The castles of the Loire Valley: Chambord, Chenonceau and Blois

A visit of the main castles of the Loire Valley: Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise and Blois. A tour to be done by car for a weekend.

The appellation "Châteaux de la Loire" groups together castles that are located in the Loire Valley, there are more than fifty castles to visit. Here we focus on four of the most famous castles: Chambord, Chenonceau, Blois and Amboise. The car is of course mandatory because some castles are not accessible by public transport and the distances between the castles are important. The minimum duration to visit these castles is one weekend but you should not dawdle, three days would be more indicated because you can also visit Tours and Orleans. If you can, it is better to try to follow the guided tours of the castles to better understand the history of these castles. All the visits are of course not free of charge (10 euros per castle for a simple visit), and parking is also included in the price of the stay.

Interest: ratingvery good (1 user)
Difficulty: difficulty
Duration: 10 h.

Chambord

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Chambord
Grandiose. Chambord is the castle of all superlatives and the largest of the Loire castles: 440 rooms, 84 staircases, 365 fireplaces, the largest enclosed forest park in Europe... The castle was built during the reign of François I.

Facade of the Chambord Castle

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Facade of the Chambord Castle
Inside you can see the famous double helix staircase. You have to watch people going down and up to understand the mechanism and the specificity of this staircase. The castle is huge but it is almost empty, there is not much furniture. As in many castles, the interior is disappointing compared to the exterior.

The park of the Château de Chambord

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The park of the Château de Chambord
Francis I built the castle but only stayed there for a few weeks for hunting. He never saw it finished. He came with all his furniture and left. Then the castle was occupied very occasionally because it was considered too big.

Guided tour of Chambord

We recommend the guided tour, which is very interesting and allows you to learn about the history of the castle.

Parking in Chambord

The castle is one of the most visited castles in France, so everything is very well arranged for tourists, including huge car parks (but paying).

The castle of Chenonceau

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The castle of Chenonceau
Magnificent castle with these five arches which spans the river Cher. It should be noted that the castle is part of the Loire castles but it is not located on the Loire but on the Cher!

The Cher and Chenonceau

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The Cher and Chenonceau
The castle is made up of two parts. The main building (the part of the castle located at the entrance), the visit is interesting with rooms and kitchen very well reconstructed, the other part of the castle that spans the Cher is less interesting.

The gardens of Chenonceau

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The gardens of Chenonceau
The castle is also worth a visit for its very well maintained park. You should take the time to stroll around and discover the labyrinth, the Diane garden, the fountains...

The gallery of Chenonceau

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The gallery of Chenonceau
The visit of the interior of the castle remains a little disappointing. On the picture we can see the gallery which was used as a ballroom, it is this room which spans the river. In fact, the visit is limited to a round trip in this large room. Disappointing.

The castle of Amboise

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The castle of Amboise
The castle is located above the Loire River. The castle can be visited in two hours. A little longer if you choose the guided tour.

The chapel of the castle of Amboise

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The chapel of the castle of Amboise
In this chapel is the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci. He had come to France at the invitation of King Francis I. The latter was very interested in Italian artists, whom he had had the opportunity to meet during his stays in Italy.

The gardens of the castle of Amboise

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The gardens of the castle of Amboise
The gardens are made up of different terraces

The castle of Blois

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The castle of Blois
Perhaps the most interesting of the Loire Valley castles. The castle is remarkable for its architecture and for the events that took place there: the assassination of the Duke of Guise ordered by King Henry III during the Wars of Religion.

Ceiling of the castle of Blois

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Ceiling of the castle of Blois
The castle was abandoned for a long time, but it was magnificently restored from 1845 onwards under the impetus of Prosper Mérimée. The restorers were inspired by period paintings to reconstruct the interior of the castle. A must see.
Departure point (Google Maps)

Other walks

From Grez to Larchant

From Grez to Larchant

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At 134.33 Km