15 Best Chateaux in the Loire Valley, France to Visit

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you!). Read the full disclosure policy here.

Share it here!

The Loire Valley is truly one of a kind. With 300+ chateaux dotting this charming area in the heart of France, the Loire Valley is the perfect place to live out your fairytale dreams. But to make the most of your visit, let’s talk about the 15 best chateaux of the Loire Valley!

With several chateaux of the Loire, it can be so difficult to narrow down which ones to visit. There are grand, famous chateaux and smaller, privately owned chateaux that allow guests.

Some of les chateaux de la Loire (this means the chateaux of the Loire in French) also have the most beautifully lush gardens and landscapes. 

After having visited this region twice, once on a day trip from Paris and another time more recently on a Loire Valley road trip, I have visited some of the top chateaux in the Loire Valley. So now I’m ready to share with you which ones you’re going to want to add to your list!

Loire Valley Itinerary in 3 Days | Chateau de Chenonceau Wide Angle

15 Best Chateaux of the Loire Valley, France to Visit

Before I dive into all the details, here is a quick list of the best Loire Valley chateaux:

  1. Chateau de Chenonceau
  2. Chateau de Chambord
  3. Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau
  4. Chateau de Valencay
  5. Chateau de Villandry
  6. Chateau de l’Islette
  7. Chateau d’Usse
  8. Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire
  9. Chateau de Cheverny
  10. Chateau de Nitray
  11. Chateau de Brissac
  12. Chateau de Clos Luce
  13. Chateau Royal d’Amboise
  14. Chateau Royal de Blois
  15. Fortresse Royale de Chinon

For details on the best of the Loire Valley chateaux, keep reading below!

Why Are There So Many Chateaux in the Loire Valley?

Chateau de Valencay 23

I’ll keep this brief, and I discuss this as well in my 3-day Loire Valley itinerary. There are several chateaux in the Loire Valley for several reasons, but let’s start with the Hundred Years’ War.

Beginning in 1337 and ending in 1453, the English and French were combatting over power and, in particular, land. I mean there is a lot more to this, but I cannot possibly write a thesis on the Hundred Years’ War AND discuss the best chateaux in the Loire Valley in one blog post. I’m only human. 

However, the gist of it is that the Loire Valley was part of this disputed land. This means that both the French and English needed fortresses for protection. Hence, chateaux and fortresses were built. Many were even built before this as well.

But when the Hundred Years’ War ended, France fought with Italy for a bit. However, it was during this time that the French realized they loved the Italian Renaissance and it inspired their own French Renaissance. 

During the French Renaissance, the royal court was based in the Loire Valley. This means they needed fabulously decorated and luxurious castles to house the royals and their court. 

Gardens at Chateau de Villandry 4

This is why many of these former Medieval chateaux got a facelift during the Renaissance and look like they do today. This is also why several newer chateaux were built as well like Chateau de Chambord or Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau. Several stunning gardens were planted around the chateaux too. 

To sum it up, France and England were fighting and needed fortresses in the Loire Valley, then France fought with Italy but loved the culture and brought it back to the Loire where they upgraded their chateaux and built more for the royals. 

And what is left are the stunning chateaux for us to explore! 

But that’s not all! Many of these chateaux played roles in the French Revolution, WWI, and WWII. In fact, places like Chateau de Chenonceau had a hospital here for WWI, and many famous art and artifacts of France were hidden in the Loire Valley during WWII!

Best Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Chateau de Chaumont

Okay, enough nerding out about the history of the Loire Valley. Let’s talk about the chateaux in the Loire Valley that you’re going to want to see!

1. Chateau de Chenonceau

37150 Chenonceaux

Chateau de Chenonceau with pink flowers in the background

Known as the “Lady Castle,” Chateau de Chenonceau is among the most famous chateaux in the Loire Valley. And upon first glance, it isn’t difficult to see why. 

For starters, this chateau is part castle/part bridge. The chateau actually bridges across the Cher River! And during the summer months, you’ll even spot kayakers and canoers having a lovely day as they pass underneath the chateau.

But this place is known as the “Lady Castle,” for the many women who owned and made large improvements to the place. There are 7 significant women in this chateau’s history, including Diane de Poitiers, whom King Henry II gave this castle. 

Kat at Chateau de Chenonceau 5
Gardens at Chateau de Chenonceau 4

It was Diane who created the stunning flower garden to the left of the chateau and had the bridge commissioned. 

