EXPLORE LOIRE CHATEAUX THROUGH OUR GUIDES & MAPS
Our mobile and tablet friendly ad free 70 page online Guide to the Loire Valley Chateaux shows you the best places to visit, stay and eat in the region. Explore the top Chateaux open to the visitors and a further 24 boutique hotels, all based in converted chateaux. Then plan you trip using our interactive lists and maps full of video, pictures and links. Click on the links or pictures below to explore this site for the best of the Loire region.
The Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site that lies some 2 hours drive from Paris and that stretches for 280 km along the central section of the Loire river, South West of Paris. Within this 800 square km area lie over 300 chateau so planning your trip in advance will give you the best experience and minimise the time spend driving. For example, it takes 2 hours 30 minutes to drive the 250 km across the region on fast roads and much more on provincial routes. Look for clusters of locations you want to visit and then plan your accommodation. Our suggestion is to split the region into two parts, one to the east of Tours and one to the west and plan around these two locations.
The area is famous for its Château which vary considerably from the early constructions which are heavily fortified castles such as the Château de la Guerche or the Château du Plessis-Bourré with its wide moats and multiple gatehouses and drawbridges, through to the Renaissance period with the Château de Cheverny which has almost no fortifications and built to impress rather than protect. Many of the smaller chateau are run as B&Bs which is a great way to have the real chateau experience. Examples include La Ballue and Chateau Vauloge which lie en-route to the region from the UK. Some have been converted into 4 star hotels which provide a different but equally engaging experience, these include Château de Marçay and Chateau de Rochecotte which lie East of Tours.
Most of the chateau are privately owned and operated, some are managed by the Center des Monuments Nationaux, a public institution under the Ministry of Culture and Communication, created in 1914. As a result there is little co-ordination of ticketing such that you can not purchase a ticket that covers multiple properties. Some have grouped to gather to offer discounts for repeat visits within the group after the first purchase. Before visiting always check opening times, some operate a timed tour system which is usually very good but some also do not allow access to the house except on the tour.
Our suggestion is that you plan your time such that you can visit the larger chateau in the mornings leaving the afternoon to explore some of the smaller but often more interesting such as Château de Moulin, Château de Chemery and Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre. Of the more famous château, Château de Cheverny, Château Chambord, Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire and Château de Chenonceau lie to the East of Tours creating a natural cluster whilst Château de Villandry, Château d’Azay-le-Rideau and Château D’Ussé form a similar cluster to the West.
Our Chateau Guide gives details on 40 top chateau including 10 luxury hotels.
Our Selection is a quick destination guide to the region, its many chateaux, where to stay and where to eat.
Use our Planning Guide for tips on a trip to the region and the Boutique Hotel Guide for chateau based accommodation.
Use the Interactive Map to explore the location of the top 60 Loire Chateaux in more detail or use the custom Google Map of the Loire region which gives the location of and links to 80 Loire Chateau, 24 of which are boutique hotels.
If you are looking for organised Loire Valley Tours try France Intense for Cultural, Food & Wine Experiences.
To get the best out of this guide, go to the How To Use page.