The Loire Valley: Places to Explore


  • Amboise

    Amboise is a major hub of the Loire and one of the most popular towns along the river, site of Leonardo da Vinci's final home, crowned with a royal château, and jammed with bustling markets and plenty of... Read more

  • Angers

    The bustling city of Angers, on the banks of the Maine River, just north of the Loire, is famous for its towering castle filled with the extraordinary Apocalypse Tapestry. But it also has a fine Gothic... Read more

  • Azay-le-Rideau

    A largish town surrounding a sylvan dell on the banks of the River Indre, pleasant Azay-le-Rideau (located on the main train line between Tours and Chinon) is famed for its white-wall Renaissance pleasure... Read more

  • Blois

    Perched on a steep hillside overlooking the Loire, site of one of France's most historic châteaux, and birthplace of those delicious Poulain chocolates and gâteaux (check out the bakeries along Rue Denis-Papin)... Read more

  • Chambord

    The "Versailles" of the 16th century and the largest of the Loire châteaux, the Château de Chambord is the kind of place William Randolph Hearst might have built if he'd had the money. Variously dubbed... Read more

  • Chaumont-sur-Loire

  • Chenonceaux

  • Cheverny

  • Chinon

    The historic town of Chinon—birthplace of author François Rabelais (1494–1553)—is dominated by the towering ruins of its medieval castle, perched high above the River Vienne. But Chinon's leading photo... Read more

  • Fontevraud-l'Abbaye

  • Langeais

  • Meung-sur-Loire

  • Montlouis-sur-Loire

  • Orléans

    The story of the Hundred Years' War, Joan of Arc, and the Siege of Orléans is widely known. In 1429 France had hit rock bottom. The English and their Burgundian allies were carving up the kingdom. Besieged... Read more

  • Saché

    A crook in the road, a Gothic church, the centuries-old Auberge du XIIe Siècle, an Alexander Calder stabile (the great American sculptor created a modern atelier nearby), and the country retreat of novelist... Read more

  • Saumur

    You'll find putting up with the famous snobisme of the Saumurois well worth it once you get a gander at Saumur's magnificent historic center. Studded with elegant 19th-century town houses and the charming... Read more

  • Tours

    Tours is the region's largest and most commercial city whose greatest asset is energy—the cobblestone streets in the pedestrian-only Vielle Ville crackle with cafés, bars, and restaurants. Students make... Read more

  • Ussé-Rigny

  • Villandry