Catherine de’ Medici took over the castle upon her husband King Henry II’s death and had the gardens to the right of the castle built. She also made the bridge into a magnificent gallery area. 

Other significant women here in history include Louise Dupin (the Lady of Enlightenment who saved the chateau during the French Revolution), Marguerite Pelouze, who spent a lot of money restoring the chateau, and Simonne Menier, who oversaw the hospital here during WWI. 

Views overlooking garden at Chateau de Chenonceau

This chateau and estate has several gardens, a 16th-century farm, and even a winery! You could spend several hours exploring the ins and outs of this place. However, if you’re short on time, you definitely want to go inside the chateau and visit Diane’s Garden and Catherine’s Garden.

Fountain at Chateau de Chenonceau

Chateau de Chenonceau Hours: Hours vary depending on the time of year but here is it broken down:

  • January 1-7: 9:30 am-6 pm
  • January 8-April 5: 9:30 am-4:30 pm
  • April 6-July 7: 9 am-6 pm
  • July 8-August 25: 9 am-7 pm
  • August 26-Spetember 29: 9 am-6 pm
  • September 30-November 3: 9 am-5:30 pm
  • November 4-November 8: 9:30 am-4:30 pm
  • November 9-11: 9 am-5:30 pm
  • November 12-December 6: 9:30 am-4:30 pm
  • December 7-8: 9:30 am-5 pm
  • December 9-13: 9:30 am-4:30 pm
  • December 14-15: 9:30 am-5 pm
  • December 16-December 20: 9:30 am-4:30 pm
  • December 21-31: 9:30 am-6 pm
  • Holiday weekends from 9 am-7 pm

Chateau de Chenonceau Admission: Adults €17, children 7-18 years of age, students, seniors 60+, unemployed, families with 3+ children between 7-18 (per ticket) and accompanying persons of disabled people €14, and free for children under 7 and disabled people. 

Pro-tip: This place is very busy on weekends, especially in the summertime. Summer in general is a popular time to visit. Be sure to book tickets in advance! Note if you book directly on Chateau de Chenonceau’s website you’ll select a time slot, whereas with Get Your Guide you follow instructions on your voucher.

2. Chateau de Chambord: The Largest Chateau in the Loire Valley

41250 Chambord

Chateau de Chambord | Best Weekend Trips From Paris

This is another of the most famous chateaux in the Loire Valley, and it so happens to be the largest chateau. 

This is also the most visited chateau of the Loire Valley, which means on weekends and during the summertime, you’ll definitely want to have a ticket booked ahead of time.

It is known for its French Renaissance architecture and was built by King Francis I. Originally it was meant to just be a hunting lodge for King Francis I, who actually lived at Chateau de Blois and Chateau d’Amboise. 

Quite the impressive hunting lodge, I’d say! 

During the French Revolution, many things in the chateau were sold and the castle was abandoned. While restoration attempts were made over the years, it wasn’t fully restored until the 1900s. 

Views from Chateau de Chambord - Weekend Trip

This chateau has played roles in history such as a field hospital during the Franco-Prussian War, and art from the Louvre and Compiegne museums (including the Mona Lisa!) were stored here before WWII began. 

This is also said to be the chateau that inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast castle! 

So definitely take time to wander through the chateau and admire the impressive double-spiral staircase, walk through the gardens, and admire the views! 

This chateau also has a histopad you can rent which shows the chateau as it was in the 16th century. It includes interactive maps, an audioguide, and more and costs €6.50 in addition to admission. 

Chateau de Chambord also offers English-guided tours from July 8-August 27 at 11:15 am. These last for an hour and cost €6 in addition to admission. Children ages 5-17 are €3. 

And for a truly authentic castle experience, why not attend one of their Horse and Bird of Prey Shows at certain times of the year? This costs €16 for adults and €12.50 for children 5-17 years old. You can also combine your ticket with a castle visit for €27.50 for adults. 

Chateau de Chambord Hours: January 2-7 and March 30-October 27 from 9 am-6 pm. January 8-March 29 and October 28-December 31 from 9 am-5 pm. The park is open every day year-round. 

Chateau de Chambord Admission: €16 for adults, €13.50 for 18-25 non-EU residents, unemployed from France, associate, work councils, and groups of 20+, free for under 18, EU residents 18-25, disabled persons and 1 accompanying person. €6 to park your car at the car and motorcycle parking lot P0 (free for disabled persons upon presenting a parking ticket and proof). Parking is €5 at P2 parking lot for cars.

3. Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau is Among the Best Chateaux of the Loire Valley

19 Rue Balzac, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

Chateau d'Azay le Rideau 4

One of my favorite chateaux in the Loire Valley to visit has to be Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau. This smaller chateau doesn’t bring in quite the huge crowds as the two above, and it is situated on a small island on the Indre River! 

This place is considered one of the jewels of early French Renaissance architecture, especially its large staircase, which you can see the main architecture and large windows on the outside. 

Chateau d'Azay le Rideau 11
See the large staircase windows?

This is a chateau you’re going to want to go inside, as they have rooms decorated from the 16th century as well as the 19th century. 

So you begin at the top and work your way down the chateau. Admire the 16th-century apartments with its reed-woven walls and 4-poster bed before descending to the 19th-century apartments with cozier neo-Renaissance decor and even a billiard room!

16th Century bedroom at Chateau d'Azay le Rideau
19th Century apartments at Chateau d'Azay le Rideau

You can also take some time to wander along the Indre River and stroll through the grounds. 

You can also enjoy an audioguide for more context. This is €3 to rent and comes in 5 languages. 

Kat at Chateau d'Azay le Rideau

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau Hours: Open from April-June from 9:30 am-6 pm, from July-August from 9:30 am-7 pm, from October-March from 10 am-5:15 pm, and September from 9:30 am-6 pm.

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau Admission: €13 for individuals, and free for those under 18, EU citizens and French residents between 18-25, disabled persons and their companion, job seekers, those with an education pass, and everyone on the first Sunday of January-March and November and December.

4. Chateau de Valencay

2 Rue de Blois, 36600 Valençay

Yellow iris at Chateau de Valencay

This chateau is a bit further from the other more famous Loire Valley chateaux, which means it isn’t as popular to visit. However, it is truly epic! 

I love the domed towers at Chateau de Valencay and the lovely gardens here! When I visited, it was May and the flowers were in full bloom and smelled heavenly!

This chateau actually has a fun legend in regards to goat cheese…and Napoleon! The story goes that Napoleon visited this chateau after his defeat in Egypt, where the goat cheese, also called Valencay, was served. 

Amanda, Megan, and Kat at Chateau de Valencay

It was shaped like a pyramid, and Napoleon was triggered by its shape and took out a sword and chopped off its head! So now Valencay cheese is a truncated pyramid shape. 

The land where the chateau is was once home to a Gallo-Roman villa, a tower in the Middle Ages, and maybe even a feudal castle in the 1200s. The chateau as it stands today began in 1540. 

Green room at Chateau de Valencay

Aside from exploring the chateau interior which is comprised of rooms decorated from the 18th and 19th centuries, you can also explore the grounds and gardens! 

Oh and a fun fact: Chateau de Valencay is where some pieces from the Louvre were hidden during WWII including Venus de Milo and Winged Victory!

Kat in the Gardens at Chateau de Valencay 3

Chateau de Valencay Hours: March, April, May, October, and November the castle and park are open from 10 am-6 pm. June, July, August, and September the castle is open from 10 am-6 pm and the park closes at 8 pm. In December, the castle and park are open from 11 am-8 pm.

Chateau de Valencay Admission: Full rate is €14.50 for the chateau and park. Full rate is €7.50 for just the park. Children 7-17, EU students, and job seekers can see the castle and park for €11.50. €5 for children between 4-6 years old for the castle and park. These groups only pay €4.80 for just the park. Children under 4 are allowed in for free.

5. Chateau de Villandry

3 Rue Principale, 37510 Villandry

Gardens at Chateau de Villandry 10

This chateau is certainly a stunner, and if you have the time it is worth going inside. But the biggest draw to Chateau de Villandry is by far its immense and pristine gardens.

The chateau was renovated from a Medieval fortress into the Renaissance castle it is today thanks to Jean Breton, King Francis I’s Secretary of Finance. During the Middle Ages, it was called the Medieval Fortress of Colombiers. 

While the exterior of the chateau is incredible, I highly recommend strolling through the gardens.
Here you’ll find colorful flowers, green hedge mazes, and perfectly kept trees. 

Chateau de Villandry 2

Admire the Water Garden, Herb Garden, Kitchen Garden, the Woods, Ornamental Garden, and the hedge mazes of this lovely chateau. It truly is breathtaking to see the immaculately trimmed gardens and colorful flowers! 

