Loire Valley
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Loire Valley Culture & History

Chambord: Skip-the-Line Château de Chambord Ticket

1. Chambord: Skip-the-Line Château de Chambord Ticket

The Chambord Castle was created by François I, but not as a permanent residence, as the king only ever stayed for a few weeks. Chambord is well known because of its unique and sumptuous architecture, which is imbued with the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci. The castle is located in a large park of 5,000 hectares. The encircling walls are about 30 kilometers long. Chambord Castle is the most impressive castle in the Loire Valley. It has about 400 rooms, more than 80 staircases, 365 fireplaces, and an exceptional number of towers, high ceilings, pointed domes, and graceful pinnacles. You will be able to discover, among other sights, the renowned double-helix staircase: 2 staircases going around on the same side without crossing. To learn more about the Castle's history and architecture, you will have the possibility to watch a 20-minute film translated into 4 languages (English, Italian, Spanish and German). A free visitor guide is also available in 14 languages: French, English, German, Dutch, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

2. 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.

Amboise: Clos Lucé Castle, Da Vinci Park and Museum Ticket

3. Amboise: Clos Lucé Castle, Da Vinci Park and Museum Ticket

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.

From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

4. 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.  The 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. The last stop will be at Château de Cheverny, a 17th-century beauty furnished in great taste and with marvelous gardens. Enjoy free time for lunch (not included) during the day either at Chenonceau or Chambord. You’ll be back in Paris in the evening.

Amboise: Caves Ambacia Visit and Wine Tasting

5. 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.

From Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Bus with Wine Tasting

6. From Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Bus with Wine Tasting

Discover iconic castles on this bus day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley. Explore Château de Chambord on a guided tour. Have free time in the charming town of Bloise and have the chance to visit Blois Castle. Visit Château de Chenonceau for a guided tour and wine tasting experience. 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.

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

7. 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. Having undergone an extensive restoration program, 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.

From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

8. From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

Benefit from pick-up by air-conditioned, 8-seater van and head to the picturesque Château de Chenonceau with magnificent Renaissance gardens. Then, go to Amboise for a wine tour with tastings. Visit Les Caves Ambacia for a wine experience and sample some of the wines of the Loire Valley at a tasting with a sommelier. Lunch at leisure in Amboise. Continue to Chambord for a guided tour of the chateau. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 5.30 PM or Amboise at 6:00 PM. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 6 PM or Amboise at 6:45 PM.

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.

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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What people are saying about Loire Valley

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 135 reviews

We had the most gratefull surprise. The owner of the Cave and our tour guide speaked portuguese and made our tour very easy for us brazilians. Would totally recommend the experience

Definitely worth a visit. The Chateau is stunning, both inside and outside.

Beautiful castle and an astonishing garden. An educational experience!

We’ll done tour. I was super impressed with the gardens!

Very nice during the day and the evening show too!