Indre-et-Loire: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Indre-et-Loire (Loire Valley, 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!
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 de Clos-Lucé and Domaine Royale de Château-Gaillard - three castles in 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. At Tavant you can see some very impressive frescoes in the village church.
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.
Map of Indre-et-Loire and places nearby
See more places, tourist attractions and local markets at visiting Indre-et-Loire
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
French version: Indre-et-Loire (Francais)