The Loire castles essential to visit

Château d'Ussé, in the Loire Valley

If it is your first time in France and you have time, there is a trip that you cannot miss: visiting the castles of the Loire.

There are many, so you will have to make a selection, but here I leave you mine, the Loire castles essential to visit.

Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau Castle, in the Loire

This castle cannot be missed on your tour because It is one of the most beautiful of everyone. Plus, it gives you a good look at what life was like in other times.

Chenonceau Castle

The castle has furniture, kitchen utensils and even a lit fireplace if you go in winter. It is a beautiful, elegant building with a lot of harmony.

Chenonceau Castle

It has no cons, everything is beautiful: from its gardens, through its bridge, its two roofed galleries over the Cher River where the dances were held, 60 meters long and 6 meters wide, its kitchens in the basement, its elegant bedrooms…

When I went to visit, the store was not yet open. Queen's Apothecary, the opening was in 2019, so don't miss it, because Catherine de' Medici was once here.

Chenonceau Castle Kitchen

Calculate a four hour visit. If you arrive on an already organized tour they may offer you lunch. I don't know if it's convenient, because there is a certain schedule for that and it cuts you off from any walk you want to do on your own. Anyway there is a kiosk and you can buy something there and eat in the gardens.

Chenonceau Castle It is near Amboise.

Villandry Castle

Villandry Castle

If you liked the elegant gardens of Chenonceau, then you will fall in love with those of Villandry. This castle is special for lovers of plants and nature. renaissance design of green spaces.

There is a great diversity of flora and the different shades of green and colors can be seen from the first floor of the castle. The truth is that together with the building they form a great postcard.

Villandry Castle

Inside there is a beautiful Living room with wooden ceiling and Moorish style. Composed of 3600 pieces, it was purchased and reassembled by the owner of the property in 1905, coming from the palace of the Dukes of Maqueda, in Toledo, Spain.

The castle is open from the beginning of February to mid-November and in December. There are guided tours lasting an hour and a half, and about 200 meters from the entrance there is even a large parking lot.

Villandry Castle

You can walk through the very spacious gardens, you can eat something light and at a good price at the entrance doors, and finally the complete tour will not take you more than three hours.

Villandru Castle It is close to the city of Tours.

Chambord castle


Although it is not the most beautiful, it is one of the best known because It's literally huge.. Chambord has an impressive size and design, and dozens of rooms.

Inside, you can even go up or down the famous helix-shaped staircase that is said to be the work of Da Vinci. The particular thing about this staircase is that whoever goes up and whoever comes down does not see each other's faces.

Helix staircase, in Chambord

Visitors can wander around at will as there are few rooms with furniture. The charming thing is that everywhere you see the king's initials or you can walk along its terraces to contemplate the landscapes.

One of the most beautiful corners is the XNUMXth century chapel which is in the northwest tower of the castle. A pair of stained glass windows added in the 19th century add more charm.

Chambord castle

It is said that the king barely spent a night in such a castle. But, nobility obliges, you have to visit it. He doesn't spend much time on it, just an hour and a half and there are three places where you can eat something.

Blois is the closest town.

Valencay Castle

Valencay Castle

This castle is plus a beautifully furnished and decorated palace and that is why you visit it.

The castle is Renaissance style, with a curved plan and towers, does not stand out much from the group of castles in the valley. But at the beginning of the 19th century it was acquired by the Prince of Tayllerand, France's foreign minister for many years.

Valencay Castle 2

The prince furnished and decorated it again, so today It is a great window into the daily life of this social class in that time of Bonaparte, especially.

The prince really liked gastronomy and his dining room, with capacity for 36 guests, it's a luxury. Another special room is Hall of the King of Spain, with an empire-style set of furniture, Louis XVI style, manufactured at the time for the future king of Spain, Ferdinand VII.

Valencay Castle

Outside the castle the gardens open up beautifully for walks and the path will take you to a kind of beautifully decorated natural ballroom.

The Castle is open from mid-March to mid-November. There are guided tours, free parking and the gardens offer electric cars to go further. You can have tea or dinner, and in the park, have a picnic.

Blois or Tours are the closest cities.

Chateau d'Ussé

Chateau d'Ussé

If you like children's stories or have children, you can come and see this beautiful castle that It has served as inspiration for Charles Perrault for Sleeping Beauty.

The Castle d'Ussé It is beautiful, small and with charming gardens that look at the Indre. Very romantic, as it should be.

Château d'Ussé, in the Loire

The construction of the castle extended throughout three centuries, so the architecture is mixed, so to speak. There are medieval elements, Gothic inspiration and also a certain Renaissance style.

There is a beautiful Brussels tapestry collection in what was once a gallery open to the patio. There's also dungeons with some wax dolls representing the characters from Sleeping Beauty and some medieval fortress-style constructions that will attract the little ones.

Chateau d'Ussé

The castle is open from mid-February to mid-November and can be visited in about two hours. Parking at the entrance is free and outside, in front, you can buy some snacks.

Tours and Saumur are the two cities that are closest.

Of course these are not the only castles in the Loire, there are many others. Not all of them are offered on tours from Paris, so it is best to rent a car and go looking for them. If possible.

The tour that I took on my visit to France a few years ago was the one offered by France Tourisme, which departs and returns to the Louvre Agency: from 7:15 am to 7:15 pm. Includes transportation, entrance to three castles (Chenonceau, Chambord and Cheverny) and guide in Spanish.

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