The Ultimate Guide to Visiting The Loire Valley in France

Garden of France | Loire Valley

Popularly known as the 'Garden of France', Loire Valley is one of the top attractions to visit in France. The valley is not only famous for its wines and food but also for the castles, architecture, and the historic towns that one can visit here. From Amboise to Angers, there are many brilliant towns their castles to explore here. In 2000, Loire Valley became a part of the UNESCO Heritage site list to preserve the history and culture of the region.

Where Is The Loire Valley?

Why Visit The Loire Valley?

About Loire Valley
  • Home to hundreds of beautiful Renaissance-style castles, Loire Valley has been a part of the UNESCO Heritage Site list since December 2000.
  • The cobbled historic towns, cities, and chateaus are some of the best things about Loire Valley attracting tourists and history buffs worldwide.
  • Many Loire Valley Castles have beautiful gardens decorated with vibrant flower gardens, fruit and vegetable patches, and fountains.
  • Another important reason to visit Loire Valley, France, is that it is home to vineyards that make world-class wines. From dry white wine to sparkling wine, you will find a wide variety of wines here to suit every palate.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Loire Valley?

Loire Valley is in central France so, it experiences a hot climate in the summer season and a cold climate in the winter season. Summer season is the peak season so, Loire Valley Castles tend to be a little crowded. Most of the gardens and the castles would not be open in the winter season due to renovations. If you wish to experience the Loire Valley at its best, then plan a visit in the spring, autumn, or late summer season. There are fewer tourists in the summer and autumn seasons, allowing you to explore the castles in peace. 

Loire Valley Castles

Domaine du Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire Loire Valley
Château de Chambord Loire Valley
Visit Château d'Azay-le-Rideau Loire Valley
Château de Clos Lucé Loire Valley
Visit Château d'Amboise Loire Valley
Château de Chenonceau Loire Valley
Visit Château d'Angers
Château Royal de Blois Loire Valley

History Of The Loire Valley

Loire Valley is rich in history and culture, and due to its material riches, it was fought over by a large number of adversaries. From Romans to Atila the Hun, everyone tried to take control over the land and enjoy the riches with it. 

The region is said to have been formed in 52BC after the conquer by Julius Caesar, but Emperor Augustus is responsible for bringing stability and peace to the valley. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, medieval fortresses were built in the Loire Valley as a defense against the invaders. In 1516, the art-loving Francois I brought Leonardo da Vinci whose Italian influence can be observed in the Loire valley chateaux and gardens.

During the time of the French Renaissance, the royal court was established in the Loire Valley. It was a strategic location for trade, and the beautiful, lush landscape attracted the French aristocrat to build magnificent castles here for pleasure.

Loire Valley Towns & Villages

About Loire Valley

Journey back in time as you visit the charming cities and the historical towns of Loire Valley, France, that have preserved their authenticity over the years. Loire Valley is located in the administrative region, Centre-Val de Loire, and the official capital of the region is Orleans. 

This region is home to architectural wonders such as Chateau de Chenonceau and Chateau de Chambord and also has historic towns of Amboise, Loches, and Chinon. The best cathedrals in this region can be found in the cities of Orleans, Bourges, and Chartres. Centre-Val de Loire has a diverse landscape with many charming villages and historic towns, a few of which have their own chateau and garden. Visit the small villages for an authentic French experience or stroll around the medieval towns of Loire Valley.

Loire Valley Regions

Centre-Val de Loire, also known as the Centre Region happens to be one of the administrative regions of France. This region includes most of the Loire including the center half of the region. Centre-Val de Loire can be divided into six departments Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher and Loiret.

  • Cher: Named after the river Cher, it includes major castles like Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil, Château de Culan,Château du Grand-Besse, Château de Pesselières, along with other castles that are currently in ruins or remains in fragments.
  • Eure-et-Loir: Named after the rivers of Eure and Loir rivers, this region mostly includes Château d'Anet, Château de Châteaudun, Château de Levesville, and Château de Maintenon, all of which were rebuilt and repurposed in different periods of history.
  • Indre-et-Loire This west-central region of France is named after the river Indre Loire. It houses some of the most interesting castles in Loire Valley history that have been restored for use like, Château d'Amboise, Château de La Celle-Guenand, Château de Chinon, Château de la Guerche, Château de Langeais, Château de Montpoupon, Château du Rivau and several others. Interestingly most of the castles of this region are still intact or have been rebuilt.
  • Indre: This central region of France is named after the river Indre. It houses some of the most interesting castles in Loire Valley history that have been restored for use like, Château d'Ingrandes and Château du Mont, while several other castles remain in ruins.
  • Loir-et-Cher: With two rivers crossing the region, the Loir in its northern part and the Cher in its southern part, it has few famous castles like Domaine du Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre, Château de Matval and Château du Moulin, while other castles remain in ruins.
  • Loiret: Named after the river Loiret, Château de Bellegarde, Château de Chamerolles, Château de Meung-sur-Loire and Château de Sully-sur-Loire are some of the castles that remains intact, or have been rebuilt or repurposed for use.

