Most Epic Loire Valley Itinerary in 3 Days For Chateau Lovers

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Are you searching for an epic weekend getaway from Paris? Love wandering through castles and sipping delicious wine? If so, then a Loire Valley itinerary in 3 days may be calling your name!

While there are chateaux all over France, the Loire Valley has the heaviest concentration of them. There are over 300 chateaux throughout the Loire Valley, many of which are open to the public! 

From smaller castles to grand estates with vast grounds, you’ll love wandering around and exploring what several of these unique places have to offer. 

So let’s dive into how to have the perfect Loire Valley trip in just 3 days!

Chateau de Chenonceau 6

What is the Loire Valley?

The Loire Valley is a valley that lies in the heart of France, within the administrative regions of Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire. 

From Paris, it is about 2.5 hours to a city like Tours within the Loire Valley, depending on traffic, of course. So it makes for a great getaway from the city as it isn’t terribly far. 

The Loire Valley has actually been inhabited since prehistoric times, with Neanderthal evidence in caves in La Roche-Cotard. This part of France is mostly well known for its sprawling chateaux and for crisp, delicious white wines (although red wine is also made here).

Chateau d'Azay le Rideau 12

But why are there SO many chateaux in the Loire Valley? Well, we have the Hundred Years’ War to thank for that. 

The Hundred Years’ War began in 1337 and ended in 1453, with the English and French fighting over land. I mean, I can’t summarize a 100+ year war in just a sentence, but the Loire Valley was part of the disputed land. This is why if you ever visit Orleans, you’ll quickly realize how big of a deal Joan of Arc was because she helped liberate the city from the English! But I digress…

Jeanne d'Arc statue at Place du Martroi in Orleans 2

So in summary, both the French and English needed fortresses for protection during this time, which meant they were building fortresses in the area. Many fortresses were also built before this due to tensions and things.

Then, after the Hundred Years’ War, the French fought with Italy for a bit. However, Italian culture ruled out because it caused the French Renaissance, which was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance. 

It was during this Renaissance period that the royal court was based in the Loire Valley, meaning they needed elaborate and vast chateaux to house the royals and the court. 

Hence all the epic Renaissance-style chateaux you’ll see there today as many of these fortresses were renovated to impress. More chateaux were also built during that time as well.

This is also why so many today have stunning gardens!

Gardens at Chateau de Chenonceau 4

These castles have seen a lot in history, so I’m definitely summarizing a lot. But these chateaux were also involved and served many purposes during the French Revolution and WWI, and even during WWII many famous works of art and artifacts from France were stored here to prevent them from being stolen by the nazis. 

If walls could talk.

So this is a short nerdy version of why the Loire Valley is so important throughout history and a cool place to visit for castle lovers. 

Without further ado, let’s talk about how to spend 3 days in the Loire Valley!

Loire Valley in 3 Days Summary

Views overlooking garden at Chateau de Chenonceau

Before we get into all the details, here is a short summary of what to expect during your 3 days in the Loire Valley itinerary! For more information, keep reading below!

  • Day 1: Head to the Loire Valley
    • Get a rental car and head to the Loire
    • Explore Valencay & Chateau de Valencay
    • Check-in to your castle hotel
  • Day 2: Enjoy the Best Chateaux of the Loire Valley
    • Local bakery breakfast
    • Explore the gardens of Chateau de Villandry
    • Admire the architecture of Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau
    • Enjoy the romantic Chateau de l’Islette
    • Feel the Sleeping Beauty vibes at Chateau d’Usse
    • Have dinner and drinks in Chinon and admire the fortress
  • Day 3: Chenonceau and Amboise
    • Explore half the day away at Chateau de Chenonceau
    • Go on a wine cave tour and tasting at Caves Ambacia
    • Grab a drink at a wine bar in Amboise with fortress views
    • Dinner at Chez Oscar & Suzette
  • Day 4: Head back to Paris With a Pit Stop
    • Explore Chateau du Chaumont on the way back

Ultimate Loire Valley Road Trip Itinerary in 3 Days

Gardens at Chateau de Valencay

I’ll begin this Loire Valley chateaux itinerary by saying that having a car is a great idea! First of all, you’re on your own time and don’t have to worry about catching a train at a certain time. 

