This past week I discovered a new region of France and toured some amazing châteaus in the Loire Valley. Previously home to French royalty and international nobles, most of the castles lie just about two hours outside Paris by car, though some are as little as an hour away. I’ll show you my favorites below, and a couple of insider tips as well!
Montée de l’Emir Abd-el-Kader, 37400 Amboise, France
This lovely château wasn’t on our original itinerary but we caught a glimpse of it from the highway and had to stop. Overlooking a rustic French village with stunning views of the Loire river, this castle dating back to the 9th century makes it easy to see why so many royals preferred this region over the years.
The castle offers guided or self-led tours, and is open nearly year round (closed some holidays) though I would highly recommend going during the summer to fully enjoy the gorgeous gardens and grounds. The grounds offer some breathtaking views of the village below where you can find a great variety of local restaurants open for lunch.
Château de Chenonceau
37150 Chenonceaux, France
This château is one of the more famous castles in all of France, and it’s easy to see why. Built upon the river Cher in the 16th century, the grounds and buildings have been renovated and added to by each inhabitant over the years, making it the masterpiece it is today. Another favorite of French royalty and nobles, the castle and grounds are extremely rich in history and were even temporarily used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War I!
Make sure you allow yourself enough time to properly visit the castle and the gardens (about 2-3 hours) and don’t miss out on their hidden gastronomic restaurant (l’orangerie) for lunch or dinner!
Hope you guys enjoyed!
It’s still the vacation month of August and we had a flight to catch, so we didn’t see as many châteaux as we would have liked, but definitely planned our itinerary for a trip back! The following places are on my bucket list now for sure:
– Château de Chambord
– Château Chaumont (International Garden Festival held here each year!)
– Château de Meung
– Château de Valençay