Loire Valley places to visit and attractions

Amboise

photo of Amboise

Although it is the castle that attracts visitors to Amboise, you will also enjoy exploring the main square and old streets elsewhere in the small town

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Apremont-sur-Allier

photo of Apremont-sur-Allier

The story of the renewal of Apremont-sur-Allier is fascinating, and leads us to the 'most beautiful village' and Castle Park that we see today

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Argenton-sur-Creuse

photo of Argenton-sur-Creuse

There are several churches of interest here in Argenton-sur-Creuse, and a very pretty walk along the banks of the Creuse river

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Aubigny-sur-Nere

photo of Aubigny-sur-Nere

It is the multi-turreted castle and the Scottish connection that explain the popularity of Aubigny-sur-Nère

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Azay-le-Rideau

photo of Azay-le-Rideau

The village of Azay-le-Rideau is best known for its castle but also has a pleasant centre with a historic church and mill to explore

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Beaugency

photo of Beaugency

A small town on the banks of the Loire River, Beaugency squeezes a remarkable number of interesting sights in a small space!

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Bellegarde

photo of Bellegarde

Bellegarde is a small traditional town with an atractive moated castle in the centre

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Blois

photo of Blois

The town of Blois, with its castle, cathedral, extensive historic centre and other monuments is one of our favourite Loire Valleyt towns

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Bourges

photo of Bourges

Although Bourges is known for its stunning cathedral, it also has a substantial medieval centre and the Palais Jacques-Coeur among its many places of interest

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Bourges Cathedral

photo of Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Palais Jacques-Coeur

photo of Bourges Palais Jacques-Coeur

Brenne Regional Natural Park

photo of Brenne Regional Natural Park

This quiet region of small lakes and fields is a perfect place for cycling on peaceful lanes

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Briare

photo of Briare

With the Loire River and the Canal de Briare crossing in the centre of Briare it is not surprising that water based activities are important here

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Candes-Saint-Martin

photo of Candes-Saint-Martin

In the village of Candes-Saint-Martin, a 'most beautiful village in France', you can see the Vienne river, a medieval collegiale church and a lovely viewpoint

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Cathedral of Sainte-Croix, Orleans

photo of Cathedral of Sainte-Croix, Orleans

Chartres

photo of Chartres

Although most famous for its cathedral, you will also find plenty to explore elsewhere in the town of Chartres

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Chartres Cathedral

photo of Chartres Cathedral

Chateau d'Amboise

photo of Chateau d'Amboise

The Chateau d'Amboise is a castle with impressive gardens and a lovely view across the rooftops of Amboise

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Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau

photo of Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau

Not the most luxurious or largest castle in the region, it is the beauty and waterside location that gives the Chateau d'Azay-le Rideau its special charm

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Chateau de Blois

photo of Chateau de Blois

One of the most impressive of the Loire castles, the Chateau de Blois is best known for its double helix renaissance staircase

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Chateau de Chambord

photo of Chateau de Chambord

The largest castle in the Loire Valley, Chateau de Chambord exceeds all expectations with its grandeur - despite being built as a hunting lodge and rarely occupied!

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Chateau de Chaumont

photo of Chateau de Chaumont

The small village of Chaumont-sur-Loire is dominated by the Chateau de Chaumont, one of the largest Loire Valley castles and with a famous annual International Garden Festival

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Chateau de Chenonceau

photo of Chateau de Chenonceau

The perfectly lovely Chateau-de-Chenonceau includes a renaissance gallery across the river and gardens designed by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis

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Chateau de Cheverny

photo of Chateau de Cheverny

Cheverny Castle is perhaps the most opulently furnished of the Loire castles, and also has very lovely gardens

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Chateau de Chinon

photo of Chateau de Chinon

Château de Chinon retains more medieval elements than most Loire Valley castles

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Chateau de Clos Lucé at Amboise

photo of Chateau de Clos Lucé at Amboise

Chateau de Langeais

photo of Chateau de Langeais

Château de Langeais is a medieval-renaissance castle with nicely furnished rooms and the oldest castle keep in France

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Chateau de Valencay

photo of Chateau de Valencay

The renaissance style castle and formal gardens make the Chateau de Valencay among the most interesting in the Loire

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Chateau de Villandry

photo of Chateau de Villandry

The rooms at Chateau de Villandry can be explored, but it is the world famous French style gardens here that will hold your attention the longest

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Chateau du Rivau

photo of Chateau du Rivau

One of the more modest castles in the region, both the Chateau de Rivau and its associated gardens are very pleasant to explore

