The Best Castles in the Loire Valley

With close proximity to Paris, many vineyards, stunning nature, and historic chateaux, the Loire Valley is a wonderful area for a holiday. You can find many castles in the Loire Valley (more than 300), each with its own unique history.

In the Loire Valley, you can find many former French royal castles and the wedding venue of the former King of England. The Loire Valley is also the home of some of the greatest Renaissance castles in France. This article shows you the best castles in the Loire Valley that you can visit. These castles can be visited on a day trip from Paris.

At the end of this post, you’ll find a Google Map of the castles in the Loire Valley.

33 castles in the Loire Valley that you should visit

photo: Wladyslaw Sojka / CC BY-SA 3.0

Château Chenonceau

Chenonceau Castle is a Gothic and Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley. It was built in 1513 and houses many tapestries and an impressive art collection, including Old Masters. After the Palace of Versailles, it’s the most visited castle in France.

Chenonceau is a castle built by women, many famous French women have left their mark on this castle including: Katherine Briçonnet (the first owner), several Queens and Royal mistresses, and heiress Marguerite Pelouze. During the First World War, the castle was a military hospital. The Menier family, who have lived here since 1913, helped to smuggle out people who escaped the Nazi tyranny.

The castle has several gardens, including a Renaissance garden, an English-style garden, a maze, and a flower garden. The castle also hosts the Floral Workshop.

Chateau Chenonceau opening times: The castle is open every day of the year. Book your ticket online.

Address: Chateau Chenonceau, 37150 Chenonceaux, France

photo: Marco K. / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château Villandry

In the early 16th century, Jean Breton, François I’s finance minister, bought a medieval fortress near Tours. The current chateau was built around this 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace. In the early 19th century, Emperor Napoleon acquired the chateau for his brother. Chateau Villandry is famous for its Renaissance gardens, which were remodeled in the early 20th century by Joachim Carvallo.

Chateau Villandry opening times: The gardens are open all year round. The castle is open from February 5 -November 13 and from December 3, 2022, to January 2, 2023. Buy your ticket online.

Address: 3 rue Principale, 37510 Villandry

photo: Krzysztof Golik / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord is a French Renaissance castle built in 1519 by King François I. Chateau de Chambord is the largest castle in the Loire Valley and was originally constructed as the hunting lodge of François I.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site offers one of the finest tapestry collections of France. Surrounding the palace are formal gardens, a deer park with walking trails, vineyards, and stables (horse carriage rides are also offered).

Chateau de Chambord opening times: The castle is open all year round except January 1, November 28, and December 25. You can book your ticket online.

Address: Château de Chambord, 41250 Chambord, France

photo: Benh Lieu Song / CC BY-SA 2.0

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau

Set on an island in the Indre River stands the Azay-le-Rideau castle. The castle that was built in 1518 by King Francis I is one of the finest early French Renaissance castles in the country. The castle is well known for its water mirror, which is a beautiful sight.

The interiors are influenced by the Italian Renaissance style, and many rooms display 16th—and 17th-century Flemish tapestries. An English landscape-style garden surrounds the castle.

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau opening times: The castle is open daily, all year round, except January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th. You can book your ticket online.

Address: Rue de Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau, France

photo: Cinoworus / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de l’Islette

Chateau de l’Islette is a 16th-century Renaissance castle surrounded by two branches of the Indre. It is close to the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau and shares architectural similarities.

Camille Claudel and Rodin were frequent guests at the castle. The current family still lives at the castle.

Chateau de l’Islette opening times: The castle is open daily from May-September. Groups can book a tour all through the year. Visit the website for more information.

Address: Château de l’Islette – D57, 9 route de Langeais 37190, France 

photo: Gaetan Lafon / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château d’Amboise

Set on a rock overlooking the Loire, Amboise Castle was home to the French monarchy from the 15th to the 19th century. The castle has a prominent role in French history and was often visited by notable people such as Leonardo da Vinci, whose tomb is preserved at the château.

