Welcome to the Best Chateaux (Castles) of The Loire Valley guide.
Header photo : Château de Chenonceau.
Table of contents
- 1 Chateau de Chenonceau
- 2 Chateau De Chambord
- 3 Chateau Royal d’Amboise
- 4 Chateau d’Azay-Le-Rideau
- 5 Chateau de Langeais
- 6 Chateau de Villandry
- 7 Chateau Du Clos Lucé
- 8 Chateau De Cheverny
- 9 Chateau de Brézé
- 10 Chateau De Beauregard
- Going more far
- Reference to Best Chateaux (Castles) Of The Loire Valley
- FAQ Best Chateaux (Castles) Of The Loire Valley
Château De Chenonceau
Built on the Cher river, Chenonceau is a ‘bridge-castle’ with its five arches. It’s our favorite with somes of my friends in this Best Chateaux (Castles) Of The Loire Valley guide . The refined architecture of this site is unique and we like the reflection of its graceful arches on the Cher river.
Chenonceau is also nicknamed »The Chateau des Dames », given the number of ladies who built, fitted out and transformed it : Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Médicis, Louise de Lorraine, Louise Dupin, madame Pelouze.
Important : In june 2022 as we writing, the reservation is mandatory.
In my bucket list : go down the Cher on a canoe and pass by boat under the arches of the castle. Indeed it is possible to rent a canoe and go down the Cher languid river.
Bedroom of Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers’ bedroom features a 19th century portrait of Catherine de Medicis by Sauvage as well as a 17th century blue four-poster bed.
Behind the four-poster bed, on the walls are two sixteenth-century Flanders tapestries, The Triumph of Strength, mounted on a chariot drawn by two lions, and surrounded by scenes from the Old Testament. In the upper border, the Latin phrase translates as “ He who loves the gifts of heaven with all his heart will not shrink from deeds that Piety dictates”;
the other tapestry is The Triumph of Charity, which, on a chariot, holds a heart in its hands and shows the Sun, surrounded by biblical episodes; the Latin sentence reads as: » He who shows strength of heart when in danger will receive Salvation as his reward at his time of death « .
Salon Louis XIV
The Renaissance style fireplace is decorated with the Salamander and the Ermine, in reference to King François I and Claude of France. Additionnally the cornice surrounding the exposed joist ceiling bears Bohier’s initials.
With a view overlooking the Cher, this former small library of Catherine de Medicis has an oak ceiling dating from 1525, in the Italian style, compartmentalized with beautiful wooden boxes.
The kitchens are installed in the basement which is accessed by a staircase located between the gallery and « the room of François Ier ». They consist of several rooms.
Château De Chambord
A must of magnificence, the château de chambord was originally designed as a hunting lodge for Francois 1er, the king of France.
Its very beautiful architecture reflecting in the placid waters of the Indre River, the Château d’Azay-Le-Rideau is located on an island of it. The castle is also surrounded by a wooded park. One of my favorite steps from this guide.
Château Royal d’Amboise
Located in the heart of the city of Amboise, the royal castle of Amboise enjoys a superb view overlooking the Loire river. It was the residence of several kings of France such as François 1er, Charles VIII or Louis XII.
The Saint-Hubert chapel would house the presumed tomb of Leonardo da Vinci who spent the last years of his life in Amboise.
Chateau de Langeais
Built on a promontory created by the small valley of the Roumer River at the opening to the Loire valley, the castle of Langeais was built from 1465 by the king of France Louis XI.
This castle is a personal favorite by its medieval aspect, its drawbridge but also by its superb collection of tapestries.
I can’t hide my excitement and the joy I felt crossing that drawbridge. Indeed, when I was 10 years old, I owned a small medieval castle with a drawbridge, I can’t count the number of fierce battles I fought with my little soldiers in medieval armor!!! The castle of Langeais is one of the few castles to keep a drawbridge of this type.
