & Langage, creators of conceptual art, an artistic movement in which the idea overlaps in importance to the work of art itself.


OPENING HOURS

January / February / March 12:00 - 18:00

April: 10 am-7pm

May: 10: 00-18: 00

June / July / August / September 10 am-7pm

October / November / December 12:00 - 18:00

PRICE: € 10,70 per Adult

prices may vary, consult the

official webiste click here

CITIES and VILLAGES to VISIT along the LOIRE VALLEY

In addition to the route through the Loire Castles we talked about earlier, traveling in the Loire Valley is also synonymous with getting to know some of the most beautiful cities and villages in France, such as Orléans, Blois, Chinon or Tours, which we are sure will surprise you and will be the perfect option to rest from visits to castles, which although beautiful, after visiting several a day, can end up exhausting you.

Orléans

Located just 100 kilometers from Paris, Orléans is a city known for its impressive medieval pedestrian quarter which can be walked from Rue Jeanne d'Arc to the Loire River, which offers splendid views over the city. We recommend that you make this visit in half a day and do not miss the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the Rue, Jeanne d'Arc, the Place du Martroi, the House of Joan of Arc, the Rue Royale and the Halles Châtelet. Enjoy a walk through the charming streets of the medieval center, which we are sure will make you go back in time.

Blois

Blois is another of the cities not to be missed on a trip to the Loire Valley. Practically rebuilt in its entirety, after being destroyed during the Second World War, today you can enjoy a beautiful historic center. Among all the places to visit, you cannot miss the Château Royal de Blois, the old town with the Saint Louis Cathedral, the Maison des Acrobates and the Jardins de l´Évêché.

Tours

Known in this area of ​​France for being one of the most famous university towns and for its beautiful medieval center, Tours is another city not to be missed on a tour of the Loire Valley. Like the previous ones, with half a day you can get to know its most touristic places, among which you cannot miss the Plumereau square, colloquially known as Place Plum, the historic center, the Cathedral of St. Gatien and the Basilica of St. Martin, as well as strolling in the most central and commercial area of ​​the city, Boulevard Béranger.


Chinon

Situated on the banks of the Vienne River is Chinon, which is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in France. Despite being relatively small, we recommend that you dedicate a morning or an afternoon, as it is an amazing place and, moreover, we are sure, it will become one of your favorites in the Loire Valley. Don't forget to visit the Royal Fortress, the Medieval City, Rue Haute St. Maurice, Rue Voltaire, Chapelle Ste. Radegonde and use the lift to go from the fortress to the old town.

ITINERARY to SEE the MOST BEAUTIFUL LOIRE CASTLES in FRANCE

Here is an itinerary to better see the most beautiful Loire Castles:

LOIRE CASTLES from PARIS - 8 Days / 7 Nights

Day 1 arrival PARIS

Day 2 PARIS - FOUNTAINEBLEAU Castle - ORLEANS

Day 3 ORLEANS - CHAMBORD Castle - CHEVERNY Castle - BLOIS Castle - BLOIS

Day 4 BLOIS - CHENONCEAU Castle - AMBOISE Castle - CLOS LUCÉ Residence - TOURS

Day 5 TOURS - VILLANDRY Castle - LANGEAIS Castle - USSÉ Castle - ANGERS - NANTES

Day 6 NANTES - CHARTRES - PARIS

Day 7 PARIS with the Palace of VERSAILLES

Day 8 PARIS departure

WHERE TO EAT in the LOIRE VALLEY?

BEST TYPICAL RESTAURANTS of the LOIRE VALLEY Quality / Price


Orléans - €€ - Le Comptoir de Mamie Bigoude Orléans

Orléans - €€ - Crêperie Bretonne

Orléans - €€ - La Parenthèse

Orléans - €€ - Chez Dionysios

Cheverny - €€ - La Coeur aux Crêpes

Amboise - €€ - Comptoir de Mamie Bigoude Amboise

Amboise - €€ - Ristorante L'Epicerie

Blois - €€ - Au Bouchon Lyonnais

Tours - €€ - Au Lapin Qui Fume

Tours - €€ - Le bistrot d'Odile

Tours - € - Le Plazza (Italian Restaurant)

Sully-sur-Loire - €€ - Ristorante Le Café des Ars (view on the Castle)

Villandry - €€ - La Doulce Terrasse

Azay-le-Rideau - €€ - Le Boudoir

Turquant - €€ - Le Bistroglo

Montrésor - € - Café de la Ville

Nantes - €€ - Amour de Pomme de Terre

Nantes - €€ - La Cigale

WHAT TO EAT in the LOIRE VALLEY

It would be impossible to summarize all the gastronomy of the Loire Valley in so few lines, but we leave you some advice so as not to miss some delicacies of these places.


Andouillettes

Sausage prepared with pork intestines.


Géline de Touraine

It is a variety of chicken cooked in many ways and it is delicious.


Cream of Asparagus

One of the main ingredients of this area. The cream that is delicious.


Gâteau Nantais

Dessert from the beginning of the century made with sugar, almonds, butter and rum.


Tarte Tatin

One of our favorites. An apple pie that is a pleasure for the senses.

TRAVEL TIPS to VISIT the LOIRE CASTLE in FRANCE by World Mappers

  • The first and foremost thing when traveling to the Loire Valley is to consider how many days it takes to visit the most important cities and castles you want to see. In principle, a fairly complete course can be completed in 5-7 days.

  • We advise you to opt for the plane, land in Paris, and rent a car to start visiting the Loire Valley. This is the most convenient way to get to know this area of ​​France.

  • On the French motorways, service and rest areas are very frequent, so you will have no problem taking a break from driving.

  • There are also combined Pass solutions to visit multiple castles, here the link in French with some of these passes - click here