You can also visit some smaller chateaux that aren’t necessarily easy to get to via train or public transportation. 

Renting a car is really easy, and I like to check Auto Europe for the best prices! Plus, you can choose to pick it up and drop it off at Paris Gare de Lyon so you can begin and end your trip in Paris!

Day 1: Head to the Loire Valley

Chateau de Valencay 17

Okay, as I just said, I recommend picking up your car this morning. Gare de Lyon is a great place to grab your car versus having to go all the way out to the airport. 

Once you’ve got your bags in the car it is time to head to Valencay! This drive takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes depending on traffic, and if you leave Gare de Lyon around 10 am, you’ll be here just in time for lunch in the village before visiting Chateau de Valencay

Today you get your first taste of the best places to visit in the Loire Valley. And honestly, I don’t hear this one mentioned in lists of the best chateaux to visit here. To be fair, it isn’t super close to the other more popular chateaux, but it is stunning nonetheless.

Kat in the Gardens at Chateau de Valencay 3

Plus, Chateau de Valencay has a fun legend regarding Napolean…and cheese! Now whether this is factual isn’t certain, but it is a fun story to tell! 

Apparently the famed goat cheese named after the town of Valencay was once pyramid-shaped. But when Napolean came to visit the chateau here after his defeat in Egypt, he became enraged by the pyramid-shaped dairy product and sliced off the top with his sword! 

So now, even to this day, it is a truncated pyramid shape.

Cheese at Les Halles Avignon

This chateau’s site was once home to a former Gallo-Roman villa, a tower in the middle ages, and perhaps a feudal castle in the 1200s. Construction on the chateau as we know it today began in 1540. 

I particularly like the beautiful domed towers of this chateau as well as the stunning flower gardens, which were in bloom when we visited.

Chateau de Valencay 4

This chateau also has a forest for a delightful picnic should you choose to explore that over having lunch in the town. 

Of course, you must take a peak inside the beautiful interior of the chateau, complete with several bedrooms, galleries, a dining room, kitchens, a study, and more! Much of the decor featured is from the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Music room at Chateau de Valencay
Office at Chateau de Valencay 2

Plus, a fun fact: Chateau de Valencay was where certain works from the Louvre were hidden during WWII including Venus de Milo and Winged Victory!

After exploring your first chateau during your Loire Valley driving itinerary, it is time to head to your accommodations for your trip. 

Green room at Chateau de Valencay

Chateau de Valcencay 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.

Amanda, Megan, and Kat at Chateau de Valencay

Now depending on where you stay, you can either eat at the hotel’s restaurant, eat at a restaurant nearby in town, or go grocery shopping and make a meal at your chateau accommodations!

I’ll mention more about where to stay later on below! 

But you’ll call it a night because you’ve got some of the best places to visit in the Loire Valley tomorrow!

Chateau Airbnb 9

Day 2: Enjoy the Best Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Mill at Chateau de l'Islette 4

Now today is the perfect day to explore some of the must-see Loire Valley chateaux. From a smaller, privately owned chateau, to some seriously stunning gardens, let’s dive into the most epic castles for your Loire Valley vacation. 

But first, you need breakfast. And while some of the hotels below offer breakfast at a bit of an exorbitant cost, I recommend going to a local bakery. As we were staying in an Airbnb (mentioned below) near Thilouze, our host actually recommended a fantastic bakery to pick up some goodies. 

We drove over to Le Pain Boulanger in Thilouze and picked up a baguette tradition, a baguette with nuts and seeds, some croissants, and an eclair cafe. All were SO good and I highly recommend it!

After a hearty breakfast, you’re ready to explore some Loire Valley chateaux! 

Purple irises at Chateau d'Azay le Rideau

The first one I recommend seeing is the Chateau de Villandry. While the chateau does look lovely from the outside, I actually recommend just going here to visit the vast gardens. 

Don’t worry, you’re going to see the inside of several chateaux on this Loire Valley road trip, so you don’t have to go inside every one of them. 