Know Before You Go: Plan Your Visit To Loire Valley

Getting There
Food & Drinks
About Loire Valley

Location: France

  • By Car: Duration: 2hr 52 min via A10
    Cost: €140-€150
  • By Bus: Duration: 3 hours
    Cost: Around €10
  • By Train: Duration: 1 hour 14min via TGV trains
    Cost: €10 - €90
About Loire Valley

The central region of France, the area of Loire Valley in the Nantes and Anjou regions enjoys a temperate climate because of oceanic influences, while towns like Touraine enjoy a semi-continental climate. With mild rainfall in almost every season throughout the year, Loire Valley has pretty enjoyable and comfortable weather. This weather makes it suitable for vineyards and perfect for exploring the region without any discomfort.

Best Time To Visit: Considering the peak season and chilly winds in winter, the best time to visit Loire Valley would be during spring, that is from April to June, and in autumn, that is from September to October.

About Loire Valley

There are a bunch of famous restaurants in Loire Valley with bars and wineries offering premium drinks. Some of the best ones you can try are:

Crêperie La Dentelle: You can enjoy the outdoor seating option of this small restaurant located in the heart of Tours 

La Balade Gourmande - Epicerie Fine: If you are looking for a local taste made from premium ingredients grown locally, this is your go-to place

Restaurant Les Hauts de Loire: For those looking for fine dining options, this can be an excellent choice as reflected by the two Michelin Stars.

Le Chai at Manoir de Restigné: It has one of the best wine collections in the town.

There’s more to Loire Valley than just chateaus and gardens. Here’s a list of things you can do at Loire Valley:

  • Visit Terra Botanica: Botanical Park
  • Visit Parc Oriental de Maulévrier: Largest Oriental Garden in Europe
  • Enjoy rides at The Grand Elephant of Nantes: Fun ride for children
  • Visit Contemporary Creation Centre Olivier Debré: Contemporary Arts Gallery
  • Explore Chartres Cathedral: Cathedral
  • Visit Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional National Park

Things To Do At Loire Valley

Visit Loire Valley Chateaux

Visit Loire Valley Chateaux

Loire Valley Chateaux are famous all over the world as the valley is a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2000. These chateaux are the architectural heritage of the several historic towns in the Loire Valley, such as Amboise, Chinon, Blois, Angers, and more in France. There are over 300 Loire Valley chateaus ranging from fortified castles to lavish residences built in the later years. If you are fascinated by the history of the French aristocrats, then visit the Loire Valley chateaux to get a glimpse into their life and their cherished gardens.

Loire Valley Gardens

Explore Loire Valley Gardens

Loire Valley is popularly known as the Garden of France. The region experiences a mild climate has fertile soil, and is naturally watered by the rivers that make it easy to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers here. When Loire Valley castles were built, most of them included extensive gardens in the castle compounds for French royalty to enjoy. The formal French-style garden of Chateau de Villandry is one of the best french gardens. Domaine du Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire also hosts the International Garden Festival every year where landscape artists create beautiful gardens.

Loire Valley Vineyards

Visit Loire Valley Vineyards

Known for its world-famous vineyards, one of the top things to do is to taste the famous Loire Valley wines. Visitors can find vineyards from Nantes to Sancerre and can visit over 1000 vineyards in this region. Out of these, there are 400 accredited wine cellars here. You can meet the winemakers, tour around the vineyards, and taste the different types of Loire Valley wines. There are several entertaining wine events also held here that the wine connoisseurs can attend.

Loire Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Soar high above in the sky and enjoy a view of the lush forests, fairytale-castles, and vineyards from a hot air balloon. Start your hot air balloon tour from one of the chateaus such as Amboise, Chenonceau, Chinon Cheverny, or others. Enjoy a clear look at these architectural wonders from the sky and the wonderful landscape surrounding them. This tour is one of the best ways to witness the beauty of Loire Valley and all the castles and gardens here. 

Frequently Asked Questions Loire Valley

Q. Where is Loire Valley Located?

A. The Loire Valley is located in the center of northern France, in both the regions of Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire. It is southwest and around 207km from Paris.

Q. Why is Loire Valley important in France’s history?

A. Loire Valley is in a strategic location for trade, and the kings had built fortified castles here to defend against the invaders. During the time of the French Renaissance period, many French aristocrats shifted to the valley and built castles or turned fortified castles to reside in.

Q. How far is Loire Valley from Paris?

A. Loire Valley is a stretch of land that is at a distance of approximately 207 km from the city of Paris. Visit the Paris to Loire Valley page for more information.

Q. How to reach the Loire Valley from Paris?

A. The best way to reach from Paris to Loire Valley Castles is by taking a car as there are only a few train stations close to the cities here. Visit the Paris to Loire Valley page for more information.

Q. What is the largest castle in the Loire Valley?

A. Château de Chambord is the largest castle out of the more than 300 Loire Valley Castles that are available in this region. This castle was a hunting lodge for Francis I whose residence was Château de Amboise and Blois.

Q. What is Loire Valley famous for?

A. The Loire Valley is famous for its chateaux and a wide range of delicious wines. There are over 300 chateaus and 1000 vineyards to explore here.

Q. In which administrative region is Loire Valley located?

A. Loire Valley is located in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France.

Q. What are the departments of Centre-Val de Loire region?

A. Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher and Loiret are the six departments in which Loire Valley is divided.

Q. What is the best time to visit Loire Valley?

A. Considering the peak season and chilly winds in winter, the best time to visit Loire Valley would be during spring, that is from April to June, and in autumn, that is from September to October.