Nestled in the heart of France, the Loire Valley is steeped in natural beauty.
Known as the “Garden of France,” this scenic and storied region is famed for its breathtaking châteaux, lush vineyards, and enchanting landscapes.
Spring is among the best times to visit France’s beautiful Loire Valley. While most international travelers will arrive in Paris and trek to the region by rail or automobile. We can fly directly into the nearby Aéroport Tours-Val de Loire (LFOT). Just minutes from some of the Loire Valley’s most well-known sights and destinations.
These are some of our favorite places to visit in Loire Valley:
Château de Chambord: A Renaissance Masterpiece
Begin your Loire Valley adventure at the grand Château de Chambord—one of the most recognizable castles in the world. Built in the 16th century as a hunting lodge for King François I, this architectural masterpiece showcases French Renaissance style with its intricate façade, grand staircases, and ornate towers.
Wander through the château’s lavish rooms and explore the gardens, immersing yourself in the opulence of the French monarchy. Don’t forget to climb the famous double-helix staircase, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, for a breathtaking view of the surrounding estate.
Château de Chenonceau: The Ladies’ Castle
Next, visit the enchanting Château de Chenonceau. Known as the “Ladies’ Castle” for its history of female owners, including a King’s mistress, a farmer’s wife, and a wealthy merchant’s daughter. Gracefully spanning the River Cher, this architectural wonder features a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Stroll through the exquisitely decorated rooms, marvel at the fine art collection, and then meander through the gardens designed by former owners Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Make sure to visit the château’s flower workshop, where you witness the creation of the endlessly replenished floral arrangements that adorn each of the castle’s rooms.
Savor the Flavors of the Loire
The Loire Valley is renowned for its world-class vineyards and vintners. And no visit to the region would be complete without tasting some of the finest French wines. Head to the charming town of Vouvray, known for its exceptional white wines from the Chenin blanc grape.
Visit local wineries such as Domaine Huet and Domaine Vincent Carême to savor crisp, refreshing sparkling and sweet, luscious dessert wines. Learn about the winemaking process, explore the vineyards, and indulge in the local terroir.
After exploring Vouvray, venture to the nearby town of Chinon for a wine-tasting picnic on the grounds of Chateau du Petit Thouars. Or embark on a guided wine-tasting tour of some of the most notable vineyards in the area. Many wineries and vineyards offer English-speaking or multilingual tours. So you won’t miss a minute of the history and traditions behind some of the world’s best wines.
Discover Château de Villandry’s Gardens
The Château de Villandry may be known for its Renaissance architecture. But its incredibly manicured gardens steal the show. Stroll through six meticulously designed terraces, each with themes such as the romantic Love Garden and the tranquil Water Garden. With vibrant colors and fragrant aromas, these gardens offer an extraordinary sensory experience.
Cycle through the Loire Valley
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Loire Valley is by cycling through its picturesque landscapes. Rent a bike and explore the region’s charming villages, verdant vineyards, and beautiful countryside. The Loire à Vélo cycling route offers more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) of well-marked paths, suitable for all levels of cyclists. Whether you’re an avid rider or just want to enjoy the sights at your own pace, this is a perfect way to experience the magic of the Loire Valley.