The Loire Valley is an area full of castles, where French royalty and nobility lived, and great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci.
The epicenter of the valley is the city of Amboise, where some of the most famous castles in France are located, and the rest of the castles we will show you in this post are very close to this city.
So you can visit several in the same getaway.
To go to the Loire from Paris, you have to travel about 225 kilometers (140 miles). Although it is not close, it is possible to do it in a 1-day side trip.
The trip by car takes about two and a half hours, and the journey takes between 1h 15min and 2 hours by train.
If you can stay in the area for a couple of days, it would be great, but you can also take a guided tour of the Loire Valley Castles from Paris during the day.
Here are some of the best castles in the area, and we will tell you what is unique about each one.
In addition, we put them in the best order you could follow if you are going from Paris.
The Royal Castle of Blois will give you an overview of the history of the region’s castles, and with its four facades, you can see how architectural styles have changed throughout history.
The first fortress was built in the 9th century. In the 16th century, major renovations and extensions were made so that you could see the French Renaissance’s significant influence on these monumental buildings.
The last important works were done in 1635, following a classical style.
The Château de Blois was home to Catherine de Medici and Louis XIV, among the most famous inhabitants.
In addition to the castle, its botanical garden, and the Saint-Calais chapel stand out. And they have some light and sound shows that you will love.
*Tip: do you want to know how to pronounce it in English? Blwaa (or something like that).
The Amboise Castle is one of the most important in the region, and together with the others, it makes up an architectural ensemble declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It was built in the ninth century, but in 1434 was appropriated by Charles VII of France and became part of the Crown. Since then, many kings have lived in Amboise.
From the towers of this architectural jewel, you have beautiful views of the river and the Loire Valley, so you will enjoy much more than a castle.
You can also visit the Chapel of St. Hubertus, which has some impressive sculptures and is where the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci is located.
One last fact, in the gardens, there are plants from different parts of the world and more than 80 species of birds.
*Tip: do you want to know how to pronounce it in English? Ambwas.
The Clos Lucé castle is connected to the Amboise castle by a 500-meter tunnel (0.3 miles). But, of course, this is not the most important fact about this monument, but the fact that it was the last place where Leonardo lived.
King Francis I invited the genius in 1516, giving him shelter and work. So Leonardo spent the last 3 years of his life within its walls.
Visit this mansion and reconstruct the daily life of one of the most important historical artists. You will see his bedroom, his workplace, and about 40 models of machines that Leonardo da Vinci worked on.
In addition, you will find life-size reproductions of several of his inventions in the garden.
The castle of Chenonceau is one of the most beautiful of those we recommend. It is built on the pillars of an old mill and seems to float on the Cher river.
When you visit its interior, you will find a great exponent of the French Renaissance, with all the pomp and luxury that kings liked from the mid-sixteenth century until the kingdom of France fell into the hands of the French Revolution.
It is known as the Castle of the Ladies since Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers were the most important and influential people who passed through the castle, and also because it was saved from the French Revolution by Mrs. Dupin.
In honor of these two women, there are two beautiful gardens where you can walk around and see how they sought perfection in the design of each one.
In addition, you will find a farm, a wine cellar, and a restaurant at the castle of Chenonceau.
This mansion has belonged to the Hurault family for six centuries. Even today, it is still inhabited by their descendants.
The castle is built with Bourré stone, which whitens and hardens over time, which explains the color of the facade of Cheverny.
This monument has been open to the public for a century and is one of the most luxuriously furnished of all the castles in the Loire Valley.
Inside, you can see what the nativity room, the children’s room, a double bedroom, the dining room, and a small living room used to be like.
In addition, you can see many pieces of furniture from the time of Louis XIV and Louis XV and several tapestries.
Cheverny garden is also exquisite. The English garden-type design is beautiful, and you will see exotic plants and trees planted almost two centuries ago.
The Chambord Castle was born as a hunting lodge ordered to be built by King François I in 1519.
