Going to the The Loire Valley was one of the most beautiful experiences for me and a chance to see some of the most stunning castles in the world.In my article Road trip to the Loire Valley, I’ll tell you all about the beautiful things I’ve seen there, but until then, here is my Top 10 with the best castles there:
Chateau de Chenonceau
– called the “Ladies Castle” was a constant reason of fight between the wife of king Henry II of France (Catherine de Medicis) and his mistress(Diane de Poitiers).The castle was built on the river Cher and is one of the most beautiful castles in the Loire Valley.Of course the castle has rooms and gardens belonging to the wife and its rival. In my opinion they were right to fight over it. What I also liked – you can buy the ticket also from an automatic machine, located close to the ticket office, if you don’t like to stand in line.The entrance fee for adults is 11€.
Chenonceau,one of the most beautiful castles in the world
Field of tulips at Chenonceau Castle
Chaumont – sur – Loire or Catherine de Medicis Castle
- is also one of my favorite castles, actually i was crazy about its external look and plus the landscaper did a really good job with the gardens . However I didn’t really like the interior that much and that’s why it has the second place in this top .This place has seen a lot of wizards brought by the queen here to foretell the future. I heard the castle is even more beautiful in the summer nights during the events called “Nuit Magiques”and “Jardins de lumiere “.Because my trip there was at the beginning of April I didn’t get to see the garden festival that is also held out here. It’s definitely a place I really a want to see again. The entrance fee for adults is around 10€.
Beautiful Castle in France – Chaumont sur Loire
Chaumont Castle France,main entrance
Chaumont sur Loire
Chateau Royal de Chambord
- as you can see from the pictures, this is no doubt the biggest and the most opulent castle on the Loire Valley. It has 426 rooms, 282 fireplaces and some people believe it is the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Its construction began around the year 1519. This castle was never intended to provide defense from enemies, but to serve as a hunting place for king Francis I(the estate covers 5440 hectars) , who used it for short periods of time, I think mainly for showing off his wealth . I can’t even imagine how hard must be heating this place in the winter. Since the year 1930 the castle belongs to the French government. The entrance fee for adults is 9,50€ and it will give you the chance to see a lot of trophies, stairs, giant rooms , in one expression -walk until your feet fall off. I am a fan of the quotation: ”Less is more”, so this castle was a little too big for my taste.
Giant Chateau de Chambord in France
Roof design of Chateau de Chambord in France
Chateau d’ Azay le Rideau
-called a jewel of the Renaissance architecture is situated in Azay le Rideau, close to the Indre River and was built in the 11th century. This romantic and graceful castle and its park was for me, a good way to start the day. The entrance fee for adults is around 8€.
Romantic Chateau d’Azay le’Rideau-in the morning
Chateau d’Azay le Rideau
Chateau de Villandry
-a castle built around the year 1536 on the place of an ancient fortress.. Every year considerable improvement work is carried out at Villandry. What I liked mostly about this place was the beautiful garden divided into seven departments .However this large and symmetrical garden can be quite a labyrinth, as you can read in the article April Weather in France. The entrance fee for adults is 9,5 € castle and gardens and 6, 5 € only the gardens.
French Chateau de Villandry view from the beautiful gardens
Top 10 Castles in France Chateau de Villandry
Chateau de Cheverny
- built around the year 1600 , has one of most beautiful and luxurious interiors from all the castles I’ve seen on the Loire Valley, with entire collections of paintings, tapestry, portraits, clocks and trophies .The owners of this castle still live in the right wing of the palace. Cheverny is also a significant hunting location, so close to the castle you will be able to see and definitely hear the dogs (kennels).The place has also very beautiful gardens and it’s surrounded by forests. The entrance fee for adults is around 9 €.
Chateau de Cheverny best interior castle on the Loire Valley
Inside Cheverny Castle
Chateau d’ Usse
- it is said to be the castle which inspired Charles Perrault to write the „Sleeping Beauty” story and a prototype for the design of Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. The castle is built from tuffeau stone- a fragile rock formed over the time, composed from fossilized marine animals,plants and sand particles . A part of the castle is decorated with dolls, showing scenes from fairytales, that the kids can watch through the windows .It’s a place that the children are going to like very much, even though the stairs going towards the roof (where all the action was)seemed pretty dangerous to me. For the adults it’s interesting to know that the price was pretty big- 14€, compared to other castles on the Loire Valley.
Chateau d’Usse-sleeping beauty’s castle in France
Chateau de Blois
– situated at the heart of the city Blois, the giant castle comprises several buildings and it has 564 rooms plus a fireplace in each room.From the main entrance the castle looked very small (like a house with two floors or a high school ) i wasn’t even sure if i am in the right place, but a tour around it showed me i was very wrong .The castle, or better said the fortress was immense in length and it seemed like a big part of the city was built just to sustain its walls. Right in front of the castle you get to see The House of Magic (La Maison de la Magie) a museum highlighting the work of the famous illusionist, born in Blois, Robert Houdin. The entrance price for adults was 7,50€, or you could get a combined ticket including the Château, House of Magic and the Sound and Light show for 14,50€.
Giant Fortresse in France-Chateau de Blois
Maison de la Magie in Blois France
Chateau Royal d’Amboise
– or the Chateau of the French Kings is a castle built in the Italian style with a great view over the Loire Valley, plus the burial place of Leonardo da Vinci (St. Hubert Chapel). I wasn’t very impressed by its garden arrangements, but it’s the only castle visited, where the brochure was available in 16 languages. The price for adults was 10,20€.
Chateau d’Amboise in’France-the tomb of Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci tomb in Amboise France
Chateau du Clos Luce Parc Leonardo da Vinci
- it is actually a house with 2 floors, where Leonardo Da Vinci lived and worked in the final years of his life. Located near Chateau Royal d’Amboise (at 200 km from Paris), the place is great for children and adults, as they have the chance to enter in the world of Leonardo .Outside the house you can walk through the gardens, where you can hear the actual thoughts of Da Vinci, regarding the human corp,flying and painting.Too bad these reflexions were only in french. The price for adults was around 13€.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Park in Clos Luce
Clos Luce – home of Leonardo da Vinci in France
Leonardo da Vinci’s bed in Clos Luce France
The direction I recommend seeing them , in order to minimize the km you do is: Chateau d’ Usse, Chateau d’ Azay le Rideau, Chateau de Villandry , Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau Royal d’Amboise, Chateau du Clos Luce, Chaumont – sur – Loire, Chateau de Blois, Chateau de Chambord , Chateau de Cheverny.