The Loire Valley Castles: introduction

Here is finally my article on the Castles of the Loire Valley. Attention this article is not exhaustive. I did not visit and take pictures of all the Loire Valley Castles. For example, I have never yet made beautiful pictures in Chaumont sur Loire or Cheverny, as well as Blois.

There are also some Loire Valley castles that I know very well like the castle of Chenonceau, or the Rivau for example to go there often.

Map Loire Valley Castle

Castle of Chambord

Probably the best known of the Loire Valley castles. The Castle of François 1st is also the first large castle to be visited on the way down from Paris. It is indeed about 2h30 by car on the highway from the Capital.

The particularity of the Domain of Chambord is that its park remains open H24 so it is possible to come to make photos in the early morning or late evening.

The facade of the Castle is beautiful to take both at sunrise and sunset.

  • At sunrise, it is possible to see the mist in the moat!
  • At sunset, the facade becomes golden or even pink!

The interior of the castle is also interesting to visit for its architecture!

Baie de La Baule

Castle of Chenonceau

The Castle of Chenonceau is the most visited and probably my favorite because it is only located on the Cher river.

The park and the castle can be visited during opening hours. On the other hand, it is possible to go to the other side of the Cher and walk along the bank at any time and free of charge.

You can take pictures of the castle at sunrise and sunset.

It is also worthwhile to fly over the castle in a hot air balloon. You will realize the beauty of its garden and its layout across the Cher river.

Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritage - Chenonceau

Castle of Azay-le-Rideau

The Castle of Azay-le-Rideau is a Loire Valley castle emblematic of Touraine and dates from the 16th century.

It is surrounded by a large basin so that it is possible to make beautiful pictures of the castle with its reflection on the water.

I advise to visit it especially in spring with its flowered garden and in autumn with the brown colors of the dead leaves.

Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -06

Castle of Villandry

The gardens of the Castle of Villandry are remarkable and a must if you are passing through the region.

It is nevertheless necessary to make sure that the gardens are in bloom because visually, the rendering will not be the same.

A fireworks display is organized in the summer (in July and August). The gardens are also illuminated on this occasion.

Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -01

Castle of Rivau

The Castle of Rivau and its gardens are just a few minutes from Chinon.

This castle is well worth the detour, its gardens literally transports us to Alice in Wonderland!

Inside the castle, we discover the unique personality of the castle through surprising art exhibitions! I won’t tell you more 😉

Two great moments to visit the gardens of the castle and take the most beautiful pictures:

  • In May when the garden is full of roses
  • In October when you will see an army of pumpkins in the garden!
Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -09

Castle of Amboise

The royal castle of Amboise is a former residence of the Kings of France in the 15th and 16th century. It is also known to be the residence of the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci in his Saint-Hubert Chapel.

The photo spots to make in the Castle of Amboise and its surroundings are the following:

  • The view of the Castle along the Loire River from the Ile d’Or (with the reflection on the Loire River if there is not too much wind / current)
  • The view at the end of Ile d’Or with the Marechal Leclerc Bridge
    Several interesting points of view in the garden of the Castle (like my photo taken at sunset)
Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -13

Castle of Clos Lucé

The Castle of Clos Lucé, formerly the Manoir du Cloux, is known to be the back home of Leonardo da Vinci who spent the last three years of his life here.

The gardens of Le Clos Lucé lend themselves well to a stroll. There are models of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions.

Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -13

Castle and Royal City of Loches

The Royal City of Loches includes the 11th century keep and the 14th century royal dwelling perched at the top of the medieval city of Loches.

This unique architectural ensemble reminds me a bit of Rocamadour or the Mont Saint-Michel. 

The best time to take a picture of the Royal City is in the morning and seen from the outside (the Prairies du Roy).

Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -16

Castle of Langeais

The Castle of Langeais has a great historical importance: it is the place of the marriage between Anne of Brittany and the King of France Charles VIII in 1491, thus marking the end of the independence of Brittany.

This castle offers a number of interesting shots:

  • The perspective of the street leading to the Castle
  • In front of the castle (plan a very wide angle). I could not make a suitable photo as it was under construction.
  • The view of the garden from the dungeon
Loire Valley Castle - Chateau de la Loire - Loic Lagarde - France - UNESCO World Heritagev -04

The Castle of Lude

The Castle of Lude is one of the most northerly castles of the Loire Valley. It is located in the Sarthe region south of Le Mans.

It was occupied by the English during the Hundred Years War.

The architecture of this castle is very interesting: a medieval facade with its drawbridge and a renaissance facade with its garden.

Sound and light are organized in the garden of the castle in summer.

Loire Valley - Chateau de la loire - Le Lude 01

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