The luxurious French castle has Gothic chambers and apartments in Renaissance style. From the balconies, the roofs, and the terraced gardens, you can enjoy the Loire landscape.

Chateau d’Amboise opening times: The castle is open every day of the year, except 1st January and 25th December.

Address: Mnt de l’Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 Amboise, France

photo: Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château du Clos Lucé

500 meters from the Chateau d’Amboise – and connected by an underground passageway – stands Chateau du Close Lucé. This chateau, built in pink bricks and freestone, was a Royal residence. However, it is best known for being the place where Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519.

During a visit you explore the world of Leonardo da Vinci, inside the castle and in the gardens. There are also tours for children.

Chateau du Clos Lucé opening times: The castle is open daily, except 25th December and 1st January. Visit the website for opening times.

Address: 2 Rue du Clos Lucé, 37400 Amboise, France

photo: Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0

Château d’Ussé

The Chateau d’Ussé is located next to the Chinon forest and overlooks the Indre valley. The castle is designed partly in a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The castle was one of the castles that inspired Charles Perrault’s “Sleeping Beauty” castle. It has been a family home for the Dukes of Blacas for the last two centuries.

The castle offers richly decorated rooms with 16th and 17th century tapestries, paintings of the Great Masters and impressive architectural features. Surrounding the castle are formal French gardens designed by Le Nôtre, who also designed the gardens of Versailles.

Chateau d’Ussé opening times: The castle is open from February 13th to November 14th. There are information sheets in several languages and a treasure hunt for children.

Address: Château d’ Ussé, 37420 Rigny-Ussé

photo: Tango7174 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Blois

Chateau Royal de Blois is a former Royal castle in Blois, built between the 13th and 17th centuries. This unique castle in the Loire valley consists of four wings, each in its own architectural style. There are remains of the 13th-century Medieval fortress, a Louis XII Gothic-style wing, a Francis I Renaissance-style wing, and the Gaston of Orléan Classical-style wing.

At the castle you can visit the Royal apartments and a Fine Arts Museum with works by Ingres, Rubens, Boucher and more. All this is set in architectural splendor. From April-September there is a Sound & Light show, a festival of visual and aural special effects synchronized with the grandiose architecture of the court.

Chateau de Blois opening times: The castle is open every day of the year except January 1st and December 25th.

Address: 6 Pl. du Château, 41000 Blois, France

photo: Adriano Russo / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Cheverny

Chateau de Cheverny has been owned (on and off) by the Hurault family for over 600 years. The castle you see today was built in 1624 by designs of the sculpture architect of the Chateau de Blois. The castle offers a large collection of well-preserved furniture and decor from over the centuries. For children, they offer a mystery game.

Surrounding the castle is an English-style park, which can be seen by electric boat and car. There are also four gardens: a tulip garden, a maze, The Garden of Love with monumental bronzes by Swedish sculptor Gudmar Olovson, and a pleasure garden.

Chateau de Cheverny opening times: The chateau is open to visitors every day of the year.

Address: Chateau de Cheverny, 41700 Cheverny, France

photo: Aliasse16 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château du Rivau

Rivau Castle is a French Medieval castle and one of the oldest in the Loire Valley. In 1429, Joan of Arc and her followers fetched their horses at Chateau du Riveau. A century later, new stables were built, which would become the Royal stables of King Henri III.

The castle is most famous for its gardens and contemporary art. The 12 gardens of the Chateau du Rivau are inspired by fairytales and legends. The gardens also display a collection of more than 300 roses. Throughout the gardens, many artworks are displayed.

The castle also houses Bed and Breakfast rooms and two restaurants.

Chateau du Rivau opening times: The castle is open April-November, you can buy your ticket online.

Address: Château du Rivau, 9 rue du château 37120 Lémeré

photo: Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Château de Langeais

Chateau de Langeais is a late Medieval castle built by King Louis XI. On December 6, 1491 an historic even took place in the castle with the marriage of Charles VIII of France and Anne of Brittany. This was the beginning of the incorporation of the duchy of Brittany into the French kingdom.

