Home Culture The best chateaux of the Loire

The best chateaux of the Loire

by Anna 1st December 2017

There are more than 1,000 fairytale chateaux in the Loire. And with so many to choose from where do you start? Well, that’s why we’re here. We’ve recommended a few worth exploring if you can’t visit them all. Which you probably can’t. Discover fantastic architecture, breath-taking gardens and even fairy tales come true…

Château de Chambord – one of the biggest with must-see grounds

Château de Chambord (main pic above) is one of the most distinctive châteaux in the Loire. This extravagant, Renaissance château was built between 1519 and 1685 and is breathtaking in scale and surrounded by a vast forest. Wander the grounds while the kids try to solve riddles, and if they correctly discover the mystery word they can claim a reward. Don’t miss out on the gardens – they’ve just undergone a major renovation which took 14 years’ historical research and cost €3.5m!

Stay at: Parc de Fierbois

Château d’ Ussé – great for the kids

The inspiration for the tale of Sleeping Beauty, this chateau is a real delight. Find three fairy godmothers and other Sleeping Beauty characters in the unusually-shaped Knight’s Dungeon, which plays a pivotal role in the story. Children can discover the château with a fun treasure hunt “From Tales to Fairy Tales”!

Stay nearby at: Le Parc de Fierbois

Château D’Azay-le-Rideau – great for photography

One of the earliest Renaissance châteaux, with its fairy-tale turrets and spires, Azay displays the transition from Gothic to the Renaissance style. Built on an island between two branches of the River Indre this charming château offers particularly great photo opportunities.

Stay nearby at: Le Parc de Fierbois

Château des Vaults – wine and a Château, what’s not to love?

Château de Vaults is an organic winery that forms part of a World Heritage site in a setting renowned for its high-quality Chenin Blanc. Explore with a self-guided tour where you can admire the fantastic location and finish with a wine tasting. And if you’re bringing the kids, they won’t feel left out with their own grape juice tasting!

Stay nearby at: Domaine de la Brèche

Chinon Château – one of the oldest

This imposing chateau has overlooked the Loire countryside for over 1,000 years. It was originally a fortified house that stood on the site of an even older French-Roman castle. It’s such an important spot that it also became the residence for Henry II in the 12th century – who was King of both England and Anjou (the historical province that overlooks the Loire river). Immerse yourself in history with a guided tour, self-guided tour and even an iPad tour. And for a fun family day out, try their escape game available for kids from aged 12 plus. A snack bar and gift shop are also available.

Stay nearby at: Domaine de la Brèche

Château de Villandry – unmissable gardens!

The Château of Villandry is the last of the great chateaux of the Loire built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. Now fully restored and furnished and featuring award winning gardens, one of the best examples of the French château-style. Check out the topiary! Try to visit in the late spring or summer when they’re in glorious full bloom.

Stay at: Parc de Fierbois

Château de Blois – the one in the middle of a city

With 100 bedrooms, Blois was the residence of several French kings, and the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans. It didn’t end well. A pleasing hotchpotch of Classic, Renaissance, and Gothic styles, Blois is extravagant, otherworldly, and over the top. Just how we like our Châteaux. The summer-long sound and light show is truly spectacular. Don’t miss it.

Stay at: Parc de Fierbois

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