I’d say if you’re hoping to see some stellar gardens in the Loire Valley, then Chateau de Villandry is amongst the best chateaux of the Loire Valley. 

Gardens at Chateau de Villandry 7

Chateau de Villandry Hours: Hours vary based on the time of year. Check hours here.

Chateau de Villandry Admission: Chateau and gardens are €13 for adults, €7.50 for youth, and free for children under 8. For only the gardens it is €8 for adults, €5.50 for youth, and free for children under 8.

6. Chateau de l’Islette

9 Rte de Langeais, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

Chateau de l'Islette 9

For a smaller, charming little chateau that is actually privately owned, you’ll want to check out Chateau de l’Islette. 

This place is known as the “love castle” of sculptors Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, who visited here during their love affair. In fact, this place houses two bronze sculptures by Claudel including Le Petite Chatelaine and Les Causeuses. 

Cross from the parking lot over the Pont de l’Islette and you’ll fall in love with this romantic chateau instantly. 

Chateau de l'Islette 13

It sits along the Indre River, and here you’ll spot the lovely gardens, a charming old mill, and even farm animals nearby! 

For a truly romantic visit, you can rent a boat for €10 per half hour to row along the Indre River together. You can also have a lovely picnic on the grounds before visiting inside the chateau, which the owners open for visitors. 

Mill at Chateau de l'Islette 4

Chateau de l’Islette Hours: March 30-April 30 from 11 am-5:30 pm, May-September from 10 am-7 pm, and October through November 3 from 11 am-7:30 pm.

Chateau de l’Islette Admission: €11 for adults, €9 for youth between 18-25, €7.50 for children 7-17, disabled persons, and residents of Azay-le-Rideau and Cheille. Free for children under 7. They also offer some discounts for families.

7. Chateau d’Usse

338 Château d’Usse, 37420 Rigny-Ussé

Chateau d'Usse 8

This chateau dates back to the Middle Ages when it was used as a stronghold. Then, it became a jewel of the Renaissance. Today, it features the lovely chateau, gardens, a cellar, a chapel, the stables, and even a dungeon. 

This chateau is also quite famous for potentially being the castle that inspired Charles Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty.

Kat at the tower in Chateau d'Usse

So I’d say that means it’s pretty stunning! I will say that while I did enjoy admiring the chateau from the outside, exploring the grounds and chapel, and even taking a peek inside the chateau’s beautifully decorated rooms, I don’t recommend visiting the Sleeping Beauty exhibition. 

It is just a retelling of the story in English and French with creepy mannequins set up throughout. I mean, it is cool to see the views from the towers, but I’d give this a skip.

However, the chateau and grounds are lovely to explore!

Plus, this chateau housed items from the National Library during WWII!

Blue room at Chateau d'Usse

Chateau d’Usse Hours: February 17-March 28 from 10 am-6 pm, from March 29-September 30 from 10 am-7 pm, from October 1-November 11 from 10 am-6 pm.

Chateau d’Usse Admission: €14.50 for adults, €7 for children from 8-16 years, and free for children under 8.

8. Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire

Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 41150 Chaumont-sur-Loire

Chateau de Chaumont 6

For an epic chateau that was also once owned by Catherine de’ Medici and Diane de Poitiers, you’ll want to visit Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire. 

While the chateau itself is stunning, the gardens and grounds are definitely worth seeing! For starters, you can enjoy the lovely model farm, stables, and apartments in and around the chateau. 

Stables at Chateau de Chaumont
Music room at Chateau de Chaumont

But what makes this chateau truly unique and worth a visit is its annual Art Season. From the end of March until sometime in October, the chateau and grounds feature various artists! In 2024 when I visited, the idea was to mimic the Gardens of Bomarzo with out-of-the-box sculptures and creatures from myths and legends.

So there were many pieces of art and sculptures depicting this.

Gardens at Chateau de Chaumont

There are also several permanent art pieces throughout the estate. It is fun to explore the galleries and art all over the place here. And when I visited, there was an epic digital art show in the attics by Quayola. 

It showed flowers in swirling colors before becoming beautiful photos all moving in sync to music. I also enjoyed the flowers in the chapel. 

If you’re searching for unique famous French chateaux in the Loire Valley, this is the place. 

Blue flowers with a bee at Chateau de Chaumont

Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire Hours: Hours vary based on the time of year. Check here for details.

Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire Admission: Late April-early November €20 for adults, €12 for people 12-18, students, job seekers, and 1 companion of a disabled person, and €6 for children ages 6-11. Free for children under 6, disabled persons, and students of art history and architecture. From early November through December, it is €15 for adults, €8 for reduced rates, and €4 for children ages 6-11.

Family tickets (including 2 adults and 2 children under 12) are €40 from late April-early November and €30 from early November through December.

9. Chateau de Cheverny

Av. du Château, 41700 Cheverny

Chateau de Cheverny

Owned by the same family for over six centuries, this chateau has been well cared for over the years. You can enjoy so much in and around the estate! 

In the chateau, you can enjoy the apartments which show the birth chamber, nursery, dining room, and more! 

But you also want to make time to explore the grounds here! Enjoy the English-style park as well as the many gardens including the Vegetable Garden, the Apprentice’s Garden, the Tulip Garden which is full of tulips in April, the Garden of Love featuring 6 bronze statues by Gudmar Olovson, and even the Maze. 

Tulip garden at Chateau de Cheverny

For cuteness overload, you can also stop by the Kennels to see the more than a hundred tricolor Anglo-French dogs! 

Chateau de Cheverny Hours: January-March 29 and October-December 10 am-5 pm. March 30-September 9:15 am-6 pm. Open until 6:30 pm from July-August. These are ticket office hours. The castle closes 30 minutes later. 

Chateau de Chevnery Admission: Chateau and Gardens ticket is €14.50 for adults, €10.50 for adults with a large family, children 7-14, unemployed, and students under 26 years old.  Free for children under 7 and disabled people. 

10. Chateau de Nitray

69 Rue du Château, 37270 Athée-sur-Cher

Chateau de Nitray

Searching for a smaller yet still adorable chateau in the Loire Valley? Look no further. I visited here several years ago on a day tour from Paris which included a visit here, Chateau de Chambord, and Chateau de Chenonceau. 

Sadly, I can’t find this on day tours anymore, but it is still a chateau that you can visit on your own! 

This small estate (compared to its much larger counterparts), is from the 15th century. 

When we visited, the interior was not open to the public. 

This estate has a vineyard and winery, where you can check out the awesome wine and perhaps purchase a bottle or two! 

Enjoy strolling around the exterior, walking along the courtyard, and visiting the old dovecote before wrapping up with a tasting.

Kat twirling in a white patterned dress under at an entrance gate at Chateau de Nitray

Chateau de Nitray Hours: June 1-September 30 from 9 am-12 pm and 2-6 pm. Open from 2-6 pm on Sunday. From October 1-May 31 for groups by appointment only.

Chateau de Nitray Admission: €6 for self-guided visits.

Mini pink flowers at Chateau de Chaumont

11. Chateau de Brissac is One of the Loire Valley Best Chateaux

1 Rue Jeanne Say, 49320 Brissac-Loire-Aubance

You’ve heard about the most visited and largest chateau of the Loire Valley, but what about the tallest chateau? 

Chateau de Brissac has 7 floors and 204 rooms, earning it the nickname of the “Giant of the Loire Valley.”

This family-owned chateau has actually been in the same family since May 1502! The Duke and Duchess of Brissac still live here with their family! 

Here you can wander through the chateau, enjoying the historic rooms, galleries, and even the Belle Epoque theatre. Oh, and this estate also has a winery where you can enjoy local wine and perhaps purchase some to take home!

Aside from the chateau, you can also wander through the beautiful castle park! 

Chateau de Brissac Hours: Hours vary based on the season. Check here

Chateau de Brissac Admission: €11 for adults (includes a visit to the chateau, wine presentation, and the park), €9.50 for students, disabled people, and job seekers, and €4 for children ages 8-16. Free for children under 8.  

PS- From April 15 to October 15, the chateau is available for you to rent a room for the night to stay including breakfast and a tour of the chateau. See details here!

Porcupine facade at Chateau de Chaumont

12. Chateau de Clos Luce

2 Rue du Clos Lucé, 37400 Amboise

With roots beginning in the Middle Ages, this chateau was actually built over Gallo-Roman foundations! It was also bought by King Charles VIII to become a royal residence. 

And a fun fact, Leonardo da Vinci was invited here by King Francis I. He spent the last 3 years of his life here and worked on many projects for the king. 

