Great castles of the Loire

Starting from Tours, which you must visit, this tour follows three major rivers: the Loire, the Cher and the Indre. 250 km (5 hours) of wonderment, with numerous parks and wooded areas, superb villages, troglodytic dwellings, abbeys, churches and of course some of the most beautiful châteaux of the Loire.

There are 5 tourist stops on this route. You are free to stay for a few minutes or a few hours.

  1. Amboise castle (*)
  2. Blois castle (*)
  3. Chambord castle (*)
  4. Cheverny castle (*)
  5. Chenonceau castle (*)

(*) Please check the opening hours and booking possibilities.

1. Amboise castle: Before being attached to the crown in 1434, the castle had belonged to the powerful House of Amboise for over four centuries. During the Renaissance, it served as a residence for several kings, notably Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I. It was partially destroyed after the Revolution: the royal dwelling, the chapel of Saint-Hubert where the presumed remains of Leonardo da Vinci lie, the terraces and the cavalry towers that give the monument its unique silhouette, however, remain from Charles VIII's project.

2. Blois castle: Classified as a historic monument since 1845, the Royal Castle of Blois presents a magnificent panorama of the art and history of the Loire Valley castles. Its four wings, surrounding the courtyard, form a unique example of the evolution of French architecture from the 13th to the 17th centuries. The building evokes, through its diversity of styles, the destiny of 7 kings and 10 queens of France.

3. Chambord castle: Built in the heart of the largest enclosed forest park in Europe, it is the largest of the Loire castles. It has a pleasure garden and a hunting park that are classified as historical monuments. Chambord is the only royal estate still intact since its creation. The site was originally a feudal motte, as well as the former castle of the Counts of Blois. The origin of the present castle dates back to the reign of the French king François I, who supervised its construction from 1519.

4. Cheverny castle: The Domaine de Cheverny is the family property of the Hurault de Vibraye, a family of financiers and officers, who distinguished themselves in the service of several kings of France. It has been in the same family for over six centuries. The castle has the particularity of having always been inhabited and still being so: the owners live in the right wing and each generation strives to maintain it with passion and to embellish it.

5. Chenonceau castle: Chenonceau, with its famous two-storey gallery overlooking the Cher, is one of the jewels of Loire Valley architecture. Its borrowings from Italy and its French characteristics are clearly perceptible. Chenonceau was built, developed and transformed by women of very different temperaments. It was built by Katherine Briçonnet in 1513, enriched by Diane de Poitiers and enlarged under Catherine de Medici. It became a place of meditation with the white queen Louise de Lorraine, then was saved by Louise Dupin during the French Revolution and finally transformed by Madame Pelouze.

GPS track