Gardens at Chateau de Villandry 8
Gardens at Chateau de Villandry 24

But Chateau de Villandy is well-known for its amazing gardens. They are truly meticulous. In fact, there are areas where guests cannot walk to keep it so pristine. 

There are flowers all over the place, and several gardens including the Water Garden, Herb Garden, Kitchen Garden, the Woods, Ornamental Gardens, and even some hedge mazes! 

Chateau de Villandry 3
Kat at Chateau de Villandry

You can spend quite a bit of time wandering around and admiring the beauty of these truly stunning gardens! 

We didn’t have time to go inside, but if you want to learn more about this chateau’s extensive history, dating back to the 11th century, you can go inside. 

Gardens at Chateau de Villandry 16

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. 

Chateau de Villandry 2

After exploring the gardens here, it is time to hop back in the car and travel over to a super stunning chateau located on a small island on the Indre River!

Chateau d’Azay le Rideau is a charming castle and is considered one of the jewels of early French Renaissance architecture, especially the beautiful staircase. 

Chateau d'Azay le Rideau 3

This chateau I highly recommend taking a peak inside, as it is really cool to see! They even have decor from the 16th century and 19th century based on what floor you’re on.

What is cool about this is that you first head up to the attics and work your way down the chateau. So you’ll first see the 16th-century apartments and then as you descend, you’ll see the 19th-century apartments complete with a billiard room. 

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

It is really impressive and interesting to see the differences in art and room styling from the reed-woven walls of the French Renaissance to the wallpapered and cozier 19th-century neo-Renaissance decor.

Chateau d'Azay le Rideau 6

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 companions, job seekers, those with an education pass, and everyone on the first Sunday of January-March and November and December. 

After a visit here, another charming and smaller chateau to visit has to be Chateau de l’Islette. This charming place is most famously known as being the “love castle” of sculptors Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin.

Chateau de l'Islette 15

It is also only a few minutes away from Chateau d’Azay le Rideau, making it a fun extra stop! 

Cross from the parking lot over the Pont de l’Islette and be charmed instantly by this place. This Renaissance chateau is actually privately owned and the family allows visitors to come by and check it out.

Chateau de l'Islette 9

You’ll quickly understand why the sculpting couple enjoyed staying here during their love affair. In fact, you can even see two bronze sculptures by Claudel at the chateau called Le Petite Chatelaine and Les Causeuses

Even strolling through the gardens along the river, you’ll spot ducks, chickens, and other farm animals nearby. There is also the stunning old mill on the property.

Mill at chateau de l'Islette 5

It is the perfect place for a picnic, should you wish to grab things from a local grocery store! And for some romance at this romantic castle, you can even rent a boat and row in the Indre River.

Salon at Chateau de l'Islette 3

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. 

To wrap up your castle touring for the day, you’ll want to head to Chateau d’Usse. This is said to be the castle that inspired Charles Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty.

Chateau d'Usse 7

This fairytale-inspiring castle is certainly worth visiting and seeing its gardens, chapel, and exterior. I also enjoyed checking out the interior of the chateau which has beautiful 17th-century tapestries, a dining room, and a grand staircase.

Orange tree at Chateau d'Usse
Blue room at Chateau d'Usse

However, I don’t recommend going to see the Sleeping Beauty exhibit. It is just a retelling of the story with some kind of creepy-looking mannequins. You do get to check out the attics and get a great view from the tower, but other than that, it isn’t worth it.

Sleeping Beauty reinactment at Chateau d'Usse

This is still a great chateau to wrap up your day just for the views and Sleepy Beauty castle vibes.

Fun fact: During WWII many items from the National Library were stored here!

Kat at the tower in 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. 

After that, I recommend going into the town of Chinon for dinner and to see the beautiful Forteresse Royale de Chinon

Alley in Chinon

At this point, it’ll be closed, but you can still see it towering over the cool town! So spot it before getting dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant! 

After that, it is time to head back to your accommodation for the night! 