So wander through the chateau along the steps of Leonardo da Vinci. Explore Leonardo’s Park and Garden to enjoy the beautiful trees and plants, and enjoy the giant interactive models around the park built according to Leonardo’s sketches!

Chateau de Clos Luce Hours: January 10 am-6 pm, February-June 9 am-7 pm, July-August 9 am-8 pm, September-October 9 am-7 pm, and November-December 9 am-6 pm. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the site. 

Chateau de Clos Luce Admission: €19 for adults, €17 for large families, job seekers, etc., €13.50 for children ages 7-18 and students, €9 for disabled persons, and free for children under 7. €53 for a family with 2 adults and 2 children, €56 for a family with 2 adults and 3 children, and €58 for a family with 2 adults and 4 children. 

Leonardo Da Vinci and France Exhibition is €5 for adults, €3 for reduced rates, €1 for children 7-18 years old and students, and free under 7. 

Window at Chateau de Chaumont 2

13. Chateau Royal d’Amboise

Mnt de l’Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 Amboise

Chateau d'Amboise 2

Perched above the town of Amboise and overlooking the Loire River, the Chateau Royal d’Amboise is a thing of beauty. 

The land that the current chateau occupies was once a former Gallic oppidum. The castle was built in the Middle Ages before being taken over by Charles VII in 1434 when its owner, Louis d’Amboise, was convicted of plotting against Louis XI. 

Once it became a royal residence, it was a favorite of the kings of France and was rebuilt by Charles VIII. 

King Francis I was raised here and even invited Leonardo da Vinci to come here to live and work in nearby Clos Luce. Leonardo da Vinci’s grave is even located at the Saint-Hubert Chapel here. 

This chateau was also where King Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici raised their children with Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland. 

Chateau d'Amboise 3

This place is certainly full of rich history being a royal residence for so long, making it one of the best chateaux of the Loire Valley! 

Today you can enjoy a visit here accompanied by a histopad. Journey through the Renaissance rooms on the ground floor and first floor before exploring the 19th century rooms on the 2nd floor. 

Then, explore the garden and admire the viewpoints from the ramparts. This is a fabulous castle to go to for history and it is in the heart of Amboise, making it an easy castle to visit. 

Wine in the old city at Amboise

Chateau Royal d’Amboise Hours: Hours vary by month. Check opening hours here

Chateau Royal d’Amboise Admission: €16.40 for adults, €12.50 for disabled adults and their accompanying person, €13.70 for students, €11.20 for disabled students and accompanying person, €10.50 for children ages 7-18, €8.90 for disabled children and accompanying person. Free for children under 7. Large families have a €2 reduction per child, and unemployed have a €2 deduction. Admission includes histopad in 12 languages. 

14. Chateau Royal de Blois

6 Pl. du Château, 41000 Blois

Chateau de Blois

This was once the residence of the Counts of Blois as well as a royal residence. Joan of Arc even stopped by here to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before leaving to fight the English. 

Located in the town of Blois, this is another great chateau in the Loire Valley to visit! Here you’ll find lavish royal chambers and art from the 16th-19th centuries. 

In fact, the Fine Arts Museum is in this chateau on the first floor of the Louis XII wing. So admire the art of the museum as well as wander through the Queen’s Chamber, King’s Room, among many other lavish rooms. 

Explore on your own or via an audio guided tour offered in 8 languages for €3. 

During the spring through the summer, you can enjoy the sound and light show in the courtyard of the chateau! This also takes place from mid-October through early November on All Saint’s Holidays. 

In March, April, and September, it begins at 10 pm, on May-August, it begins at 10:30 pm, and in October-November, it begins at 7:15 pm. 

The light and sound show lasts for 45 minutes and it covers the buildings with light and images! This is a fun thing to do while visiting Chateau Royal de Blois! 

So whether you want to discover the history and views of the chateau during the day or perhaps stick around for the evening show, this is easily one of the most beautiful chateaux in the Loire Valley. 

Chateau Royal de Blois Hours: January 2-March 29 from 10 am-5 pm, March 30-June 30 from 9 am-6:30 pm, July 1-August 31 from 9 am-7 pm, September 1-November 3 from 9 am-6:30 pm, November 4-December 20 from 10 am-5 pm, and from December 21-Janaury 5 from 10 am-6 pm. Closes at 5 pm on December 24 and 31. 

