Locate Loire Valley Castles on Loire Valley map: Amboise, Azay le Rideau, Chambord, Cheverny, Blois, Amboise, Chenonceaux. Loire Valley, the garden of France, is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Map France. Places in France.
Tours, the capital of the Loire Valley, is only one hour from Paris by superfast train. You will be able to enjoy a full day enjoying the Loire Valley and castles and tasting Loire wines and food. Itinerary of the tour:
9.30am: start Loire Castles and Wine Tour. Visit three Loire Castles and lunch at a wine specialist.
Departure: Tours to Paris Montparnasse 6.32 pm. Train n°8324 Arrival: Paris Montparnasse 7.45 pm. You will be back to Paris just in time for aperitif.
166 euros/person + train (buy your own ticket)
Built in a rather desolate plain and surrounded by hunting forests, Chambord is a prestigious castle, that was hardly ever inhabited. Commissionned by King François Ier in 1519, it was in construction until the death of the king to end only under King Henri II. Francois Ier was at first impatient, but lost interest rather quickly. Towards the end of the reign, he came very little to Chambord. Perhaps he found – the castle old-fashioned. The principal masons engaged for the realization of the castle are Jacques Sourdeau, one of the builders of Blois, Pierre Trinqueau, who seems to have preserved until his death, in 1538, the direction of the work, and Jacques Coqueau. Several drawings of the building were established before the start of construction. A wooden model was executed by Dominique de Cortone and it is thought that Leonardo da Vinci, during the last years of his life spent in the Loire Valley, intervened in the development of Chambord's plans. Chambord today is the most famous Loire castle.
The most complex castle of the Loire continues to attract 300,000 visitors each year. The Blois Castle has had a sound and light show for more than 20 years, which tells the story of the place. With its majestic staircases, its resplendent inner courtyard and its four aisles, the Blois Castle is the most atypical castle in the Loire. Official residence of the Kings of France during the Renaissance, it was a capital place of the history of France, in particular during the wars of Religion.
The first castle was built in the Middle Ages. It was in 1500 that began the work undertaken by King Louis XII. The castle became the official residence of the royal family. The successor of Louis XII, François Ier, his cousin, rebuild the castle The last part that was built was done by Gaston of Orleans, the last great prince in the 17th century.
The castle was built by Gilles Berthelot, a wealthy financier, in 1510, in the early years of the architectural Renaissance. The time of the attacks of castles is gone. New residences no longer needed defensive equipment. By their ostentation they must show the wealth of their owner. Nevertheless, in this stereotyped setting, the castle of Azay le Rideau is an exception: it is fortified, because Berthelot feared the surrounding vandals. But naturally, it is also luxuriously decorated, with tapestries, wall carpets, massive carpentry, large fireplaces, loggias, sculptures and other artistic objects. Built during the reign of King Francis II, it is very characteristic as it was placed in the middle of the river, the Indre, and looked like a small island. But the building knew by its beauty to stir the jealousy of the great powers of the time, and it was confiscated by the king François Ier.
The map of Loire valley shows the wine countries and the castles. Click on the map to download a full size printable map.