Francis loved Italian styles, so the construction was done with a perfect blend of French and Italian styles.
The architecture is very different from the rest of the castles in the region, as it follows the model of medieval fortresses, with a square floor plan and four corner towers.
It is the largest castle of all the monuments of the Loire Valley. It has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, 14 staircases, and 800 turrets.
One of the most striking features of the building is its double-helix spiral staircase. Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci probably designed the staircase.
On the outside, from my point of view, it is the most spectacular of all. However, inside, it is empty, and the most striking feature is undoubtedly the staircase.
The Domaine National de Chambord is listed as a national wildlife and game reserve, as numerous species of animals can be found there. In addition, it has several trails to walk and enjoy the region’s nature.
So if you want, in addition to seeing the castle, you can walk a little in the domains of Chambord.
If you want to visit the Loire Valley from Paris with a tour, you will find several options. Here we tell you which ones we like the most.
Excursion to the Loire Castles
This excursion allows you to visit some of the Loire Châteaux we have already introduced. In addition, you will visit two of the following castles: Chenonceau, Chambord, and Cheverny.
The tour departs from Paris at 7 a.m. and spends about 2 hours at each castle.
After seeing two of these castles, you get an hour off for lunch.
You can take the tour with a guide or audio guide in your language.
Tour of the Loire châteaux: guided tour of Blois and Chambord
The tour offered by Viator includes the Transfer by Van and a visit to Chenonceau, Chambord, and Clos Lucé.
The excursion has something different from what most operators offer, as you will be able to enjoy a wine tasting in Chambord.
The visit is made with an audio guide that will tell you the best details of each castle.
One day Getaway in the Loire Valley
This day trip in the Loire Valley from Paris allows you to visit 3 of the best castles of the World Heritage Site. Visit Chenonceau, Chambord and Amboise.
In Chenonceau, you will spend time in the beautiful gardens; in Chambord, you will visit part of the largest castle in the region; in Amboise, you will visit Leonardo’s tomb.
The Viator tours are for 8 people and provide a more intimate and personalized experience. And they also have the bonus of tasting 3 glasses of French wine.
Full Day Tour from Paris to the Loire Castles
This is another proposal we recommend from Get Your Guide, which includes 3 castles: Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny.
You will be accompanied by expert guides who know many stories and anecdotes about the most important people who lived in the area’s castles. Love affairs, kidnappings, intrigues, and many other juicy facts.
The tour includes tickets to all castles so you won’t have to wait in line anywhere.
Paris: 1 day in the Châteaux of the Loire plus wine tasting
Get Your Guide offers you to travel from Paris in a high-quality bus to the Loire Valley region to visit 3 castles: Chambord, Blois, and Chenonceau.
In addition, you will be given free time in the city of Blois to explore it and enjoy all its charm.
Before entering Chambord castle, the guide tells you its history, and you can tour it on your own.
In Blois, they will make a stop for you to eat in some of their restaurants and walk around Louis XII Square, enjoying the gothic style of the city.
The tour also includes a wine tasting at Chenonceau castle, where you will learn many of the stories behind one of the most beautiful castles in the region.
Château de Chambord, Loire Valley, wine tasting and lunch
This option gives less importance to architecture and more to gastronomy. On the way from Paris to the Loire Valley, you will taste croissants while the guide tells you some stories about the region.
Then you will visit the Chambord castle with an audio guide. You will then travel through the beautiful vineyards of Touraine, Vouvray, and Montlouis-Sur-Loire.
You will visit two wineries and at one of them, you will enjoy a gourmet lunch and a wine tasting of Loire Valley wines.
More Day Trips From Paris
- Visit the Château de Chenonceau
- Visit the Palace of Versailles
- Visiting Giverny and Monet’s House from Paris
- Touring the Champagne area
- Visit London in a Day From Paris
- The Seasons in France
- What to Bring to Paris according to the season.
- Romantic Plans in Paris in Winter