Chateau Royal de Blois Admission: €14 for adults, €10.50 for students, teachers on individual visits, adults with large families, and job seekers, and €7 for children ages 6-17. Free for children under 6 and people with disabilities. 

The sound and light show combo ticket with the chateau is €21 for adults, €17 for reduced prices, and €11 for children between 6-17. Free for children under 6 and people with disabilities. 

15. Fortresse Royale de Chinon

2 Rue du Château, 37500 Chinon

City of Chinon

Originally founded by Theobald I, Count of Blois, in the 10th century, in the 11th century it became the property of the Counts of Anjou. 

This fortress in Chinon was then taken over by Henry II of England and became his residence. It then switched hands to the French after a siege in the 13th century. 

During the 14th century, the chateau was a prison for a time. This chateau is also where Joan of Arc met Charles VII to discuss her visions and grant her an army to relieve the siege of Orleans. 

This royal chateau clearly has a lot of rich history, making it one of the best chateaux in the Loire Valley to visit!

There are actually 3 castles that make up the Royal Fortress, which overlooks the River Vienne and the city of Chion: Fort du Coudray, Chateau du Milieu, and Fort Saint-Georges. 

Vienne River in Chinon

Here you can visit the chateau either on your own, with a histopad, or with a booklet. The histopad is included in the ticket and comes in 9 languages. I personally love histopads while exploring places in France because it shows how it used to look in the day and makes the visit more interactive.

Also, if you want to visit on Thursdays between mid-July and late August, you can enjoy meetings and tastings of AOC Chinon winegrowers! Discover more about the wine grown in this area with local wineries! 

There is plenty to see around the Fortresse Royale de Chinon, and even the impressive fortress is easily visible while in the town of Chinon! 

Fortresse Royal de Chinon Hours: January, February, November, and December from 9:30 am-5 pm (closes at 4 pm on December 24 and 31), March, April, September, and October from 9:30 am-6 pm, and May-August from 9:30 am-7 pm.

Fortresses Royal de Chinon Admission: €10.50 for adults, €8.50 for children 7-18 years old, students, and persons with a disability and their accompanying person, and free for children under 7 years old, job seekers, and journalists.

Map of the Loire Valley Chateaux

Map of the Best Chateaux of the Loire Valley
For an interactive version of this map, click here.

Best Chateau Hotels in the Loire Valley

Stairwell at Chateau de Chaumont

If you’re a lover of chateaux in the Loire Valley, why not stay in a castle hotel? Here are the best chateaux to stay in the Loire Valley! 

Chateau d’Artigny: Feel luxurious at this 5-star chateau hotel in the Loire Valley! This place has 56 rooms either in the chateau itself or in the Pavillon d’Ariane and the Cite des Parfums. This chateau was the former chateau of Francois Coty, a famous perfumer, and was created during the Belle Epoque. Here you can enjoy the lovely park, restaurant, and spa. This place is close to Tours and near chateaux like Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, Chateau d’Usse, Chateau de l’Islette, and Chateau de Villandry.

Book it here!

Chateau de Rochecotte: Located between Tours and Saumur, this place is close to the chateaux near Chateau d’Artigny and isn’t too far from Chateau de Brissac, which is a bit further from the rest. This place was built originally as a pavilion in the 18th century. Then it was sold to the Duchess of Dino in 1828, who turned it into the place it is today. This 4-star chateau hotel in the Loire Valley has a wooded park, a pool, and a couple of restaurants.

Book it here!

Fern at Chateau de Chaumont

Chateau de Beauvois: This is another great hotel that is located near Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, Chateau de l’Islette, Chateau de Villandry, and Chateau d’Usse. Originally built in the 15th century, it was partially destroyed during the French Revolution. It has since been renovated after being purchased by La Maison Younan. This place has a restaurant, a bar, a pool, a tennis court, and a private park.

Book it here!

Chateau de Pray: Located closer to Amboise, this is near Chateau Royal d’Amboise, Chateau du Clos Luce, Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau de Nitray, and Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire. This place has a Michelin restaurant, a park, and a pool.

Book it here!

Relais de Chambord: While not technically a castle hotel in the Loire Valley, it is right next to Chateau de Chambord. This means many rooms have views of this magnificent chateau. Feel like royalty at the restaurants, bar, and spa. 

Book it here! 

When to Visit the Loire Valley

Irises at Chateau d'Usse

The best time to visit the top chateaux of the Loire Valley has to be between May through October. 

