The Loire Valley lies in a lush pastoral landscape that has traditionally provided some of the nation's agricultural treasures, from wine to sausage to regional cheeses. For this reason, it's often called the Garden of France. Come here to explore the side streets of historic villages like Amboise, Nantes, Chinon and Orleans. Go on a hike or bicycle trek and take in the bucolic scenery of the countryside. And most importantly, visit the Loire Valley for its castles. This area is a treasure trove of extraordinary architectural heritage and cultural monuments.
The Loire Valley is home to over 300 preserved castles, also called chateaux, which were built as far back as the 10th century. The tranquil climate and beautiful scenery here began to attract the attention of French kings centuries ago. They began to commission opulent homes and summer residences here, and as other nobility followed suit, castles began to proliferate along the Loire River and down the green fertile valley. Tour the lavish rooms and formal gardens of some of these elegant structures and learn more about the architecture, culture and history of this region.
Here are a few additional suggestions as you plan your trip:
- Visit the Chateau de Chenonceau: Originally constructed in 1435, this historic structure was torn down and then rebuilt on its foundations in 1522. Come here to explore its turrets and formal gardens.
- See the Chateau Royal de Blois: Built in the 15th century, this chateau has wings that were added later by both Louis XII and Francois I. Take a tour to see an impressive collection of furniture and other artifacts.
- Explore the Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau: Unlike the other castles in the area, this one is surrounded by a lake and can only be entered over a restored bridge.
- Explore the Fontevraud Abbey: Wander the grounds of this preserved 12th century monastery where Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart are buried.
- Visit the Chartres Cathedral: The stained glass windows and gothic architecture of this cathedral have now been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Take scenic boat tour down the Loire River: This is a great way to see the chateaux and the rest of the lovely French countryside.
You'll have no trouble finding a perfect place to stay in the villages and towns of the Loire Valley. Book a charming vacation rental close to your favorite sites and activities. Rent an elegant cottage, a country villa, or beautiful condo in the Loire Valley. During your visit to the Loire Valley, you may also want to visit Paris or one of the other beautiful and historic cities in the area including Le Mans and Chartres.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
New to FlipKey?
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 300,000 homes and rooms around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.
Find the vacation rental perfect for you. Learn how.