Vienne River in Chinon

Day 3: Chenonceau and Amboise

For your last full day during your visit to the Loire Valley, you’re going to want to check out what is likely the most popular chateau in the Loire Valley: Chateau de Chenonceau

Kat at Chateau de Chenonceau 5
Kat and Chateau de Chenonceau 3

Again, you can start your day with breakfast pastries at a local bakery or breakfast at your hotel if you wish, but then you’ll want to drive over to Chateau de Chenoneau to spend the bulk of your day! 

This place is massive! Its history begins in the 12th and 13th centuries, but the current main part of the chateau was built between 1513 and 1517. And it is known as the Lady Castle for its female history.

Kat at Chateau de Chenonceau 7

In 1535, this chateau became part of the Crown Estate, and King Henry II gave this castle to his favorite, Diane de Poitiers, who absolutely loved this place.

It was Diane de Poitiers who had created the beautiful gardens at the left of the chateau. However, after the death of King Henry II, the Queen, Catherine de’ Medici took over the chateau and created her own garden on the other side of the chateau.

Chateau de Chenonceau Flower Garden

Many other women had come to possess Chateau de Chenonceau over the years, including Louise Dupin (the Lady of Enlightenment), and even Madame Pelouze. 

This castle also played a role in WWI as a military hospital, and in WWII as the sole point of access in the area to the free zone, where several people were smuggled out. 

Bedroom in Chateau de Chenonceau
Gallery at Chateau de Chenonceau

This castle is part bridge/part castle. That is because the castle actually spans across the Cher River! In the summertime, you’ll even spot people kayaking or canoeing under the chateau!

And honestly, both the chateau and its immense grounds are worth exploring, particularly the gardens! We went in May and the flower gardens were in full bloom! It smelled absolutely incredible.

Pink flowers at Chateau de Chenonceau 2

So spend the late morning and early afternoon here to learn more about this awesome chateau and frolic around the gardens and grounds. There is also a cafe and a couple of food stands too for lunch. 

Oh, and if you’ve got the time, there is a cellar here for wine tastings!

Chateau de Chenonceau vineyard

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

Chateau de Chenonceau Admission: €17 without audioguide and €22 with audioguide for adults. €14 without an audioguide for seniors over 60, students, companions of disabled persons, and children ages 7-18. €19 for an audioguide. Free for children under 7 and disabled persons without an audioguide, or €5 for an audioguide. 

Chateau de Chenonceau 1

PS- During the summertime and on weekends, having prebooked tickets is important. We went on a Monday in May so it wasn’t crowded at all, but the weekends and summertime are busy times to go! Buy tickets here!

After spending time here, it is time to head into Amboise. Here is a great place to learn more about the wines of the Loire Valley at a wine tour and tasting at Caves Ambacia.

Barrels at Caves Ambacia

Walk through 15th-century troglodyte caves of limestone and learn about the aromas and tastes of Loire Valley wines.

You’ll also try 7 wines including red and white wines from different wine regions within the Loire Valley including a Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, and even a Cabernet Franc from Chinon. 

Wine bottles we tasted at Caves Ambacia

Plus, they pair it with local cheese and charcuterie!

Book it here!

Pro-tip: Book the 4 pm tour and tasting so you can enjoy time at Chateau de Chenonceau in the morning before coming here!

Wine and cheese tastings at Caves Ambacia

Once you’ve finished up with your wine tasting, you have plenty of time to wander around the town before dinnertime. 

So walk through the old city, and spot the incredible Chateau d’Amboise which is perched over the town. 

Chateau d'Amboise 2

Again, it’ll be too late in the day to go inside the fortress, but it is epic just to see on its own from the outside. 

However, on the street just below the fortress (Place Michel Debré) there are plenty of bars and restaurants to grab a drink while enjoying the chateau views. We particularly liked La Cave which features wines from Montdomaine, a local vineyard just outside of the city. 

Wine in the old city at Amboise

You can sit on the terrace here and enjoy views of the street and fortress above.

Then, when you’re ready for a good dinner, head over to the river and grab a great meal at Chez Oscar & Suzette. It is located along the banks of the Loire and there is a restaurant area where you can have a great meal and a bar area with sand so you can feel like you’re at the beach on the Loire.

