The castles of the Loire Valley are renowned the world over, and a very major attraction with visitors to France. Altogether there are more than 300 chateaux in the region, many built in the heyday of the French royalty and nobility, centred around the 17th-18th centuries.
Some of the castles were built 'new' at this time, while others were based on converting an earlier medieval castle on the same location into a more habitable and luxurious castle.
The Chateau de Chambord is the largest castle here, the Chateau at Azay le Rideau perhaps the most picturesque, and the Chateau de Chenonceau our favourite combination of castle, gardens and setting, but you will quickly have your own favourite when you visit!
There are also often lavishly planted gardens around the Loire chateaux - the origins of the 'French Style' garden are here - which are often as interesting as the chateaux themselves.The castles at Chaumont and Villandry are perhaps the best known for their gardens.
Some of the Loire chateaux are now open to the public, while others are established as fine hotels, and many are still in private ownership.
Chateau d'Amboise (Indre-et-Loire)
The Chateau d'Amboise is a castle with impressive gardens and a lovely view across the rooftops of Amboise