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Chateaudun

photo of Chateaudun

Both the castle and the town along the Loir River make Chateaudun an enjoyable destination

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Chateauroux

photo of Chateauroux

A little remote from the main tourist routes, Chateauroux is quite a sprawling town but has some sites of interest in its historic centre

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Chinon

photo of Chinon

As well as the castle, Chinon has a very impressive medieval centre to explore and lovely river views

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Crissay-sur-Manse

photo of Crissay-sur-Manse

Explore the lovely stone houses and narrow streets in the tiny village of Crissay-sur-Manse

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Culan

photo of Culan

The castle at Culan is one of the most interesting in the quiet Cher department

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Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard

photo of Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard

The Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard in Amboise is the first Renaissance manor house in France, newly restored and surrounded by lovely gardens

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Gargilesse-Dampierre

photo of Gargilesse-Dampierre

Gargilesse-Dampierre is a very small village, but also very pretty and in a lovely setting. Don't miss the frescoes in the church crypt!

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Gien

photo of Gien

To the east of the main Loire Valley, the view across the bridge to the castle and town of Gien is very atractive

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Issoudun

photo of Issoudun

There are few important monuments here in Issoudun, but we enjoyed a stroll around the old town near the 'White Tower'

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La Chatre

photo of La Chatre

La Chatre is a small town and quick to explore - before setting off to discover the other castles and countryside nearby

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Langeais

photo of Langeais

The Chateau de Langeais, combining medieval and renaissance elements, will attract you here - but you will want to explore a little further when you arrive...

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Lavardin

photo of Lavardin

With a river and ancient bridge below and an ancient castle above Lavardin, it is an exceptionally pretty little village

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Loches

photo of Loches

Numerous historic monuments make the citadel in Loches a very interesting place to visit

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Mehun-sur-Yevre

photo of Mehun-sur-Yevre

The castle and the 11th century Collegiale Notre-Dame are among several sights of importance in Mehun-sur-Yevre

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Montargis

photo of Montargis

With more than 130 bridges across the numerous canals and rivers in Montargis, it is the scenery along these waterways that is the highlight here

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Montresor

photo of Montresor

On the Indrois river, it is the quaint old town, the castle and the collegiale church that will be the focus of your visit to the pretty village of Montresor

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Nogent-le-Rotrou

photo of Nogent-le-Rotrou

Within the Perche Regional Natural Park, in Nogent-le-Rotrou you can discover the castle and other ancient monuments

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Nohant-Vic

photo of Nohant-Vic

The 18th century French manor house where George Sand lived is the main attraction in the village of Nohant-Vic

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Orleans

photo of Orleans

The large town of Orleans has a great deal to recommend it: a famous cathedral, an extensive old town, a riverside promenade, and some lovely gardens nearby

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Parc Floral de la Source, Orleans

photo of Parc Floral de la Source, Orleans

Saint-Benoit-du-Sault

photo of Saint-Benoit-du-Sault

The unspoiled medieval streets in the 'most beautiful village' of Saint-Benoit-de-Sault quickly take you back several hundred years in time

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Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey

photo of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey

Fans of romanesque architecture will appreciate the many period features in the 12th century Abbey of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire

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Saint-Chartier

photo of Saint-Chartier

Take a stroll through the grounds of the castle here in the quiet town of Saint-Chartier

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Sancerre

photo of Sancerre

The pretty village of Sancerre is best known for the famous wines of the same name produced nearby - and to be samlped in the village!

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Tavant

photo of Tavant

Tavant is a small village but a visit to se the murals in the church is recommended when you are nearby

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Tours

photo of Tours

Tours is a large important town with numerous monuments, gardens and medieval buildings, and is also well placed to explore the west of the Loire Valley

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Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters

photo of Tours Cathedral and La Psalette Cloisters

The la Psalette cloister and the cathedral of Tours together make a very impressive religious monument with various architectural styles

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Valencay

photo of Valencay

The castle is the main attraction here, but we also suggest a visit to the Museum de l'Automobile and a stroll along the river

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Vendome

photo of Vendome

Now listed as a 'town of art and history', Vendome retains many monuments from its active past despite extensive wartime damage

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Yevre-le-Chatel

photo of Yevre-le-Chatel

The walk along the Rimarden river, the traditional charm and the ruined castle all contributed to Yevre-le-Chatel being listed as a 'most beautiful village in France'

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For more information see the Loire Valley guide