Sunflowers in the Loire Valley

A journey through the Loire Valley is a step back in time, a chance to explore the enchantments of this historical region and the architecture of its chateaux. The Loire Valley is widely considered the heart and soul of France, and it’s easy to see why. Situated outside of Paris, this is a perfect getaway from the city. The mesmerizing seduction of the chateaux that dot the riverbanks beckons explorers from far and wide – and will leave your captivated long after you leave.

If you’re planning a trip, you’ll be spoilt for choice as you explore the region’s most beautiful chateaux. From the grand scale of Château de Chambord, with its iconic double spiral staircase, to the elegant Château de Chenonceau, straddling the Cher River, each chateau has a unique allure. Here are our top 10 chateaux to visit in the Loire Valley, each with its own flavor and charm.

Château de Chambord

At the top of the list, is the breathtaking Château de Chambord. The largest and most extravagant chateau in the Loire Valley, Chambord is renowned for its double-helix staircase, reputedly designed by the genius Leonardo da Vinci. Visitors can explore the ornate interiors, climb to the roof for panoramic views, or stroll through the expansive park and gardens.

Château de Chenonceau

Straddling the Cher River, the Château de Chenonceau is one of the most visited chateaux in France, and for good reason. Its elegant architecture, romantic gardens, and stunning location make it a must-see. The chateau is also known as the “Château des Dames” due to the involvement of several notable women in its history. Perhaps one of the most visually unique locales on this list, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the top chateaux to visit in the Loire Valley.

Château de Villandry

The Renaissance gardens of Château de Villandry capture the imagination, and it’s easy to get lost in the symmetrical fantasy of the ornamental parterres and fountains. The chateau itself is a mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture, making it a unique and intriguing site to explore.

Château of Amboise

Château of Amboise overlooks the gorgeous Loire River and boasts a rich and storied past. It has played host to several notable kings, including Louis XI and Charles VIII, and was a favorite of the legendary Leonardo da Vinci. Visitors can explore the stunning interiors, marvel at the panoramic views from the terrace, and visit the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci.

Château de Blois

This stunning chateau is an architectural dream, with a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and classical styles. Blois boasts an impressive collection of royal suites, state apartments, and staterooms, as well as remarkable facades. The chateau played an important role in French history, including witnessing the assassination of Henry III in 1589.

Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire

The dazzling chateau of Chaumont-sur-Loire features 5 hectares of gorgeous gardens, contemporary art exhibits, and stunning river views. Designed in a Gothic style, the chateau’s towering keep provides a reminder of earlier medieval times, while an impressive panoramic view from the balconies reminds visitors of the Loire’s grand spectacle.

Château de Cheverny

The Château de Cheverny is a fascinating chateau, with unique features that distinguish it from the others on this list. It’s known for its stunningly appointed rooms and furniture, including a collection of valuable 17th-century Gobelins tapestries. Visitors can take a peek into the upstairs private apartments, and visit the kennels of the renowned pack of 100 dogs that reside on the estate.

Château de Sully-sur-Loire

With its impressive moat and towers, the Château de Sully-sur-Loire is an inviting destination for travelers with a passion for history. Dating back to the early 14th century, the chateau boasts an interesting history, and a notable collection of tapestries and paintings. It is now a classified historical monument that offers a glimpse into the history of both France and the Loire Valley.

Château de Azay-le-Rideau

Set on the banks of the Indre River and surrounded by romantic gardens, the Château de Azay-le-Rideau is a striking example of early French Renaissance architecture. Its elegant façade and elaborate details make it an enchanting site to behold, and the interior is equally impressive. A picturesque bridge provides visitors with an idyllic photo opportunity.

Château de Fontainebleau

Located just outside the Loire Valley in the neighboring forest of Fontainebleau, the Château de Fontainebleau is well worth a visit. This stunning chateau served as a royal family residence for over seven centuries and is also where Napoleon Bonaparte signed his abdication in 1814. Its beautiful interiors and extensive gardens offer visitors a glimpse into French history and romance.

The Loire Valley is a destination that celebrates history, culture, and romance, and its chateaux provide a window into France’s captivating past. Follow our guide and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of these remarkable sites.

If you enjoyed this guide, be sure to join the waitlist for our inaugural list of curated travel guides, which are set to be published later this year.

Discover The Top Chateaux to Visit in The Enchanting Loire Valley


Jul 12, 2023