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Things to do in  Loire Valley

Welcome to Loire Valley

Stretching 174 miles (280 kilometers) through central France along its eponymous river, the UNESCO-listed Loire Valley is a destination for its wealth of opulent chateaux, including famous examples in Amboise, Blois, Chenonceau, and Chambord. Fittingly, the Loire is also one of the country’s most celebrated wine regions, where award-winning producers turn out coveted bottles of red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert wines. Hopping between palaces and vineyards is one of the top things to do in the Loire Valley, but be sure to mix in visits to history-packed cities such as Orléans and Tours as well.

Top 10 attractions in Loire Valley

#1
Tours Old Town

Tours Old Town

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The old city center of Tours, called Old Town (Vieux Tours), is one of medieval-era winding streets, quaint shops, a bustling square (Place Pumereau) with cafes and restaurants and half-timbered homes that date back to the 14th century. With so much to see here, it's a wonder that the city had at one point slated to tear it all down in favor of a grid street system!Don't miss the St Gatien Cathedral, the weekly market in Place Jean Jaurès or the garden of the Musée des Beaux-Arts. This is where a cedar tree planted by Napoleon Bonaparte sits, as well as a bizarre stuffed elephant from the 1903 circus that came through town.More
#2
Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord

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The largest and most-visited castle among the 300 found in the Loire Valley, Château de Chambord is a grandiose example of French Renaissance architecture. Commissioned by King Francis I in 1519, and part of the region’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 426-room castle includes a moat and French formal garden.More
#3
Chateau Gaillard

Chateau Gaillard

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Take your place alongside royalty with a visit to Chateau Gaillard, one of the Loire Valley’s most celebrated palaces, commissioned by Charles VIII in 1496. The chateau is known for having some of the first Renaissance-style gardens in France, and today both its interior and grounds are open to visitors.More
#4
Château de Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau

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The Château de Chenonceau is France’s second-most-visited castle (after Versaille). The 16th-century UNESCO-listed castle is built over the Cher river, on top of a series of bridge-like arches, and looks like the scene of a fairy tail. The building is also famous for its relationship with the many powerful women who designed and owned it.More
#5
Machines of the Isle (Les Machines de L'ile)

Machines of the Isle (Les Machines de L'ile)

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Whether you’re climbing aboard a life-size mechanical elephant, riding on a carousel of fantastical sea creatures, or operating a flying machine, a visit to Les Machines de L'île is probably unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Inspired by the creations of novelist Jules Verne, Nantes’ flagship attraction is fun for all ages.More
#6
Château Royal d'Amboise

Château Royal d'Amboise

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Situated overlooking the city of Amboise and one of hundreds of UNESCO-listed Châteaux of the Loire, the grand Château Royal d'Amboise was home to French royalty from the 15th–19th centuries. Built in the Gothic and Renaissance styles in the late 15th century, the hilltop castle is accessible on foot, and just over an hour from Paris by train.More
#7
Nantes Art Museum (Musée d'Arts de Nantes)

Nantes Art Museum (Musée d'Arts de Nantes)

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Inaugurated in 1900 and currently undergoing a thorough renovation and extension by the Stanton Williams architect group, the Nantes Art Museum (Musée d'Arts de Nantes) is Nantes’ flagship art museum, celebrated for its large and varied collection of works, dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries.Highlights of the vast permanent collection include works by Delacroix, Rousseau, Tintoretto, Perugino, Renoir, and Gauguin, among many others, with key pieces including Rubens’ The Triumph of Judas Maccabaeus, Delaunay’s David Triumphant and Chagall’s Le Cheval Rouge. A well-established series of temporary exhibits complement the main displays, with a greater focus on contemporary art, while late openings on Thursday evenings include music, dance and literature inspired events.More
#8
Château de Langeais

Château de Langeais

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Château de Langeais is one of the Loire Valley's most interactive castles. Far from being just a remnant of the past, the interior features faithful recreations of not only the furniture and art that were once found in the rooms, but also period-correct lighting and even mannequins in period dress.More
#9
Château d’Angers

Château d’Angers

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The multiple drum towers that make up the imposing façade of this massive chateau were once a part of an impressive fortress inhabited by the Romans in the 9th century. After some additional construction, Château d’Angers was used as an armory in the First and Second World Wars. Today it’s been converted into an epic museum that houses the largest—and oldest—collection of medieval tapestries in the world.Visitors can venture past the castle’s three-meter-thick walls and explore the 17 towers that stretch high into the sky surrounding the city of Angers. Covering an area of more than 220,000 square feet, the castle grounds offer tourists plenty to discover outdoors before venturing inside to check out the museum’s galleries.More
#10
Rivau Castle (Chateau du Rivau)

Rivau Castle (Chateau du Rivau)

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With its medieval buildings and fairy-tale turrets encircled by landscaped gardens, lush woodlands, and bursts of lavender and roses—Chȃteau du Rivau is among the most underrated of the Loire Valley castles. Once visited by Joan of Arc, the 15th-century castle is also renowned for its Royal Stables.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Loire Valley

Day Tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Chambord & Caves Ambacia XVth century
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Loire Valley Wine Tour in Vouvray and Montlouis
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Loire Valley Day Tour from Amboise : Villandry, l'Islette and 2 Vouvray Wineries
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Loire Valley Half Day Wine Tour from City of Tours : 2 wine tastings in Vouvray
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Day tour of Chateaux of Chambord, Blois, Cheverny & wine tasting at local winery
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Loire Valley Day Tour from Tours : Villandry, l'Islette and 2 Vouvray Wineries
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Nantes City Pass

Nantes City Pass

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