The Loire river Valley

The three castles in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley abounds in ancient castles making this central region one of the most popular destinations for visitors in France. Today the whole valley is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Just two hours from Paris the Loire River slowly flows through a gorgeous landscape where medieval fortresses and Renaissance palaces are strung out like jewels along its banks.

Due to the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) in the 15th century French Kings preferred to live far from Paris and established theirs residences in well-fortified and comfortable castles. There are several dozens of ancient castles in the Loire valley.

We have made our choice for this tour and suggest to visit three most famous royal castles in Blois, Amboise and Chenonceau - three fine jewels of the French Renaissance.

Our first destination is the city of Blois, a delightful city with its old streets clustering around the Château de Blois. Standing high above the town the extraordinary château features three wings built in different styles as its construction took quite long time. You will see architectural gems of Louis XII (15century), Francis 1 (16th century) and Gaston d’Orléan (17 century).

Our next stop will be in the city of Amboise. It obtained its Renaissance look after a reconstruction undertaken by the King Charles VIII. This castle was a great favorite of French monarchs, many of whom raised their families here. The King Francis I spent his childhood in Amboise. With such royal patronage, Amboise became a social and intellectual center; particularly after Francis I installed Leonardo da Vinci nearby at Clos Lucé. It was also used as a prison: Louis XIV incarcerated his steward Nicolas Fouquet here.

We have our lunch break either in Blois or in Amboise. Local restaurants offer good food and a great selection of local wines from the vineyards of the Loire Valley. The size of dishes and their quality will pleasantly surprise you. Local gastronomy is not worse than that of Paris.

Finally we are moving to the wonderful castle of Chenonceau which once belonged to different powerful Ladies. Diana de Poitier, the ever young favorite of the King Henri II, got it from him as a gift, then after the death of Henri his wife the Queen Catherine de Medici took this palace off the favorite and was enjoying it till her death in 1589. The chateau passed then to Louise de Lorraine – the White Queen.

The castle is surrounded by a magnificent park with picturesque flower beds.

Program

  • Blois Castle;
  • Lunch with wine tasting;
  • Amboise Castle;
  • Chenonceau Castle.

Price and timing

The journey takes an entire day-10-12 hours.

Price from 700 € for a group

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