Photo of Loire Valley castles

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.


Loire Valley

Chateau de Blois

Chateau de Blois (Loir-et-Cher)

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

See Chateau de Blois guide
Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord (Loir-et-Cher)

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!

See Chateau de Chambord guide
Chateau de Chenonceau

Chateau de Chenonceau (Indre-et-Loire)

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

See Chateau de Chenonceau guide
Chateau de Cheverny

Chateau de Cheverny (Loir-et-Cher)

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

See Chateau de Cheverny guide
Chateau de Chinon

Chateau de Chinon (Indre-et-Loire)

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

See Chateau de Chinon guide
Chateau de Langeais

Chateau de Langeais (Indre-et-Loire)

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

See Chateau de Langeais guide
Chateau de Valencay

Chateau de Valencay (Indre)

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

See Chateau de Valencay guide
Chateau de Villandry

Chateau de Villandry (Indre-et-Loire)

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

See Chateau de Villandry guide
Chateau du Rivau

Chateau du Rivau (Indre-et-Loire)

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

See Chateau du Rivau guide
Chateau d'Amboise

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

See Chateau d'Amboise guide
Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau

Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau (Indre-et-Loire)

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

See Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau guide
Chateau d'Ussé

Chateau d'Ussé (Indre-et-Loire)

The imposing Chateau d'Usse, next to the Loire, is an imposing medieval-renaissance castle surrounded by gardens and park

See Chateau d'Ussé guide

Pays de la Loire

Chateau de Brissac

Chateau de Brissac (Maine-et-Loire)

The Chateau de Brissac is the tallest castle in France, has more than 200 rooms and extensive parkland to explore!

See Chateau de Brissac guide
Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay

Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay (Maine-et-Loire)

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay is an impressive 15th century castle surrouned by medieval ramparts and furnished n period style

See Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay guide
Chateau de Saumur

Chateau de Saumur (Maine-et-Loire)

The Chateau de Saumur stands in an impressive location with views across the Loire river

See Chateau de Saumur guide
Chateau du Lude

Chateau du Lude (Sarthe)

The Chateau de Lude and its lovely gardens are the closest of the Loire Chateaux to Paris

See Chateau du Lude guide
Chateau d'Angers

Chateau d'Angers (Maine-et-Loire)

The mighty fortified walls of Chateau d'Angers form an interesting contrast with the more 'beautiful' castles of the Loire region.

See Chateau d'Angers guide
Chateau Plessis-Bourre

Chateau Plessis-Bourre (Maine-et-Loire)

The most unusual feature of Chateau Plessis-Bourre is the way it combines medieval and renaissance architecture, and has been unchanged for hundreds of years

See Chateau Plessis-Bourre guide

Map of Loire Valley Castles