Chez Oscar et Suzette

We really enjoyed our time here! 

After that, it is time to head back to your chateau accommodations for the evening!

Day 4: Head back to Paris With a Pit Stop

Chateau de Chaumont 6

Okay, I know this is a 3 day Loire Valley itinerary, but you have to get back to Paris somehow, right? 

And, as I’ve said before, a car is the best way to get around. So while you’re on your way back to Paris, you may as well make one more stop at a chateau to break up the trip. So this is the perfect opportunity to check out Chateau de Chaumont.

Farm at Chateau de Chaumont

Actually, we ended up stopping by Chateau de Chaumont on the way to stay in Orleans for a night before heading back to Paris. However, you can definitely stop by this chateau in the morning before driving back to Paris in the afternoon. 

This chateau was originally built in the 10th century. However, when Pierre d’Amboise rebelled against the king, it was destroyed. But in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was rebuilt by Charles I and Charles II d’Amboise. 

Tapestry at Chateau de Chaumont

And this chateau also came into the hands of Catherine de’ Medici at one point, and she even hosted Nostradamus here! This was also the chateau that Diane de Poitiers, King Henry II’s mistress was forced to accept so Catherine de’ Medici could have Chateau de Chenonceau. 

However, Diane de Poitiers didn’t live here long. Aside from its rich history, Chateau de Chaumont also has extensive gardens and a forest to enjoy! 

Gardens at Chateau de Chaumont 5
Blue flowers with a bee at Chateau de Chaumont

While you’re driving today, you won’t have time to explore the forest, but you can certainly check out the chateau and gardens. 

The best part is the chateau has an art season each year from March through October. They also have permanent art installations up around the stables and grounds. 

Gardens at Chateau de Chaumont

In 2024, they wanted to mimic the Gardens of Bomarzo with out-of-the-box sculptures and creatures from myths and legends. 

So you’ll definitely see some unique sculptures and beautiful paintings around the grounds, gardens, and stables. There are actually really cool galleries throughout the farm and even inside the chateau. 

Chapel at Chateau de Chaumont 3

I particularly enjoyed the really neat digital art display by Quayola in the attics. It showed several images of flowers but blurred in a swirl of colors before being displayed as a photograph all moving synchronized to music. 

Now this was the theme for 2024, so things will be different each year. However, this chateau was really unique for its incredible art. It is also a stunning chateau to visit. 

Chateau de Chaumont

Either way, it is a great pit stop on the way back to Paris or wherever you’re off to next! 

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

Chateau de Chaumont 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.

That wraps up the best places to see in the Loire Valley in 3 days! Now let’s talk about other details to know.

Loire Valley Itinerary Map

Loire Valley Itinerary Map
For an interactive version of this map, click here.

If You Have More Time in the Loire Valley

Fountain at Chateau de Chenonceau

If you have even more time in the Loire Valley, there is plenty to see and do! For starters, there are still several chateaux to visit. Chateau de Chambord is always a popular spot to visit, and Chateau de Cheverny is another great place to check out.

But I totally get it if the amount you’ve already seen in this Loire Valley road trip is enough. You don’t want to get chateau-fatigued. 

Thankfully, there are other things to do here too!

There are plenty of opportunities for cycling in the Loire Valley as well! There are multi-day Loire a Velo bike tours that begin in Orleans and go all the way to the coast in Le Croisic if you really want to! You can go for as little as 5 days and stop off somewhere or go all the way to the Atlantic coast if you want!

There is also a really cool bike tour of wineries if you just want to enjoy a day cycling in the Loire and sipping wine. 

Wine tasting with person pouring red wine into glass at Caves Ambacia

Or if you want to be driven around to some wineries, you can do that too. Check out this epic half-day tour of the vineyards of the Vouvray region.

For a full-day tour, check out this one that goes to Vouvray and Chinon with lunch at a winery!

There is also the option to go kayaking or canoeing on one of the rivers! In fact, we were supposed to go canoeing on the Cher River and go under Chateau de Chenonceau. Sadly, though, the spring when we went was pretty flooded so the river was too rough and it got canceled.

