The gardens & château of Villandry
Villandry stands out for its 20th-century gardens, inspired by the Renaissance and designed by Joachim Carvallo. Jardin de l'Amour andalou, formal gardens, ornamental ponds... it's well worth the detour! You'll also be tempted by a visit to the château, where the French art of living is characterized by period furniture and creativity.
Forteresse Royale de Chinon
King Henry II of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Charles VII and Joan of Arc all stayed within the thousand-year-old walls of this medieval fortress beside the River Vienne. The secrets of the “three castles” that make up the royal fortress are now divulged through reenactments, immersive tours and a range of other activities within its ramparts.
The Château de Villandry is a unique example of Renaissance architecture and gardens. Six sumptuous gardens await you: the vegetable garden, the ornamental garden, the water garden, the medicinal plant garden, the labyrinth and the sun garden. The château boasts 18th-century interiors and a collection of antique Spanish paintings.
Château de Chenonceau chateau
Nicknamed the “ladies’ castle”, this architectural gem is known for its arches elegantly spanning the River Cher and as a bone of contention between Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de' Medici. On the death of Henry II, Catherine de' Medici took back Château de Chenonceau, giving Diane de Poitiers the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Château de Langeais
The castle, its moat, drawbridge and towers stand in the centre of the town of Langeais. Built by Louis XI during the 15th century, the castle hosted the wedding of Anne de Bretagne and Charles VIII. Make sure to take a stroll through the gardens and climb up to the vast treehouse for a stunning view of the castle!
The history of the Château of Chenonceau is defined by a an almost uninterrupted succession of women who built, embellished, protected, restored and saved it.
Unique architecture, built over the Cher river. A collection of masters paintings and a remarkable series of 16 century Flemish tapestries. The Galerie des Dômes (wine cellar), exhibitions.
A castle facade (drawbridge, towers, machicolations...), but on the garden side, a residence marked by the Renaissance style! In this castle located 200 metres from the Loire, the marriage between Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany sealed the attachment of Brittany to the kingdom of France. Richly furnished, this monument belongs to the Institut de France.
Château royal d’Amboise
Imagine a palace delicately positioned above the River Loire with gardens hanging between the heavens and the earth... It is no wonder that Amboise was a favourite among the kings of France! Charles VIII, Francis I, Leonardo da Vinci and the iconic Queen Anne de Bretagne were familiar faces in these parts. Discover the 360° views of the landscapes of the Loire, listed as an outstanding cultural landscape by UNESCO.
The last home of Florentine genius Leonardo da Vinci, Clos Lucé invites you to discover 17 of his inventions via a fun exhibition in the castle and its grounds as part of a veritable open-air museum.
Imagine a palace delicately poised above the Loire, with gardens suspended between heaven and earth... It's hardly surprising that Amboise was one of the favourite sites of the kings of France when they transformed their country during the Renaissance. Charles VIII and François I, Leonardo da Vinci and the iconic Queen Anne of Brittany are all familiar faces here. Even today, the views are breathtaking! The 360° panorama takes in landscapes listed as World Heritage Sites. A castle open to nature, a haven of peace for birds, Amboise is also a place of innovation, where innovations such as the HistoPad enhance the experience. LPO Refuge. Please note: the Saint Hubert chapel is closed for works until the end of 2023.
In 1516, Leonardo da Vinci accepted the invitation of Francis I and moved to the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, where he worked on numerous projects for the King. From Rome he brought his notebooks and three of his major works: the Mona Lisa, the Saint Anne and the Saint John the Baptist, now in the Louvre. Prolific and inspired, he worked as an engineer, architect and stage director, organising sumptuous festivities for the court. On 2 May 1519, he died in his bedroom.
The house, its park - a veritable open-air museum - and the Leonardo da Vinci Painter and Architect Galleries invite you to discover the many facets of this genius through his restored workshops, models of his inventions and an immersive show presenting his 17 masterpieces...
Built in the centre of Touraine during the reign of Francis I, Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is famed for its mirror moat, which reflects the Renaissance castle. A masterpiece of 16th-century architecture, it stands on an island in the middle of the River Indre, surrounded by 8 hectares of 19th-century parkland. Its interior retraces over five centuries of history.
Cité Royale de Loches
This medieval fortified city and its 37-metre keep overlook the pretty town of Loches. The main building housed significant historical figures such as Joan of Arc, Agnès Sorel and Anne de Bretagne.
The Azay-le-Rideau castle estate invites you to enjoy a unique visiting experience: admire the sculpted facades, discover the 19th century decorations on the ground floor and the Renaissance room on the first floor, and don't miss the original framework from the early 16th century.
Finally, stroll through and contemplate the romantic flowered park and extend your discovery to the press: "multimedia interpretation space"...
Owned by the Indre et Loire Departmental Council, the site comprises two castles: the keep built by the Count of Anjou, Foulques Nerra, and the royal dwelling with its Renaissance architecture. The latter saw Agnès Sorel, Joan of Arc and Anne of Brittany pass through. A pretty medieval garden is also located at the foot of the keep. Each year, a new exhibition is proposed in parallel with the augmented reality tours on the Histopad tablets.
But that’s not all…
There are dozens of castles in the Loire Valley, each with its own distinctive feature. Budding knights will love an introductory workshop to medieval trades at the Forteresse de Montbazon, while lovers can smooch like Rodin and Camille Claudel during a boat trip at the Château de l’Islette or while admiring the Indre Valley at the Domaine de Candé, which hosted the wedding of the Duke of Windsorand Wallis Simpson.
Contemporary art fans won’t be left out with exhibitions in the gardens of the Château du Rivau, the International Garden Festival at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire and the Street Art Parc at the Château de Candes.
Contemporary art lovers won't be left out, with exhibitions in the gardens of Château du Rivau, during the Festival International des Jardins at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire or in the street art park at Château de Candes.
Loire castles by train
If you want to visit the châteaux of the Loire Valley with your family while limiting your carbon footprint, opt for the train! Here is a selection of the main castles accessible by train from Tours:
All Rémi regional trains accept bicycles (reservation required on weekends and public holidays between April 29 and October 1, €1/bike). Reduced entrance fees for certain châteaux on presentation of your ticket.
More information on: ter.sncf.com/centre-val-de-loire