Top 10 French Castles of Loire Valley
I don’t know if there is anyone who has counted on how many castles - amazing ‘Chateaux’ France have...there is a countless number. There are big ones, small ones, the ones owned by the government, the ones that are currently inhabited by the honourable (and very rich) families, the smaller chateaux who produce the wines the huge ones which become museums.
French Castles of Loire Valley
Château de Cheverny
This is my best and number 1 castle of the Loire Valley! It is classic in style and was constructed by Jacques Bougier in 1624-34 castle of the Loire Valley. Its architectural unity reflects that fact that it was built without interruptions and additions, as other royal châteaux. The castle is more known for its hunting with hounds traditions. Nowadays there are over 70 of these hunting dogs which live at the castle. Each day at 5pm there is a public feeding of the dog, so each tourist can see it. It is an interesting yet odd experience to see those hungry dogs.
Château de Chambord
It is a castle that you cannot compare to any other; it’s enormous, beautiful, and stunning! It is the masterpiece of the Renaissance, the home of François I. This 16th century castle is obviously the most visited monument in the department of the Loir-et-Cher. It is a National Historical Monument, and since 1981 is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is rumored the castle was designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Definitely one of the important highlights of the Chambord Castle is the famous double staircase (helix staircase) which was created by Leonardo da Vinci. Chateau de Chambord has 440 rooms, 335 fireplaces, 12 staircases and 70 main stairs laid out over an area of 200.000 sq. ft. Book a lot of time to visit this castle, as on top of the indoors visit, you need to have a look into castle’s enclosed huge park . It is the largest in Europe; it has 32 kilometres of wall and 440 hectare. It is national hunting reserve; it is open and free to all. One tip: Parking has to be paid for!
Château de Usse
Another beautiful castle located in the Valley of Kings, in Rigny-Ussé of the Indre-et-Loire département. It looks so romantic because of its clean, creamy walls and towers...and the special tower which is believed to be an inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty story. It represents late Gothic and Renaissance features. Nowadays, the château is privately owned. In 1885 the comte de Blacas inherited it from his aunt - the comtesse de la Rochejaquelein and today it belongs to his descendent Casimir de Blacas d' Aulps the 7th Duke of Blacas. In 1942 it has been appointed as a monument historique.
Château de Chenonceau
It was built in 1513 by King Charles VII and was given by Henry II to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. But once the king died, his wife, Catherine de Médicis forced Diane de Poitiers to move out to Chaumont. The castle then is well known for its feminine touch.. To add to the castle beauty, there is an impressive avenue of trees which leads you directly to the entrance.
You might also be interested in...
Château de Valencay
Built by Louis XIII and it represents the architectural harmony between the Renaissance and classical period. The d'Estampes and Talleyrand-Périgord families lived here. There is the exceptional collection of Louis XVI and Empire-style furniture displayed in the ceremonial rooms and private apartment. It is said to be the richest furniture collection of all other castles. All together, the grounds and forest have more than 53 hectares. It is highly recommended to see the impressive kitchens and Napoleon’s maze (Grand Labyrinthe). Amazing experience – just make sure you have a water & time and there is no heat wave...otherwise it’s not pleasant experience.
Château de Villandry
It started to be built in the 12th century and finished in 1536 by Jean Le Breton, Minister to François I. It is another Renaissance monument in the Loire Valley! The state apartments of the château contain 18th-century furniture and tapestries, along with paintings by Italian and Spanish masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Château Villandry has amazing Renaissance gardens which represent typical French-style formal gardens. They were created for the first time in the 16th century and now they cover huge area of five hectares. Starting from the left side, you can admire the ornamental gardens, with the "Garden of Love" and the vegetable gardens. Don’t miss out on the ‘The water garden’ for its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
Château de Sully-sur-Loire
A 14th-century mediaeval fortress located in the Loiret department of Loire Valley. The chateau is quite big, there is a interesting mediaeval dungeon and 14 nicely furnished rooms which display a rich collection of pictures, tapestries, statues and painted decors. lt has been listed or registered (CNMHS), UNESCO World Heritage. The castle is famous for the guests it hosted. There were Joan of Arc, Louis IV and Voltaire who stayed at the castle.
Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire
Not far away from Blois, just 18 kms. It was founded in the year 1000 and in 1465 the King Louis XI rebuilt it. Then it was owned by the Amboise family for over 500 years. In 1550 Catherine de Medici bought the castle and ordered Diane de Poitiers to move out from Chenonceau and live here. The château is an example of the Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is beautifully preserved and rich in its historic tapestries and works of art. You should visit both the castle and the garden. And if you are a big flowers & gardens fan you might consider visiting International Garden Festival. It is hosted by the castle since 1992 and worldwide known. The gardens are transformed by light and art installations, look impressive and bring back tourists each year to see new things. The only thing is that you need to buy 2 tickets if you want to visit the castle and the International Garden Festival. But this is worth it for 2 different experiences you will get!
Château de Amboise
Located in the Indre-et-Loire department of the Valley of Kings. It represents the Gothic & Renaissance style and the first royal castle which introduced the Italian taste in the Loire Valley. In 1516 King François invited Leonardo da Vinci to come to Amboise. He then stayed at the the Clos Lucé Domaine which is located just 500 yards from the Royal Château. He spent there his last years and is body lies now in in Saint-Hubert’s Chapel of the castle. Since 1840 the chateau is classified as the monument historique.
Château de Breze
A small yet elegant castle located in Brézé town, near Saumur in the Valley of Kings. It was built around 11th and deconstructed between the 16th and the 19th centuries. Nowadays this elegant residence belongs to the Colbert family who lives here and since 2000 it has been listed historic monument and open to the public. The current structure is Renaissance in style yet retains mediaeval elements but it also represents the finest and the rarest examples of neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance interior architecture. It is worth mentioning that this small castle is known for its wines. It produce a range of them thanks to the 30 hectares of vineyards it owns.
Back to Living in France >>
My name is Aga and I am addicted to shopping! So I have become ShopaholicFromHome who loves to shop from home. But this is not all. I have thousands of ideas per minute, per hour, per day…recently I have moved to Lyon in France
! That’s why my main goal now is to explore France
, experience French way of living, learn the language and eat a lot of cheese, baguettes, some snails and French frogs, drink wine and wear berets (apparently so French) but also I would love to introduce a bit of Polish culture and mentality into French lives. Visit my blog
for more information and check out on what I have been up to on my J'adore Lyon by Shopaholicfromhome FB Page!