Boat on the river at Chateau de l'Islette

But we booked through the Canoe Company. They have a few options on routes to take if you want to book a fun morning or afternoon canoeing on the river!

For a romantic morning or evening, you can also go on a hot air balloon ride over the Loire Valley from Amboise. 

Then there is also the option to explore some of the exciting towns in the area further like Amboise, Tours, Blois, Orleans, Chinon, etc. 

Old City of Amboise

So if you have more than a weekend in the Loire Valley, trust me, there is a lot to do! 

If You Have Less Time in the Loire Valley

Chateau de Chambord | Best Weekend Trips From Paris

Is your idyllic Loire Valley itinerary cut short? Only have a day? 

Thankfully, there are Loire Valley chateau tours from Paris that you can take! 

My first time visiting the Loire Valley was just on a day trip from Paris. My husband and I booked a tour where we stopped at Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Chenonceau. Plus, our tour stopped at the smaller Chateau de Nitray for lunch and a wine tasting. 

Here are a couple of Loire Valley castle tours offered as day trips from Paris:

I recommend a group tour as it is far easier to get to/from all these chateaux in the Loire Valley in just a day from Paris this way. Otherwise, you’d probably only have time to take a train to one chateau with a train station nearby and then spend the day there.

Tree path 2 at Chateau de Villandry

If you were to do it on your own, I’d recommend taking a train from Paris round-trip to Chenonceau and going to Chateau de Chenonceau. You could easily spend most of the day here and have fun!

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley | Our Experience at a 500-Year-Old Chateau Rental

Megan posing at the Chateau Airbnb

If you’re going to explore a bunch of chateaux, why not also stay in one

There are several amazing castle hotels throughout the Loire Valley for your visit. I’ll discuss the rental we stayed at in this section and give you other Loire Valley chateau hotels below. 

We ended up staying at a charming 500-year-old chateau just outside of Thilouze in the Loire Valley. You can rent it on Airbnb, and it is owned by a family that has owned it for the last 300 years!

Kat in front of the Chateau Airbnb 6

This chateau has been renovated over the years to include bathrooms and a modern kitchen, thankfully, but you can still see remnants of its past including a moat and holes where arrows could get through! 

The owner of the Airbnb, Gregoire, was phenomenal! He lives in the house next door and gave us the history of the place and shared how he restored it. Plus, he gave us many tips and helped us plan this epic itinerary for ourselves! 

Chateau Airbnb

The chateau is 3-stories tall with the living room and kitchen on the ground floor, and then the 2 other floors are bedroom apartments with a reading nook/small room, toilet room, bathroom, and bedroom. 

There is also a chapel that was renovated to be a bedroom. 

Tower bedroom 1 in Chateau Airbnb

Was it really cool to have a chateau all to ourselves in the middle of the Loire Valley? Yes! Was it in the perfect location for exploring? Absolutely! 

But… that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without issues because a 500-year-old chateau can also come with 500-year-old issues. Not the plumbing… although one of the bathrooms does have the Medieval toilet next to the modern one! 

There is no A/C, which we already knew going in because 1) it is an old building so that makes sense and 2) in the spring it feels really pleasant here. So no problem there.

Sunset at Chateau Airbnb

But while we had zero issues the first night, we started to notice evidence of critters after that. Maybe it was because I left the windows open all day to let the breeze in the next day. Or maybe we just didn’t notice it before, but I definitely saw bat poop in some areas of my top-floor room when we came back from exploring the second day.

The droppings were located in the reading nook area and next to the fireplace, where there were some smaller holes in the wood in the ceiling with the attic above it.

After seeing that, I packed up my stuff and moved in with my friend in her chapel room. Then, on the second day, my friend saw a bat flying around her bedroom below my room. So she ended up sleeping in the living room that night. So bats 2, us 0. 

Entrance to our Airbnb Chateau

Maybe it was my fault for leaving the windows open during the day (doesn’t seem likely though because bats are nocturnal). Or perhaps these are resident attic bats. Turns out, bats in chateau attics are very common in the Loire Valley and are a protected species. 

This means you can’t really do much other than try to deter them from coming back. 

