Loire Valley is home to 42 Castles scattering along a wealthy region just about 3 hours from Paris. From far, it looks like a fairy land with different stunning architect scattering along its so-called river. When it comes to the idea of how to enjoy the best of Loire valley, apart from its picturesque wineries, odd mountain-backed houses, these are the top 10 castles you should not miss :
Chambord, the stone giant of the Loire Valley
The Château de Chambord is one of the most impressive of all the Loire Valley. Built by King Francis I in the sixteenth century as a hunting lodge for the Solagne forest, the works lasted only fifteen years.
The exterior structure is a monster of stone, which explains why it is the largest castle in the entire Loire Valley. However, Chambord looks even more impressive because of the front lake where its facade is reflected, which is magnified by a green grove and an extensive meadow that surrounds the building, being perfect to enjoy the good weather and a bottle of wine French during the summer months.
Chenonceau, the castle of the ladies
Known as “the castle of the ladies”, the Château de Chenonceau is one of the most exquisite and elegant of the entire Loire Valley. Built on the river Cher by the Bohier family, the construction started in the 16th century after the demolition of a fortress and fortified mill, conserving only the keep that still welcomes all tourists at the entrance of the Castle Esplanade. Chenonceau is a real palace taken from a fairy tale.
The good part of its external structure is supported by stone arches that float on the water, giving it a totally dreamlike vision.
Cheverny, a castle inhabited in the Loire
The Château de Cheverny stands out among all those on the Loire route because it is the best furnished in the whole valley. Its beautiful white neoclassical facade and perfect dimensions contrast with the green wooded environment on which it is located. The King’s Room and the Great Room are the best-furnished rooms thanks to its lavish decoration, highlighting the 36 panels of the room that illustrate the adventures of Don Quixote. In addition, Cheverny inspired Hergé to paint the castle of Moulinsart, the occasional residence of the famous character Tintin.
Amboise, the symbol of French royal power
The Royal Castle of Amboise is a conglomeration of different styles and periods, as well as being a prominent enclave in the history of France, so it is a must stop for lovers of art, architecture, and history. Built on a medieval fortress on the rocky promontory of the city of Amboise, the castle still retains part of the old walls, giving it a more defensive than palatial view. The remodeling of the Renaissance style began with Charles VIII, who decided to adopt the château royal to new European tastes, although it was completely topped by Francisco I.
This is one of the Loire Castle I prefer to add on some day trips from Paris
Blois, another royal castle in the Loire Valley
If we have to describe the Château de Blois in any way, it is like a perfect synthesis between art and history, which served to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This castle has been the official residence of seven kings and ten queens of France and its styles span from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century. The visit allows you to get an idea of the life of the French Court during the Renaissance thanks to its richly decorated rooms. Although the castle suffered the consequences of the French Revolution, it was one of the first to be restored during the 19th century and nowadays it serves as a museum with more than 30,000 works of art distributed among its different rooms.
Chaumont, chivalrous ideal
Between the castles of Blois and Amboise is located the Château de Chaumont, also recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which is another essential of the route through the Loire Valley, being also one of the few that is They are in the middle of the river. The building is surrounded by romantic gardens, a multitude of flowers and even a space with carnivorous plants.