As an illustration, the following tapestry demonstrates the presence of astrology.
The tapestries were not only decorative, they were also useful in isolating cold stone, protecting from drafts.
In the children’s room, you will discover beautiful tapestries, such as this « Verdure aux aristoloches » from the 16th century, woven in Flanders.
The following details is a magnificent tapestry with many characters around vines, fruit trees and flowers. Several scenes (outdoor lunch, scenes of picking, hunting, etc.) enrich the decor (Flanders, late 15th – 16th centuries).
Inside the sacred art cabinet, the oldest work in the castle : a 13th century reliquary shrine in gilded wood, decorated with the Wise Virgins, the Foolish Virgins and the Apostles.
One of the biggest events of the chateau is the wedding of Charles VIII of France and Anne of Brittany took place, at dawn on December 6, 1491. At this time, the young Duchess was then only 14 years old and her marriage marked the end of the independence of the Duchy of Brittany and started its incorporation into the French kingdom . In the castle, the room VIII or wedding room presents the marriage.
Garden and the old keep
The current castle has replaced an old fortified castle built at the end of the 10th century by the Count of Anjou Foulques Nerra. Charles VII , the king of France, ordered to destroy the old castle, except the keep. That old keep, moreover, is one of the oldest in stone still standing today.
Chateau de Villandry
Famous for its renaissance gardens, the chateau De Villandry invites you to stroll among them or to contemplate them from the terraces or from the keep.
The Château de Villandry is the last of the great Loire Valley châteaux to be built during the Renaissance.
In the above image, the old keep on the right is from the medieval castle.
Jean Breton, the King’s Secretary of Finance, transformed the medieval fortress of Colombiers (the old city name) into an elegant château of the Renaissance starting from 1532 , by integrating the old keep into the renaissance style building.
In the south of the park The Audience is a small neoclassical pavilion covered with a slate roof. It was built in the 18th century by the Marquis de Castellane. In this building, the marquis « gave audience » to the farmers and peasants who worked on his land.
This type of construction, a « factory », is one of the components of French gardens in the 18th century
Château Du Clos Lucé
Located in the city of Amboise, the Château du Clos Lucé is the last residence of Leonardo Da Vinci.
He lived there three years here until the end of his life.
The rooms of the castle devoted to the many inventions and genius of Leonardo Da Vinci are amazing, from the first car to the swing bridge, passing by the tank and the machine gun and the ancestor of the helicopter, do not miss their visits!!
The visit of the raised park is very pleasant. Many models representing Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions have been reconstructed in the park, surrounded by magnificent trees.
Château De Cheverny
Serving as models for a famous Belgian comic strip »The Adventures of Tintin » and its three protagonists Captain Haddock, the young reporter Tintin and the dog Milou, Château De Cheverny was built in the 17th century between 1624 and 1634 in a classic style in tufa stone. The south facade of the castle is decorated with busts of Roman emperors.
It is one of the most visited Loire castles.
Salle à manger
Château de Brézé
Château de Brézé not only produces good Saumur wines, it is a »castle within a castle » with
its underground troglodyte castle dug into the tufa stone of the loire valley. It is unquestionably one
of the most original tours in this guide and a favourite. In any case, I recommend it. Its deep dry moats
40 meters are also impressive. On the outskirts of the moat, dug into the cliff just around the castle,
you can discover, for example, a bakery, a silkworm nursery!! , wine cellars with their oak barrels (We as Gallics are so proud to invent them) , used until recently.
Château De Beauregard
This 16th century castle is located in the town of Cellettes in the department of Loir-et-Cher. Built on the edge of the Russy forest, it is famous for its Galerie des Illustres, a long gallery in the castle with more than 320 portraits.
On the way to Santiago de Compostela , the chapel in ruins was built in the 14th century.
This coat of arms shows, engraved in stone, the shell of the pilgrims of Santiago de Compostela and the motto of the Crusader knights « God want this » / Dieu le volt.