The 7 Wonders of the Loire Valley: Places You Ought To Visit

The Loire Valley is a must-see itinerary when you want to discover France and its history. After a trip to the capital, to discover the beautiful Parisian monuments, you have to travel two hours by car or one hour by TGV (InOui line) to arrive in the country of castles.

The visit reveals to you an important part of the history of France, notably the medieval and Renaissance periods through its heritage. The Loire Valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beautiful monuments and castles. It is the only place to have such a concentration of castles in the world.

Indeed, there are 3000 of them (from medieval fortresses to beautiful Renaissance residences) all along the valley, precisely on 250 kilometers between the towns of Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire. There is nothing like this tour to immerse yourself in the history of France, in this place once called the Valley of the Kings.

How to visit the castles of the Loire Valley?

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To admire the beauty of the monuments of the Loire Valley, the tourist agencies propose various circuits:

  • Traveling by train for a panoramic view of the whole landscape
  • The river cruise offers a beautiful view of some castles located on the navigable parts of the site.
  • The best way to visit the valley is by car, allowing access to all sites.

The panoramic view of these wonders is certainly magical and dazzling, but nothing compares to a visit to the site to admire up close the beauty of these centuries-old masterpieces.

1. The must-see castles of the Loire Valley

All the castles in the valley are beautiful, but you certainly won’t have time to visit them all. Here are some of the must-see castles of the Valley of the Kings:

2. Chenonceau Castle

Everyone agrees that the famous Château des Dames, as it is affectionately called, is the most beautiful in the Loire Valley. Located 30 kilometers east of Tours, it is built on the Cher River. Five women have, one after the other, built, embellished, restored, and safeguarded it during a little less than 4 centuries. The monument welcomes about 800 000 visitors each year.

3. The castle of Chambord

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The Chambord Castle is the most imposing in the Loire Valley with its 426 rooms, enclosed forest park, and huge hunting reserve. It is among the most famous castles in the world. In 2019, its attendance reached 1,130,900 visitors.

4. The castle of Cheverny

You can admire the permanent exhibition dedicated to Tintin. Built-in the 17th century, the castle is most famous for having inspired the cartoonist Hergé for his castle Moulinsard of Captain Haddock of the Adventures of Tintin. It is also famous for the long and beautiful driveway of 6 kilometers leading to the castle. It is open to the public without interruption throughout the year.

5. The castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire

The castle that stands between Blois and Amboise is known for its gardens. It welcomes from May to November, since 1992, the “International Festival of Great Gardens”.

6. The castle of Amboise

This royal castle is also worth a visit. It is infamous for its famous “balcony of the hanged”, telling a dark episode of the history of France. You can also visit the tomb where the presumed remains of Leonardo da Vinci lie in the Saint-Hubert chapel.

7. The Royal Castle of Blois

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Besides the evolution of its architectural style during 4 centuries and its festival of visual and sound effects which is absolutely to discover, you can visit its collection of museum pieces, exposed in the rooms of the castle. This is only a small part of the region’s vast cultural wealth and varied heritage.

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