The Loire Valley Castles
In this article, you will find the main exceptional castles of the Loire Valley, which are also classified as World Heritage by Unesco.
They are historical monuments each telling different stories. They are unique and show how France is a country filled with wealth with an important heritage!
The Loire Valley is about 2 hours from Paris. It is a region for strolling outside the capital and discovering incredible cultural landscapes.
During this report to photograph the castles of the Loire, I was accompanied by my son. Castles are interesting sites for both adults and children. Through these expeditions, we transmit a part of French history to the youngest. So come and explore these magnificent places with your family!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
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).
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
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.
Castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire
Built from the 15th century to protect the city of Blois against attacks from the Anjou tales, it is listed as a historical monument.
You will discover a castle in Gothic and Renaissance style, with richly decorated rooms.
Then you can visit the beautiful stables and a collection of contemporary art. The park offers incredible landscapes and it hosts festivals and events during the summer period.
Castle of Cheverny
Designed by the architect Jacques Bougier in a classic style, this castle, listed as a historical monument, was built in the 17th century. This property has belonged to the same family for over six centuries and offers visitors incredible treasures such as tapestries, period furniture etc.
The castle gardens and the English park are incredible. You can also go electric boating and enjoy a gourmet break at the Orangerie café (April to November).
He inspired Hergé for the creation of the Château de Moulinsart in the comic strip “The Adventures of Tintin”. He received the Château de Cheverny prize for French historical comics in 2004.
Castle of Beauregard
The 16th century castle of Beauregard is located in Loir-et-Cher, south of Blois. It is famous because it contains a large portrait gallery painted on canvas unique in Europe, measuring 26 meters long and 6 meters wide. A lapis lazuli ceiling and paving of 5,600 Delft earthenware tiles, a 16th century kitchen and collector’s furniture make this castle unique.
Former hunting lodge of Chambord, this jewel of the Loire Valley in a 40 hectare park still little known to the general public.
Castle of Villesavin
The Villesavin castle is a castle located in France in the town of Tour-en-Sologne, in the department of Loir-et-Cher. Built between 1527 and 1537 by Jean le Breton, it is classified as a historical monument.
It is inspired by Italian Renaissance villas and the facades refer to the castle of Chambord.
In addition, during this getaway, you can visit the wedding museum, the orangery, the guard room, the chapel with painted vaults.
Castle of Blois
The construction of the castle of Blois began in the 13th century and ended in the 17th century. Located in the city of Blois, the castle has facades embodying 4 great periods of French architecture, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 17th century. The castle of Blois was the favorite residence of the kings of France during the Renaissance.
It contains a collection of over 35,000 works with sculptures, paintings, antique furniture etc. The castle hosts events all year round, with exhibitions, sound and light shows etc. And many sites around the castle are worth a visit: with restaurants, the tourist office, the garden, the Resistance museum.