Great Journeys

The Loire Valley Tour

One of the most famous tourist destinations in France. The Loire Valley became popular with Parisian aristocrats and rich merchants during the French Renaissance period, with kings, queens and dukes also building palaces here. The whole area is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, with wonderful countryside scenery decorated with stunning chateaus, making it an ideal destination for a touring holiday.

Visit our Great Journeys page for a full itinerary of this tour, or check out our brief guide below.

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau

Chinon

Chinon, a small commune in the Loire Valley, is a beautiful little town and the perfect place to start a journey around the region. Wander the narrow, cobbled streets as they lead you up to the magnificent local chateau, a former residence of King Henry II. Alternatively, the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau resides on a nearby island, with a refined elegance that is unmistakably French, meanwhile the Chateau de Langeais is an imposing medieval fortress which was rebuilt as a chateau. Be sure to stop off at Pierre & Bertrand Couly’s winery nearby, and take a tour and a tasting session.

Chateau de Villandry

Tours

Tours is a pretty, old city with rich cultural heritage and a thriving, vibrant student population. It is also near the Chateau de Villandry, a famous Renaissance chateau which is built on the banks of the Loire River. With famously symmetrical and harmonious architecture and gorgeous ornamental gardens, it is a treat for any visitors. Just a short drive from Tours is Chateau de Chenonceau, or as it is sometimes known, ‘the ladies chateau’ as it is largely women who, over the centuries, have designed it, lived in it and shaped its destiny.

Chateau of Amboise

Amboise

Many of the Loire Valley chateaus have been called home by interesting people, but perhaps none quite as interesting as Amboise Chateau, which house Leonardo Da Vinci, who was brought over at the king’s request in 1516 and spent the last 3 years of his life living here. You can see his private quarters in the chateau, and even visit his burial site, right in front of the chateau.

Amboise

Blois

Perhaps the most magnificent chateau of them all, Blois’s Royal Chateau has been the home of 7 kings and 10 queens, and is now one of France’s most famous museums. Of all the Loire Valley chateaux, Blois is the most breathtaking, with 35,000 priceless works of art that adorn the walls of its Royal apartments and Fine Arts Museum.

These places are steeped in the memory of Leonardo da Vinci and inseparable from the history of France and its kings; evoking the troubled Middle Ages and the lavish Renaissance period.

France Tourism.

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