Visit Indre-et-Loire, France
Featuring some of the most famous and attractive of the Loire chateaux, Indre-et-Loire is also home to some interesting towns and beautiful villages: perhaps the perfect introduction to the Loire Valley experience!
Indre-et-Loire sights and places to visit
The Indre-et-Loire department of France is the most westerly of the departments in the Centre (Val de Loire) region of central France, and a very popular destination with visitors from both France and overseas.
Not surprisingly it is the famous castles of the region that play the most important role in tourism, with the department being home to several of the most important chateau in the Loire Valley, in particular along the stretch of the Loire River between Saumur and Amboise and passing through Tours.
Indre et Loire castles
The most well known (and most visited) chateaux include:
- Chateau d'Amboise
- Chateau Chinon
- Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau
- Chateau de Chenonceau
- Chateau de Villandry (well known for its gardens)
- Chateau du Rivau
- Chateau Langeais
Towns to visit
The most visited towns are those that have developed around the castles such as Amboise, Chinon and Langeais - these are attractive towns in their own right so be sure to explore the towns as well as the castles!
Among the other towns in the department, Le Grand Pressigny, Loches, Richelieu, Tours and Vouvray are among these that are enjoyable to explore. Rochecorbon town and chateau, a little north-east of Tours, should also feature in your visit.
Villages of Indre-et-Loire
There is also no shortage of attractive villages in the region, among which Indre-et-Loire features three that are officially classified as 'most beautiful villages of France'.
East: The highlight among the villlages to the east of Indre-et-Loire is Montresor. Close to Loches we suggest you also visit the villages of Beaulieu-les-Loches and Chanceaux-prés-Loches, while a little further south near Le Grand-Pressigny both Ferriere-Larcon and Boussay are very pleasant.
A little further off the beaten track, to the north-east of Vouvray, the quiet village of Saint-Ouen-les-Vignes is also very scenic.
West: The most popular villages here in the west are at Candes-Saint-Martin and Crissay-sur-Manse. Among our other favourite villages in the region near Chinon, we especially enjoyed strolling around Lerné (a small village south of Candes-Saint-Martin) and Faye-la-Vineuse (further south), while the small pretty village of Ussé (north-east of Chinon) is dominated by its castle.
Other places of interest
Among historical monuments in Indre-et-Loire that aren't castles we suggest you also visit the chapel at Champigny-sur-Veude to the south-west of Indre-et-Loire (although there is a castle connection - the chapel is all that remains of the castle that once stood here).
Enthusiasts of the adventures of Rabelais will want to visit his birthplace at La Divinere, to the west, where a museum is now dedicated to the great author.
Places to Visit
Selected places to visit in Indre-et-Loire
Market towns & days in Indre-et-Loire
all markets in morning unless otherwise statedAmboise: Sunday & Friday
Azay-le-Rideau: Wednesday & Saturday
Ballan-Mire: Sunday & Friday
Bourgueil: Tuesday & Saturday
Chambray-les-Tours: Thursday & Sunday
Chateau-Renault: Tuesday & Saturday
Chinon: Thursday all day & Sunday
Fondettes: Wednesday & Sunday
Joue-les-Tours: Wednesday & Thursday & Sunday & Saturday
La Riche: Wednesday & Saturday
Le Grand-Pressigny: Thursday
Loches: Wednesday all day & Saturday
Monts: Wednesday & Saturday
Preuilly-sur-Claise: Thursday & Saturday
Richelieu: Monday & Friday
Saint-Avertin: Wednesday & Friday
Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire: Tuesday & Friday
Saint-Pierre-Des-Corps: Wednesday & Tuesday & Saturday & Friday
Selected tourist destinations in the Indre-et-Loire
The following sites have received official "tourist classifications"...
Zoo or wildlife park
Réserve de Beaumarchais
4* Towns in Bloom
Towns of Art and History
Secteur Sauvegardé (protected historical town centre)
Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'
Le jardin des Prébendes d'Oé
Les jardins de la Chatonnière
Les jardins du château de Villandry
Les jardins du château du Rivau
Les jardins du prieuré de Saint-Cosme
Parc et jardins du château de Chenonceau
Parc et jardins du château de Valmer
Collegiale Church (Candes-Saint-Martin)
Regional Natural Parcs
towns classified as Recommended Detours
Cloisters of la Psalette
Villages classified as "most beautiful villages"
Aquarium du Val-de-Loire
French version: Indre-et-Loire (Francais)
- General information
- Suggested places to visit
- Markets in Indre-et-Loire
- Indre-et-Loire map
- Tourist highlights
- The eastern part of the Natural Regional Park of Loire-Anjou-Touraine falls along the Loire river within this department and is an ideal region for exploring the western part of the Loire valley.
- Tours airport falls within this department.
- See a list of all Indre-et-Loire communes