Things to do in
Loire Valley

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Our most recommended things to do in Loire Valley

Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

1. Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

Enjoy access to Chenonceau site and its wonderful gardens. This unusual castle was built on a bridge across the Cher River. To learn more about castle history, audio guides are available in 16 languages. The castle is located near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire department. Chenonceau castle, also known as the Chateau des Dames, is famous for the great heroines who lived there, such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis, and for the beauty of its Renaissance gardens. Chenonceau castle was also used as a military hospital during the First World War. Discover the rich history of this incredible fortress.

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From Paris: Fairytale Loire Castles with Wine Tasting

2. From Paris: Fairytale Loire Castles with Wine Tasting

From Paris, head to Château de Chambord. Disney fans will find this castle’s turrets familiar; it was the inspiration for the castle in "Beauty and the Beast." Though originally conceived as a royal hunting lodge, it was built to a scale that must be seen to be believed. Learn all about the castle’s captivating history from your guide, before getting your own chance to explore. Climb a staircase supposedly designed by Da Vinci, enjoy spectacular turret-framed rooftop views, and glimpse wild deer around the grounds. Having worked up an appetite, get back on the bus and continue on to the next stop: the quaint town of Blois. Take some free time to enjoy lunch (at your own expense) in one of the restaurants located around the beautiful and vibrant Square Louis XII. Alternatively, grab a bite and visit the royal Blois Castle on your own, notable for its unique mix of medieval Gothic and neoclassical Renaissance architecture. Last but not least is the elegant Château de Chenonceau. The chapel, bedrooms, and magnificent vaulted kitchens are still furnished and decorated from times gone by, showing off the castle’s many sweeping stone carvings. Don’t miss the impressive main hall, which spans the river Cher, or the gardens cultivated by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici — 2 of the famous owners that earned Chenonceau the nickname "the Ladies’ Château." After a guided tour, continue exploring or indulge in a wine tasting in the castle’s vaulted wine cellar. Your tour leader will entertain you between stops with insights and stories about the countryside and the nobility who once reigned over the region. Three uniquely beautiful French castles and a wine tasting, all amid the stunning scenery of the Loire Valley — this memorable day trip from Paris will delight all the senses.

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Clos Lucé Castle Ticket: Da Vinci Home & Science Museum

3. Clos Lucé Castle Ticket: Da Vinci Home & Science Museum

Learn about the history of Leonardo da Vinci and his masterpieces (including the Mona Lisa) during his time in France at the Château du Clos Lucé. Invited by King Francis 1st of France, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy and took up residence at the Château du Clos Luce in the autumn of 1516. Appointed "first painter, engineer and architect to the King", Da Vinci served the monarch with his talents, working tirelessly on numerous projects and imagining plans for the "ideal château". With this admission ticket, you will receive access to both the castle and park. The visit will begin in the bedroom of Leonardo da Vinci, the site where Leonardo died in 1519 at the age of 67. From the window, you can see the Saint Hubert Chapel at the Royal Castle of Amboise, which is the burial place of Da Vinci. Whilst in the Leonardo da Vinci Park, you will learn about the artistic creations and major inventions of the artist. You will enter the imaginary world of Da Vinci, seeing the world as he did in these unique grounds.

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Loire Valley: Château Royal d'Amboise Entrance Ticket

4. Loire Valley: Château Royal d'Amboise Entrance Ticket

Ditch the hassle of long lines and start exploring the Château Royal d’Amboise. A place of residence for French royalty from the 15th to 19th centuries, the castle has hosted a long list of famous renaissance figures — most notably, Leonardo da Vinci, whose tomb stands in one of the Château’s chapels.  Experience a classic expression of French luxury as you wander the balconies, terraced gardens, and broad roofs, all providing a panoramic view of the famous Loire River. Explore the grounds and buildings further with the Histopad, a tablet-based experience that grants visitors a look back in time to the château in its heyday. The HistoPad technology offers a spectacular way to enrich your discovery of the royal château of Amboise. It includes 3D recreations of the Loggia, the interior decoration, and recreations of scenes from life at court. 2020 exhibitions • “Travel like the kings.” In 2020, the magic of travel and roaming will be celebrated at the royal château of Amboise. In particular, with the exhibition: “On the route of the traveling princes”, on display throughout the entire season.