The castle tour includes 15 rooms showcasing the life and furnishings of the 15th and 16th centuries. Surrounding the castle is parkland with a children’s playground, a belvedere, and more.

Chateau de Langeais opening times: The castle is open all year round. You can buy your ticket online.

Address: Place Pierre de Brosse, 37130 Langeais, France

photo: Zairon / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire

The castle was founded in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 15th century by Charles I d’Amboise in Renaissance style. In 1750, the North Wing was torn down to give a better view of the Loire.

Besides the castle, the domain is also an arts center with 55 contemporary art installations and exhibitions. And each year it hosts the International Garden Festival.

Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire opening times: The Château and the Centre for Arts and Nature are open all year round, except on on January 1st and December 25th. The Garden Festival is from April-November.

Address: Chateau de Chaumont, 41150 Chaumont-sur-Loire, France

photo: Zairon / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château d’Azay-le-Ferron

Château d’Azay-le-Ferron is a castle with architecture dating from the 15th to 18th century. It has been owned by the Hersent Luzarche family since 1832. During the tour of 15 castle rooms, you will encounter many interior styles and artworks.

Parklands and gardens designed by the Bülher Brothers surround the castle. It also has some of the best topiary gardens in France.

Chateau d’Azay-le-Ferron opening times: The castle is open daily from March-November. Visit the website for current opening hours.

Address: Château, parc et jardins d’Azay-le-Ferron, 31/33 rue Hersent-Luzarche, 36290 Azay-le-Ferron

photo: Selbymay / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Brissac

Chateau de Brissac—also named the “Giant of the Loire Valley”—is the highest castle in France, with its seven floors. It is in the Baroque style and has been owned by the Brissac family since 1502.

The interior reflects centuries of castle history with historic rooms, paintings, and even a 200-seat opera house. The castle visit ends in the castle’s cellar with a tasting of the property’s wines.

Chateau de Brissac opening times: The castle is open throughout the year, for current opening times visit the website. From April-October the castle also offers Bed and Breakfast rooms.

Address: 1 Rue Jeanne Say, 49320 Brissac-Loire-Aubance, France

photo: Jean-Christophe Benoist / CC BY 3.0

Château de Valençay

Château de Valençay is one of the most beautiful Renaissance castles in the Loire Valley. Construction started in 1540, but remodels changed its appearance until the 18th century. The castle was the home of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (minister to Napoleon), who is also buried here.

The interiors are some of the best Empire-style interiors you can find in France. During the Second World War it housed works of art from the Louvre. Surrounding the castle is a large parkland and both indoors and outside are children activities.

Château de Valençay opening times: daily from 19th March to 13th November 2022 and from 17th décember 2022 to 3rd January 2023. (closed on 25th December and 1th January). You can buy your ticket on the website.

Address: 2 Rue de Blois, 36600 Valençay, France

photo: Zairon / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Chinon

Chateau de Chinon was founded in the 10th century and is set on a rock overlooking the river Vienne. In the centuries after that it became a Royal residence and Joan of Arc also stayed at the castle. It was used as a prison in the 16th century.

It is now a museum with many Medieval artifacts. The castle offers several children’s activities.

Chateau de Chinon opening times: The castle is open daily, except 1st January and 25th December. You can buy your ticket online.

Address: 2 Rue de Chateau, 37500 Chinon, France

Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Château du Lude

Chateau du Lude is the most northern chateau in the Loire Valley. The castle dates back to the 10th century and it played an important part in the Hundred Years War. The castle is unique since it displays four French architecture styles. In 1457, the castle was transformed from a fortress into a residence with an Italian Renaissance facade. In the 18th century a Classical wing was added and in the 19th century the Northern facade was restored in Gothic style.

Inside the house, you also see a variety of styles, like the Renaissance library and studio, painted by the school of Rafael, or the classical drawing rooms and the medieval kitchen.