May and September/October are the best times to visit for better weather (although this is never a guarantee) and fewer crowds. During the summer months, things can be crowded in places like Chateau de Chenonceau and Chateau de Chambord. 

If you’re visiting at that time of year, especially on the weekends, it is so important to book tickets in advance! 

Pink flower at Chateau de Chaumont

I visited last time in May and it was lovely! The weather was pretty good, although the river was up from flooding from the days prior. And we visited Chateau de Chenonceau on a Monday and it wasn’t crowded at all. We didn’t see large crowds at all during our time there. 

However, in the summertime and on weekends, things can be more packed so plan ahead and book tickets beforehand. 

How to Visit the Loire Valley

Chapel at Chateau de Chaumont

The easiest way to see the Loire Valley is to road trip around it! On my recent visit, I spent several days driving around checking out the chateaux and gardens of this place.

I rented a car from Gare de Lyon in Paris and drove! Auto Europe is a great place to check for deals! 

Read my 3-day Loire Valley itinerary here!

Now, if you don’t want to rent a car, that does make an extended visit to the Loire Valley trickier. However, you could base yourself in cities like Tours or Amboise and take the train to various chateaux. 

Chateau de Chenonceau 1

Tours would be the best place to stay, as it is better connected with trains. From Tours, you could take trains to places near Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau Royal d’Amboise, and Chateau Royal de Blois. 

Honestly, though, I don’t recommend taking a train in the Loire Valley. Instead, you can take tours from places like Tours. Here are some ideas:

Salon at Chateau de l'Islette 2

And if you don’t have time for an extended Loire Valley itinerary, you could take a day trip from Paris! Here are some ideas:

Unique Ways to See the Loire Valley Chateaux

Boat on the river at Chateau de l'Islette

We all know that physically wandering around the best chateaux of the Loire Valley and their gardens is one way to see them. But they aren’t the only way! 

Here are some unique ways to see the chateaux in the Loire Valley!

  • Cycling: There are plenty of opportunities to cycle around the Loire Valley and stop by chateaux! In fact, you can book a guided e-bike tour of the Loire!
  • Canoeing/Kayaking: Many of these chateaux are near or right next to rivers. This is a great opportunity to canoe or kayak near the chateaux! In fact, you can canoe or kayak under Chateau de Chenoneau’s bridge! We were supposed to do this on our recent visit, but it was canceled due to flooding. This is the company we originally booked through!
  • Hot Air Balloon: For an epic sunrise or sunset, you can take a hot air balloon ride over the chateaux of the Loire Valley. Spot Chateau de Chenonceau or Château Royal d’Amboise from above! Book a sunset tour here or a sunrise tour here!

So what are the best chateaux to see in the Loire Valley? Well, there are plenty to choose from! Here are some highlights for your trip! 

Whether you have a full week or just a day, these are the top chateaux of the Loire Valley to check out! 

Would you like to see these chateaux?

Want more France travel ideas? Check out these posts!


Pin it here!

These are hands down the 15 best chateaux of the Loire Valley you need to visit | Best Chateau in France | Loire Valley Castles | Loire Valley France | Loire Valley Chateau | Loire Valley Map | Best Castles in Loire Valley | Loire Valley Chateau Map | Chateau de Chambord, Loire Valley | Chateau de Villandry Loire Valley France | Chateaux of the Loire Valley | French Chateau Loire Valley | Chateau de Chenonceau Loire Valley France | Chateau Loire Valley France
These are hands down the 15 best chateaux of the Loire Valley you need to visit | Best Chateau in France | Loire Valley Castles | Loire Valley France | Loire Valley Chateau | Loire Valley Map | Best Castles in Loire Valley | Loire Valley Chateau Map | Chateau de Chambord, Loire Valley | Chateau de Villandry Loire Valley France | Chateaux of the Loire Valley | French Chateau Loire Valley | Chateau de Chenonceau Loire Valley France | Chateau Loire Valley France
These are hands down the 15 best chateaux of the Loire Valley you need to visit | Best Chateau in France | Loire Valley Castles | Loire Valley France | Loire Valley Chateau | Loire Valley Map | Best Castles in Loire Valley | Loire Valley Chateau Map | Chateau de Chambord, Loire Valley | Chateau de Villandry Loire Valley France | Chateaux of the Loire Valley | French Chateau Loire Valley | Chateau de Chenonceau Loire Valley France | Chateau Loire Valley France

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

France Voyager is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.