Grandiose Renaissance castles, high-class gastronomy and fine wines
Loire Valley Highlights
Loire Valley sums up French splendor: it is one of France’s most beautiful and rich regions. Famous for its stunning Renaissance castles, authentic villages, beautiful gardens and wines, Loire Valley is just a short train ride from Paris.
More than 300 châteaux
There are more than 300 stunning castles located in the picturesque Loire Valley. The history of these castles dates back to the 10th century when they were first built as fortresses. Later on they became the playground of the French aristocracy during the Renaissance. Today, many of the castles are owned by the French government or local municipalities and are open to the public. However, some are still privately owned and not open to visitors. The most famous castles in the Loire Valley include Château de Chambord, famous for its double helix staircase, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, Château d’Amboise, the burial place of the latter and Château de Chenonceau, known for its beautiful gardens and architecture.
The Loire Valley region is a paradise for garden enthusiasts with its charming French-style gardens located in the châteaux premises. The gardens of the Château de Villandry, with its intricate patterns of colorful flowers, are a must-see. We also strongly recommend visitors to explore the magnificent gardens at the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire. Every year during Summer, the International Garden Festival (Festival International des Jardins) showcases innovative contemporary gardens designed by artists and designers from different countries around the world.
Quaint villages rich in cultural legacy
Loire Valley region is home to numerous quaint villages. Take Saché for instance, which is home to the 19th-century house of French author Honoré de Balzac. Today, you can visit his home, now a museum dedicated to his life and work. In this mansion, Balzac wrote some of his most famous novels, including “The Wild Ass’s Skin”. Also there is the American sculptor Alexander Calder who fell in love with the region and built a workshop in Saché where he spent half of his life. And it doesn’t end here. Saché also offers great restaurants (we can book a table for you at L’Auberge du 12ème siècle, one of the best restaurants in the area).
Wine, where tradition meets avant-garde
The Loire Valley is home to some of the world’s most traditional and reputable wines, such as the crisp and mineral-driven Sancerre and the rich and elegant Chinon. These classic wines are made using traditional methods and are highly regarded by wine enthusiasts around the globe. In recent years, the Loire Valley has also become a hotbed for avant-garde natural winemaking. These wines are made with minimal intervention, allowing the grapes to fully express themselves, and often have a funky and unpredictable character that appeals to adventurous wine drinkers. Whether you prefer the classic or the experimental, we can arrange for you a wine-tasting with a winemaker or a sommelier.
Try out some of the best French cuisine
This region is definitely a haven for foodies. Loire Valley – and central France generally speaking – boasts a rich culinary heritage and is renowned for its gastronomy, which blends local ingredients and special dishes. For instance, the “rillettes de Tours” which is a recipe similar to confit where meat is seasoned then slow cooked with fat and cooked at slow pace for up to 10 hours. You can also try out rillons which are made from pig’s neck fried in fat. The Loire Valley is also home to several Michelin-starred restaurants, which offer memorable dining experiences. We usually recommend the two-starred restaurant at Fleur de Loire in Blois, but there are many other ones that are worth dining at.
Loire Valley Trips
Our trips are 100% customizable
A Family Adventure: Paris, the Loire Valley & Bordeaux
11 DAYS, FROM 6,125 USD PER PERSON
Paris & Loire Valley Castles: A Journey through French Royalty
7 DAYS, FROM 4,800 USD PER PERSON