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Top Castles in the Loire Valley

Top Castles in the Loire Valley

France’s Loire Valley is littered with fairy-tale châteaux, a legacy of the many noble families who settled here because of its strategic riverside setting and proximity to Paris. See below for the most show-stopping castles in the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Loire Valley.

Chambord Castle (Château de Chambord)

Constructed by François I in the early 16th century on the site of a much more modest hunting lodge, this 440-room château is one of the biggest and most spectacular in France, offering curious visitors a glimpse into the extravagant lifestyle of French aristocrats of old. 

Blois Castle (Château de Blois)

This riverside castle showcases the progression of architectural trends through different epochs in its four distinct wings, which span the 13th to 17th centuries. Having played host to seven French kings, it has a storied history, as well as as an impressive on-site fine arts museum. 

Chenonceau Castle (Château de Chenonceau)

This iconic château is immediately recognizable by its arched bridge, which crosses the Cher River. Some of Europe’s most famous royal faces, including Diane de Poitiers, Mary Queen of Scots, and Catherine de Médici, have connections to the site. 

Cheverny Castle (Château de Cheverny)

While many Loire Valley châteaux have been dramatically altered and redecorated over the years, this elegant classical-style mansion has barely changed since its early 17th-century construction. The Hurault family, who have owned it for centuries, have preserved a sumptuous style of the interior, which still features original period furnishings.

Clos Lucé Castle (Château de Clos Lucé)

This 15th-century mansion is famous for having played host to Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, who resided here from 1516 until his death in 1519. See where da Vinci worked, ate, and slept, and examine models of his groundbreaking inventions.

Amboise Castle (Château d’Amboise)

Connected to Château de Clos Lucé by an underground tunnel, this royal retreat is said to house Leonardo da Vinci’s remains. Its elevated position affords wonderful views of the town and the river. 

Azay-le-Rideau Castle (Château d’Azay-le-Rideau)

Though it’s not the biggest or grandest in the valley, this Renaissance-style gray stone castle is certainly eye-catching, set on an island on the Indre River. From a distance, it almost appears to float on the water. A favorite of occasional guest Honoré de Balzac, it is also known for its grand central staircase and its collection of 16th- and 17th-century Flemish tapestries.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Loire Valley Day Tour: Chambord & Chenonceau including lunch at a private castle

Loire Valley Day Tour: Chambord & Chenonceau including lunch at a private castle

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102
Visit two of the most renowned castles in the Loire Valley—aka French château country—on a day trip from Tours. Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord are known for their Renaissance architecture and picturesque riverside settings. With a knowledgeable guide, enjoy views from little-known panoramic spots, and hear historical details and amusing anecdotes about the French kings and other nobles who have lived here. As a bonus, enjoy a relaxing lunch away from the crowds at a private, family-owned château.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$202.88
From
$202.88
Taking safety measures

Day tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Amboise, Da Vinci Clos Lucé & Caves Ambacia

Day tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Amboise, Da Vinci Clos Lucé & Caves Ambacia

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Combine visits to 2 major Loire Valley chateaux on this small-group excursion from Tours, France. With an intimate group of 8 people or fewer, visit le Clos Lucé, the Amboise Royal Castle, and Chenoceau for wine tastings. Skip-the-line entrance to the wineries is included.
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  • 9 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$232.68
From
$232.68
Taking safety measures

Day tour of Chateaux of Azay le Rideau Langeais Villandry, organic wine tasting

Day tour of Chateaux of Azay le Rideau Langeais Villandry, organic wine tasting

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7
The historic castles of Azay-le-Rideau, Rivau, and Villandry are three of the Loire Valley’s most popular attractions, but they’re spread throughout the region and hidden in the hillsides. This full-day bus tour makes it possible to check them all off your list in a day, and includes a tasting of Loire Valley wines. Delve into centuries of Loire Valley history with a guide and gaze out over the majestic Loire River.
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  • 9 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$208.82
From
$208.82
Taking safety measures

Loire Valley Day Tour : Chambord, Chenonceau and a Family-Owned Chateau

Loire Valley Day Tour : Chambord, Chenonceau and a Family-Owned Chateau

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34
The UNESCO-listed landscapes of the Loire Valley are home to some of France’s most magnificent chateaux and this full-day tour from Amboise visits three in one day. Marvel at the Renaissance architecture and beautiful gardens of the Château de Chambord; visit the family-owned Chateau de Villesavin for lunch; and end at the fairy-tale Château de Chenonceau.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.84
From
$159.84
Taking safety measures

Loire Valley Chateau d'Azay le Rideau Skip the Line Entrance Ticket

Loire Valley Chateau d'Azay le Rideau Skip the Line Entrance Ticket

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74
The Chateau d'Azay le Rideau is one of the most beautiful of the Loire Valley castles, but it can get crowded in peak season. Ensure instant access with a pre-paid skip-the-line ticket and enjoy a self-guided tour of the magnificent Renaissance castle, which dates back to the 16th century.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$13.72
From
$13.72
Taking safety measures

Chateau Gaillard Royal Domain Admission Ticket

Chateau Gaillard Royal Domain Admission Ticket

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98
Discover one of the hidden gems of the Loire Valley when you book tickets to the Royal Domain of Château Gaillard. Commissioned by King Charles VIII in the 15th century, this chateau is known for its Italianate inspiration, and for its sprawling gardens, which were planted with the first orange trees in France. Book tickets to secure your admission to the picturesque landmark; entry also includes a free guided tour (offered in French).
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$16.71
From
$16.71