So while it was a really cool experience, if you want to stay here for a romantic getaway, maybe opt to stay in the chapel room where we didn’t have any issues. 

I’ll also note that no other reviews of the Airbnb mention a bat. So maybe it was just our issue while we were there. Either way, you can book it here if you wish

Chateau Airbnb 8

Other Loire Valley Chateau Hotels

If you are looking for something a little less rustic, then there are other hotels in the Loire Valley too which are also chateaux. Here are a few options:

Chateau d’Artigny: This luxurious 5-star chateau features 56 rooms located in the chateau or in the Pavillon d’Ariane and the Cite des Parfums. This was the former chateau of Francois Coty, a famous perfumer, and was built during the Belle Epoque. This place has stunning rooms, a beautiful park, a delectable restaurant, and even a spa complete with a sauna, a jacuzzi, and a hammam. 

Book it here!

Chateau de Rochecotte: Located between Tours and Saumur, you’re in a great place for exploring! This chateau was built originally as a pavilion in the 18th century and then sold to the Duchess of Dino in 1828. It was she who turned it into the fabulous chateau it is today. Now, this 4-star boutique hotel is lush and settled in a wooded park. Enjoy walks in the park and forest or relax by the pool on a warm day here. The place also has a couple of delightful restaurants. 

Book it here!

Window at Chateau de Chaumont 2

Chateau de Beauvois: Originally built in the 15th century, it was once owned by Duke Charles Albert de Luynes who was a favorite of King Louis XIII in the 17th century. It was partially destroyed during the French Revolution and has been since renovated after being purchased by La Maison Younan. Rooms and suites here are elaborately decorated, and you’ll dine like a king at the restaurant, aptly named Le Louis XIII. Enjoy the bar and lounge, stunning pool, tennis court, and even a stroll through the private park. 

Book it here!

Best Time to Visit the Loire Valley

Pink flowers at Chateau de Chaumont

I recommend planning your Loire Valley itinerary between May through October. 

Ideally, May and September/October are best as there are fewer crowds then. We went in May and we didn’t have any crowds at the chateaux we visited. And the most popular chateau we visited, Chateau de Chenonceau, wasn’t crowded at all during the week. 

However, larger and more famous chateaux do get crowded on weekends. So to avoid the crowds, opting for mid-week visits is best. And if you are coming on a weekend, be sure to book tickets for chateaux like Chenonceau or Chambord in advance. 

Tower at Chateau de Chenonceau

As far as weather is concerned, the winter months can be quite chilly, and the early spring months can see some rain, so that is why late spring/early summer and autumn is overall the best time to visit the Loire Valley. 

Other Tips For Your 3-Day Loire Valley Road Trip

Kat at Chateau de Valencay 3

Before you pack your bags and get ready to frolic around the chateaux of the Loire Valley, here are some tips to know:

  • Always say “Bonjour/Bonsoir”. It is considered rude to enter an establishment and not say this, and if you want any help, don’t expect much if you don’t say “hello.” I generally switch from “Bonjour” to “Bonsoir” whenever it is dinnertime during the summer and around 5 pm during the winter.
  • Learning a little French helps. Yes, there will be information in English and leaflets in English and other languages at most of the chateaux, but it always helps to know some basic French phrases to help you as you explore France. Check out my 17 most useful French phrases to know here!
  • Learn driving rules. If you’re planning to rent a car, it helps to know basic French driving rules. I like checking out this site for some tips and road sign meanings. Also, while renting a car, if you don’t know how to drive a manual- be sure to book an automatic car! Manual cars are much more common in France.
  • Be sure to budget for tolls and parking. Parking isn’t too expensive, but tolls can definitely add up! 
  • Book ahead of time in high season. Coming in the middle of summer? You’ll want to be sure to book hotels, a rental car, dinner reservations, and even busier chateaux ahead of time! 

This is the ultimate guide on how to spend 3 days in the Loire Valley by car! Between amazing chateaux, delicious wine, and beautiful gardens, I have a feeling you’re going to fall head over heels for this part of France too! 

Would you like to visit the Loire Valley? Where would you most like to go?

Want more France trip ideas? Check out these posts!


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