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Château of Azay-le-Rideau Skip-the-Line Ticket

5. Château of Azay-le-Rideau Skip-the-Line Ticket

The Château of Azay-le-Rideau was built in the heart of Loire Valley during the reign of François I, and offers all the charm of the Renaissance. It is a 16th-century architectural masterpiece, rising up from an island formed by the Indre River, and is situated within a romantic 19th-century park. The château boasts a colorful history. In 1510, Gilles Berthelot acquired the seigneurie and fortress of Azay, rebuilding it in the sumptuous Italian style that was popular at the time. After Berthelot's relative Semblança, who had been aiding Berthelot in building his wealth in the region, was accused of embezzlement and executed, Berthelot fled. The château was then given by François I to his companion-in-arms, Antoine Rafin, and his descendants, who lived there until the 18th century, after which it fell into the possession of the Marquis Charles de Biencourt, responsible for the château's beautiful gardens. After benefiting from an exceptional restoration program, this jewel of the Loire Valley will be revealing its finery in the summer of 2017. The château also offers a new experience: new highlighted collections, a dream-like tour path, mobile tour guide applications, the romantic park and so on. Not to be missed: the living room and dining room of the Marquis of Biencourt (19th century décors), the atmospheric staging of the kitchen, the new interpretation area. The sight is protected by UNESCO, and features gothic motifs, a royal apartment used by Louis XIII in 1619, stunning Renaissance ornamentation and façades that overlook the lakes, with apartments embellished with overhanging corner turrets. Visit before September 19, 2021 and see the temporary exhibition DE CHANTILLY À AZAY-LE-RIDEAU. LE RETOUR DES PORTRAITS DE LA RENAISSANCE. This exhibition includes 36 portraits painted between the rule of Charles VII and Louis XIV, and includes a portarit of Catherine de Médicis and her children.

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Small-Group Loire Valley Castles Full-Day Tour from Paris

6. Small-Group Loire Valley Castles Full-Day Tour from Paris

Discover some of the finest castles of the Loire Valley on a small group, full-day tour from Paris. Transfer by air-conditioned minibus to the castles of Chenonceau, Chambord, and Amboise. Walk in the flower gardens of the Château de Chenonceau, and gaze at the delicate arches that cross the Cher River. Learn the extraordinary history of the building, which was run by women for much of its time in existence. Continue to Chambord to investigate the largest castle of the Loire Valley. Marvel at the extravagant architecture and double spiraled staircase of the royal Château de Chambord. See the hundreds of columns and spires that adorn its roof. End the day at the former home of King Francois I, and see the tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci at Amboise village and the Château d’Amboise. Confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it was a favorite royal residence and extensively rebuilt.

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Amboise: Caves Ambacia Visit and Wine Tasting

7. Amboise: Caves Ambacia Visit and Wine Tasting

Discover the original wines and matured vintages on offer at the house Duhard, founded in 1874. Visit their 16th-century troglodyte caves facing the Loire near the historical center of Amboise and enjoy a wine tour experience in 2 parts. First, awaken and stimulate your 5 senses and learn more about wine on the Sensorial tour. Then, travel through 150 years of wine history on the Vintages Odyssey tour of  Les Caves Ambacia (formerly Les Caves Duhard) wine collection. Follow your tour with a tasting of 3 wines with a sommelier, with an optional food and wine pairing also available. After, enjoy the delicatessen boutique and purchase wines with shipping available worldwide. Tours in English take place at 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM. Tours in French take place at 11 AM, 3 PM, and 5 PM.

