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AussieFrance Mar 11th, 2013 07:01 AM

Favourite châteaux in the Loire Valley
I am writing a blog post on the Loire Valley châteaux, mainly aimed at people coming to visit the area for the first time. What are your favourites in the area?

annhig Mar 11th, 2013 07:05 AM

Chenonceaux, Angers, Villandry, not necessarily in that order.

PalenQ Mar 11th, 2013 07:24 AM


my top 5 in that order

next would be any Chateau d'Eau in every town

gwan Mar 11th, 2013 07:48 AM

Been to Ussé, Loches, Langeais, Chenonceau, Chinon, Blois, Angers and Clos Lucé (think that's it). Favourites are Chenonceau, for sheer beauty and Angers for the wonderful tapestries. Think Blois is much underrated and I also like Chinon for being a bit different, but mostly because I like the town of Chinon a lot. Thought Clos Lucé was a rip off (but that was a couple of years ago when the whole upper level was closed for renovations). Ussé is cheesy, but I had fun goofing around taking silly pictures in front of the dioramas.

TPAYT Mar 11th, 2013 07:55 AM

Chenonceaux---for the total experience.
Chambord------for the outside.
Villandry-----for the gardens.

Abbey Fontevraud near Chinon must also go on my list.

These impressed me the most. The others were just OK, IMO.

AussieFrance Mar 11th, 2013 08:08 AM

Thank you everyone. No one has mentioned Cheverny or Chaumont yet. Is there a special reason for that?

maitaitom Mar 11th, 2013 08:18 AM

Blois (a very, very close second)
Chambord (for its exterior)
Villandry's gardens
Château de Langeais

Abbey Fontevraud and Clos Luce were both terrific.

The only chateau I really did not like was the interior of Ussé. Too Disneyesque.


Dr_DoGood Mar 11th, 2013 08:24 AM


As you can tell I likes me a moat!

Cheverny & Chaumont are, for my like, too big, too grandiose and rather too monumental. The three I've plu mped for a rather more human in scale (though of course that's relative when discussing chateaux!), more original (not so much 17th Century additions) and considrably less visited.

Dr D.

Dr_DoGood Mar 11th, 2013 08:42 AM

Ah, almost forgot <b>Sarzay</b> - which is way, way off the beaten track between Chateauroux and Guéret but is simply fantastic - unspoilt, tumble down (in parts; but well preserved too), extensive and very naturalistic. If you've not been , and I strongly suspect very few Fodorites will have, I cannot recommend it highly enough especially as an antidote to all that French Renaissance frippery further north.

Dr D.

maitaitom Mar 11th, 2013 08:50 AM

Oops, I forgot Château de Valençay. It would be near the top for me. Cool maze, too!


Kwoo Mar 11th, 2013 08:57 AM

Chenonceau, Chambord (especially love its rooftop), and Langeais. Langeais was a pleansant surprise. We didn't plan on stopping there, but drove past the town of Langeais, & saw the very impressive medieval chateau/castle rising from the town, and just had to stop. We also had a great lunch in Langeais, on the street leading up to the castle. What a great view! Agree with gwan about liking the town of Chinon a lot. We walked up to the castle in the evening; it was closed; but it was nice to see it up close & had great views of Chinon. Also really like the towns of Loches & Blois. We didn't have time to tour the chateaus, but loved what we saw.

mr_go Mar 11th, 2013 09:10 AM

maitaitom: <i>The only chateau I really did not like was the interior of Ussé. Too Disneyesque.</i>

That was our impression as well.

Otherwise, I'd second just about everyplace mentioned in the thread. Especially Chenanceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry gardens, the apocalypse tapestry at Chateau d'Angers, Amboise, Fontvraud Abbey, and the towns of Chinon and Saumur.

FrenchMystiqueTours Mar 11th, 2013 09:28 AM

Funny you mentioned this because I was just playing around with a great website that lists all the major and many of the lesser known châteaux in the Loire and I stumbled upon a really amazing château that I am now definitely going to visit on my next trip to the Loire. Here is a great website about Loire Valley châteaux:

The château I mentioned is called Château du Rivau and it's located in the town of Lémeré about 10km from Chinon. It's a real fairytale looking château and the gardens look gorgeous. They have a very extensive website that you could probably spend an hour looking into. Here is the website:

I'd say if you've exhausted your list of all the major châteaux in the Loire this looks like a good château to start your discovery of the lesser known châteaux in that region.

PalenQ Mar 11th, 2013 09:41 AM

Oops I mispelt Chenonceaux - using the name of the small village it is in - spelt Chenonceaux but the castle itself is spelt Chenonceau!


mr_go Mar 11th, 2013 10:08 AM

That's OK, Pal... I got the second vowel wrong (as I do about half the time).

BigRuss Mar 11th, 2013 10:27 AM

Amboise (esp. the carriageway exit)
Azay le Rideau

When we were there, Chaumont was halfway in ruin.

Chateau Beauregard is neat if you're interested in 16th c. history because it has hundreds of portraits of notable persons from that era.

Cheverny is nice on the outside, but the interior isn't that interesting. More interesting are its inspiration for Marlinspike Hall in the Tintin comics and its preposterous number of hunting dogs.

AussieFrance Mar 12th, 2013 02:52 AM

Thank you everyone. This is very helpful. BigRuss, I wonder when you went there - Chaumont was halfway in ruin in 1997 during my first visit and I thought the same thing about Cheverny, but when we visited last week, I was amazed at the difference. So if you go back to the area again, they're both worth another visit. I agree about Ussé, but cycling towards it from the Loire in July and August when the fields are full of sunflowers is quite amazing.
Maitaitom, you've visited a lot of them, but no mention of Angers.
I thought I had visited most of them, but I see that I still need to go to Plessis-Bourré, Sarzay and Rivau!
Chenonceau remains my favourite, especially seen from the bike path on the other side of the river at sunset. Absolute magic!

maitaitom Mar 12th, 2013 08:04 AM

"Maitaitom, you've visited a lot of them, but no mention of Angers."

Sadly, we did not arrive in Angers in time to see it, and then had to leave early for Mont. St-Michel the following morning. It gives me a reason to return.


Dr_DoGood Mar 12th, 2013 08:22 AM

Don't forget you can go to that place near Amboise that has all the mini-chareaux reproductions/models. Honestly they're very good - if a little small - so should allow you to cross off 30 or 40 of the blighters in one fell swoop.

All of the list-ticking goodness with none of the travelling malarkey!

Dr D.

AussieFrance Apr 7th, 2013 02:14 AM

Hi, thank you everyone for your help. I thought I should get back to you with the final post: In the end I decided on the four “Cs”: Chenonceau, Chambord, Cheverny, Chaumont, followed by the royal castles of Amboise and Blois, then Azay le Rideau, Ussé, Villandry and Valençay. I'm now starting a second post on the next 10, not necessarily châteaux: Langeais, Beauregard, Fonteyvraud, Chinon, Clos Lucé, Angers, Montpoupon, Angers, Loches and Talcy. That will be followed by a third post with Montreuil Bellay, Sully, Montrésor, Plessis-Bourré, Sarzay and Rivau (the last three of which I haven't visited yet. The main aim of the posts is to help my gîte guests. If you have any more to add, let me know!

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