Chateau de Lude opening times: The castle is open daily from April-August. In other months the opening days vary, visit the website for actual information.

Address: 4, Rue Jehan de Daillon, 72800 Le Lude, France

photo: Gilbert Bochenek

Château de Candé

Chateau de Candé is a Renaissance and Neo-Gothic castle in the commune of Monts. In 1927, the castle was modernized, and the eight bedrooms got en-suite bathrooms in art-deco style. The castle is best known for being the location of the wedding of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson in 1937.

Chateau de Candé opening times: The castle is open in selected months. Visit the website for the latest information.

Address: Domaine de Candé, Route du Ripault, 37260 Monts, France

photo: Air’L / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Serrant

Château de Serrant is a Renaissance castle that is the private residence of the Prince of Merode. Many notable people have owned the home, and it is known for its large library, vaulted halls, medieval kitchen, and the 1st Empire period room, furniture, and art objects remembering the coming of Napoleon the 1st and Joséphine de Beauharnais at the castle of Serrant.

During a tour, you can tour the richly decorated rooms set in a castle with beautiful architecture. Surrounding the castle is an English-style parkland.

Château de Serrant opening times: The castle is open from February 12th to November 13th in 2022. For opening hours and tickets you can visit the website.

Address: Château de Serrant, 49170 Saint-Georges-sur-Loire, France

photo: Rolf Kranz / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Saumur

Château de Saumur was built as a stronghold against Norman attacks. But later, it became a Royal domain. The castle is located on The Valley of Kings surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Loire Valley. The castle houses the municipal museum as well as a Horse Museum.

Château de Saumur opening times: the castle is open February-December, though not every day. Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: Château de Saumur, 49400 Saumur, France

photo: Laurent Froumenty / CC BY-SA 3.0

Château de Châteaudun

The chateau overlooks the Loire river and was originally a 12th-century fortress. Jean de Dunois – also known as the “Bastard of Orléans” – transformed it into a comfortable Renaissance residence, but the main body of the building is roofed in Gothic style. Châteaudun is one of the earliest castles built simply for leisure.

Château de Châteaudun opening times: The castle is open daily, except 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. You can buy your ticket online.   

Address: Pl. Jehan de Dunois, 28200 Châteaudun, France

photo: Marc Ryckaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Brézé

Surrounded by vineyards, this castle was built over a long period of time (11th-19th century) but the main features are Renaissance (though some Medieval elements also remain). The castle has vast underground tunnels and the largest underground medieval bakeries in France.

The castle hosts many events in winter and summertime, such as exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and plays that will transport you back to historic times.

Château de Brézé opening times: the castle is open daily from February-December. You can buy your ticket online.

Address: Bellevigne-les-Chateaux, 20 Rue de l’Amiral Maillé Brézé, 49260, France

Château d’Angers

Chateau d’Angers is a medieval fortress with 17 towers built from 1230 onwards. The castle is the home of the Tapestry of the Apocalypse, the largest set of medieval tapestries to have survived. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Dukes of Anjou held court in Angers. The castle is now a museum housing the oldest and largest collection of medieval tapestries in the world.

Chateau d’Angers opening times: The castle is open daily except 1st January, 1st May, and 25th December. You can buy your ticket online.

Address: 2 Prom. du Bout du Monde, 49100 Angers, France

photo: Suavemarimagno / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Montsoreau

Château de Montsoreau is a Flamboyant Gothic castle and the only castle built in the Loire riverbed. The castle was built in 1450 by one of the richest men in the kingdom, John II of Chambes. The castle was also written about in the novel La Dame de Monsoreau by Alexandre Dumas.

The castle is now the home of the Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art, with the world’s largest collection of works by the Art & Language movement. 

Château de Montsoreau opening times: the museum is open daily (closed on December 24th, 25th and January 1st and from January 3rd to 31st 2022.)