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From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

8. From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of Parisian life and enter into the Garden of France. Stroll the walkways of the French monarchs, hear tales of royal love affairs and kidnappings, and behold the beauty of the Loire Valley's exquisite Chateaux.  First stop of the day is Château de Chambord; the perfect example of French Renaissance architecture, this remarkable structure was built by King François I between 1519-1547 and is the largest château in the Loire Valley. Who designed this masterpiece is still in dispute, and with contenders including Leonardo da Vinci, its sights are sure not to disappoint. Next up is the charming Château de Chenonceau, a true fairy tale castle set picturesquely on the Cher River, its history and character has been shaped by the women who've inhabited it. The site of the first ever French fireworks display, Chenonceau is really one to fall in love with. You can stay at each château for around an hour to explore inside, and see the gardens at your own pace. At the end of the day, you will leave Chenonceau at 6:15 PM to arrive back in Paris at around 8:00 PM.

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Angers: Château d'Angers Fast Track Ticket

9. Angers: Château d'Angers Fast Track Ticket

With fast-track access, get right into this medieval castle and see the world's biggest and oldest collection of medieval tapestries. Get amazing city views from over the castle walls too! With 17 stunning and looming towers, the Château d'Angers was founded in the 9th century by the Counts of Anjou and expanded in the 13th century. Step back in time to the refined court life in France. Wander through the magnificent traditional gardens and out to the castle moats, walk along the wall for panoramic city views. Don't miss your chance to see the world-famous Apocalypse Tapestry. Woven in 1375 of 14th-century life in France, is one of the world's best tapestries. Spanning 103m in length and housed in its own impressive room, it's the largest woven work in medieval history.

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From Amboise: Chambord and Chenonceau Tour with Lunch

10. From Amboise: Chambord and Chenonceau Tour with Lunch

Travel back to the days of the French Renaissance on a full-day tour of the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Enjoy a relaxing lunch in a family-owned, and still occupied, chateau. Meet your guide in Amboise and travel to Chateau Chenonceau. Stroll through the manicured gardens named after Catherine de Médicis and Diane de Poitiers, the chateau's former residents. Appreciate the refined architecture and feminine influence in each room and see precious antiques and flower arrangements. For lunch, enjoy a meal served at an off-the-beaten-path location, hosted by the French Countess who lives there. Taste local food in one of the smallest of all the Loire Valley castles. Then, continue to Chateau Chambord. Discover a glorious work of art and architecture as your guide selects the most emblematic rooms to visit. Hear memorable anecdotes as they point out hidden details. Get breathtaking views of the castle during a coffee break in Chambord Park before returning to Amboise in the evening.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Loire Valley

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What people are saying about Loire Valley

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,469 reviews

Aún cuando a algunos les parecerá un lugar lejano de Paris, Chambord es un sitio esencial de Francia. Su arquitectura, jardines y la tranquilidad que se respira son insuperables. Creo que puedo sugerir, sin temor a equivocarme, que debe ser uno de al menos dos lugares a visitar en esta zona del Valle de Loire. El segundo: Blois. Con respecto al Castillo, está lleno de sorpresas arquitectónicas contiene espacios y paisajes bellísimos y pasar un rato debe ser un must do para cualquier persona que, con suficiente tiempo, visite Francia! Destacan las escaleras, los torreones, las vistas desde los jardines y desde lo alto del palacio, hay muchísimo que ver allí. Al menos un par de horas tranquilas y muchas ganas de caminar, subir, bajar, explorar. Es genial!

The guided tour was well planned, the guides were very entertaining, informative and helpful. They just added soul to the trip. The location of course was beautiful and everything was well managed. I wish we had more time at each place, but I do understand the constraints of a day trip. The schedule was properly followed, the bus was extremely comfortable with panoramic glasses. We had a wonderful time on the trip, totally recommend it to everyone.

Lovely tour guide! Her first language was English, so communication was excellent. She was very well educated (studied history and got an MBA), was clearly passionate about her job and shared many interesting facts and stories along the way. Would definitely recommend, especially if you can't drive.

We arrived at 9:30 in the morning as the crowds are smaller then. Plan for at least two hours to se everything. The skip the line did save us a stop at the ticket line and was worth it. Be sure to pay for your parking before you leave the grounds and head for the parking lot.

Ady (sorry if I misspelled) our guide was amazing! Super professional, interesting and sweet and really made our day better. The itinerary was great. I highly recommend :)