Want to know more about the lifestyles of French royalty? Head to the picturesque Loire Valley, home to many of France's famous châteaux. Dicover the splendours of Chambord and the feminine elegance of Chenonceau. Kids are promised an amusing time at Cheverny, which shares a very strong connection with a much-loved detective and his dog!
Touring in Tours
Well connected to Paris by train, vibrant Tours is an ideal base for your discovery of Château Country - the Loire Valley. A healthy mix of culture, gastronomy and sightseeing make a discovery of the city absolutely worth your while. Be sure to include:
- Delightful discoveries of the Tours Cathedral, Fine Arts Museum and the former Archbishop's Palace, which houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and works of art.
- A glass of chilled Vouvray at the bustling Place Plumerau teeming with cafés and populated with locals
- For foodies, a cooking class with a chef who decodes the secrets of French gastronomy!
On The Château Trail
The très elegant Chenonceau woos you with its picturesque setting - its two gardens with flowers, the Cher river and the avenue of trees that leads you to the Château. This jewel of the Renaissance period shares a very special association with women who have played an important role in its history. Visit it all - richly furnished rooms, Flemish tapestries and a vast gallery overlooking the Cher. Interesting fact: with five arches spanning the Cher, this is the only chateau in the world which is also a bridge! Stop off for a meal at the Orangerie - a restaurant located in the estate.
The Château de Chambord - once the hunting lodge of Francois I - is as impressive as it is grandoise. The emblematic representation of the Renaissance perios, the château - one of the largest in the Loire - lies in the heart of Europe's largest park. Impressive fact: the Domaine de Chamobrd is surrounded by a 32 kms wall and spans an area of 5,440 hectares. The UNESCO Classified monument invites you to discover its double helix staircase, its panoramic views from the rooftops and its well-furnished rooms.
The Château de Cheverny is a must-visit for Tintin fans. Legendary Captain Haddock's (blustering barnacles!) Marlinspike Hall welcomes many Tintin fans even today. Discover the Château's vivid heritage through its botanical park and its well preserved rooms to its sprawling gardens and forest.
If that's not enough, then add visits to the Château d'Amboise - a medieval fortress that became a royal residence during the reign of Charles VIII and Francois I and is now the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci, the Fortress of Chinon with its towers, battlements and dungeons and the very romantic Azay-le-Rideau set on an island in the Indre river.
Know Before You Go
Paris and Tours are 90 minutes apart by train. The route is very well serviced by TGV and Intercity trains.
Take on châteaux discoveries through guided tours or plan individual visits to those that catch your fancy!