Address: Passage du Marquis de, Pass. de Geoffre, 49730 Montsoreau, France

Château de Montreuil-Bellay

Château de Montreuil-Bellay is a Medieval/Renaissance castle that is still lived in by its current owners. The castle has been a Royal residence and was owned by many notable people in French history. During the First World War, the castle was a hospital for wounded soldiers.

Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens and vineyards. The wines are made in the 15th century cellars. On the estate lies also the hotel SPA Le Relais du Bellay with 22 rooms (some with view of the castle).

Château de Montreuil-Bellay opening times: the castle is open from April-December, for current opng hours you can visit the website.

Address: Pl. des Ormeaux, 49260 Montreuil-Bellay, France

photo: Gerd Eichman / CC BY-SA 4.0

Château de Beauregard

Château de Beauregard is a Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley on the edge of the Russy Forest which served as the King’s Minister’s Residence. The Renaissance castle was built in 1545 and incorporated an older structure. The castle is known for its Gallery of Portraits, the largest in Europe to have survived, with 327 portraits of famous people.

Château de Beauregard opening times: the castle is open from May-November. Visit the website for current opening hours.

Address: 12 Chem. de la Fontaine, 41120 Cellettes, France

Château d’Oiron

Château d’Oiron is a Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley built in the 15th century by Guillaume Gouffier. In the 17th century the castle was sold to Louis XIV’s mistress, Madame de Montespan who lived here the rest of her life. The castle is also the background for Charles Perrault’s fairy tale, Puss in Boots.

Today, the castle houses the contemporary art collection Curios & Mirabilia, loosely based on the theme of the curiosity cabinet in reference to the art collection of Claude Gouffier, master of King Henry II of France’s stables.

Château d’Oiron opening times: the museum is open thoughout the years, for current opening hours visit the website.

Address: 10 Rue du Château, 79100 Plaine-et-Vallées, France

Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre

Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre is originally a 11th century castle, but rebuilt in the 15th century. It differs from most Loire castles by its plain but strong architecture. It has late Medieval and Renaissance elements.

Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre opening times: The castle is open all year round (with a few exceptions). Visit the website for current opening times.

Address: 1 Rue Henri Goyer, 41120 Le Controis-en-Sologne, France

Château de Loches

Chateau de Loches is a 9th century castle overlooking the river Indre. The castle, with a massive square keep, was captured by King Philip II in 1204. The castle is now a museum that houses one of the largest collections of Medieval armor in France.

Chateau de Loches opening times: The castle is open daily, except 1st January and 25th December. You can buy your ticket online.

Address: 5 place Charles VII, 37600 Loches, France

Château de Montrésor

The estate consists of two castles: the remains of a 1000 year old medieval fortress and a Renaissance castle. In 1849 the castle was bought by the mother of Count Branicki. He was a friend of Napolean III and restored the castle with rich furnishings and art. The castle is now alos home to Polish historical artefacts which are displayed in the museum.

Chateau de Montrésor opening times: The castle is open February-November.

Address: 11 Rue Xavier Branicki, 37460 Montrésor, France

Château Le Grand-Pessigny

In the 12th century, Guillaume I of Pressigny, built the first stone castle. This Medieval castle transformed into a Renaissance castle by Honorat de Savoie-Villars, a cousing of King François I.

Today, the Prehistoric Museum of Grand-Pessigny now houses in the Renaissance gallery.

Address: Prehistoric Museum of Grand-Pessigny, 37350 Le Grand Pressigny

Château de Montpoupon

Montpouon Castle is originally a Medieval fortress that was rebuilt during the Renaissance. The castle has been owned by the same family since 1857 and it is still a private castle. You can tour the dining room, private quarters, the King’s Room, and the 19th century kitchen.

The castle also houses a museum with 30 rooms dedicated to the craftsmen of the hunt.

Chateau de Montpoupon opening times: The castle is open daily from April-November. In November it is opened on selected days, and the castle is also open for “Christmas in Montpoupon”. Visit the website for information.

Address: Château de Montpoupon, 37460 Céré-la-Ronde, France

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