CHATEAUX OF THE LOIRE | ITINERARY : Popular Itineraries
Some examples of day trips,
1. Château of Chambord - Château of Cheverny - Château of Blois
Discovery of the Sologne and châteaux of Loir-et-Cher : around 50 Km, round-trip from Blois.
If you are interested in architecture : don't hesitate to book for a guided tour of the world-famous château of Chambord.
The château of Cheverny is known as Marlinspike Hall (château de Moulinsart) in Hergé comic books : The Adventures of Tintin.
(See also : The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn ; director : Steven Spielberg, in 2011)
The town of Blois and its castle are the meeting point of all lovers of French history. (see also the "Rendez-vous de l'Histoire").
Château of Chambord
Beware ! We suggest to start this day trip with Chambord. Do not forget to check the opening times of this beautiful French castle and more particularly in autumn, winter or spring : it may be closed at 5 pm. Another practical Information : last entry is half an hour before closing. But of course 30 minutes will never be enough to visit such a huge edifice.
2. Château of Chenonceau - Royal Château of Amboise - Clos-Lucé / Chaumont-sur-Loire
A full day driving tour of the east of Touraine, around 70 km, round-trip from the city of Tours (with Chaumont-sur-Loire : 100 km).
Château of Chenonceau
Chenonceau is certainly the most popular castle in Loire Valley : called the "château of the Ladies" (château des Dames) it is the most visited château after Versailles. If you are interested in French history, architecture or if you like gardens, you might be one of the lovers of Chenonceau !
The château royal d'Amboise and the Loire river
Amboise is a charming little town located in the heart of Loire Valley. Italian visitors are very numerous at the royal château of Amboise : but they are not the only one ! People come from all the world to meditate at Leonardo da Vinci's grave. Children also enjoy the visit of the manor house of Clos-Lucé (near the royal château) with the amazing machines of Leonardo da Vinci...
Gardeners and lovers of contemporary art might prefer to have a walk in the gardens of Chaumont-sur-Loire.
3. Château and gardens of Villandry - Château of Azay-le-Rideau - Langeais / Ussé // Chinon / Le Rivau
A full day driving tour of the west of Touraine, around 105 km, departure and arrival city : Tours.
Château and gardens of Villandry
The world-famous gardens of Villandry are located only 15 kilometers away from Tours : it will certainly be one of the most beautiful time of your holidays in Loire Valley. The château is also open to visitors. The inside visit leads to the terraces and the "belvedere" with a very nice view. Don't forget to take a look at the useful brochure at the entrance.
Château of Azay-le-Rideau
The château of Azay-le-Rideau is set on an island of the Indre, a small tributary of the Loire. Architects may consider Azay-le-Rideau as one of the most beautiful château ever built in France. A real "wonder of the first French Renaissance".
It will certainly be difficult to choose between Langeais, a castle built in the Middle Ages - nicely furnished - with draw-bridge and old keep, Ussé the château of Sleeping Beauty, the fortress of Chinon and the castle of Le Rivau. Since we can't visit four castles more in a day, a short stop for a picture or lunch would be a nice pretext to spend a little more time near these beautiful places.
Plan your trip :
Please see our other suggested itineraries and themed Tours : off the beaten path...
The map of Loire valley is also very helpful.