Loire Castles: what are the most beautiful to visit

What castles of the Loire visit, journey to discover the summer residences of the French kings in the valley defined as the Garden of France.

Guide Loire Castles

What Loire castles to visit in the region considered the garden of France, as the earth by the mild climate and agriculture well maintained. The Loire Valley is a region located in a central position in the French territory, extended dall’Orleanese the Sologne, from the Touraine and Blessois all’Anjou. It ‘a land with a mild climate and cultivated for centuries, offering excellent food, fine wines, protagonist of important episodes in the history of France and Europe. In the heart of the Renaissance has hosted many kings of France, and was the favorite residence of kings and princes.

This region, which has a great cultural heritage, important historic towns such as Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, is known for its castles, located not only on the Loire, but also on the Cher, on ‘Indre, the Maine, on the Vienne, tributaries of this great river. The central part of the river Loire, between Maine-et-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire, has been recognized by Unesco world heritage site.

Itinerary Loire Castles in the car

Amboise Castle dominates the city of Amboise, along the Loire. Charles VIII, who was born and raised in Amboise, did transform the old fortress dating back to the thirteenth century in a magnificent Renaissance castle. Louis XII he built a second wing in the Renaissance style, work continued with Francis I, who invited the great Leonardo da Vinci, who settled in the nearby castle of Cloux, (today Clos Luce). The Chapel of St. Hubert holds the alleged remains of Leonardo who lived in Amboise until death. Although the complex has changed over time, and many buildings were destroyed, including Italian Renaissance garden, the Castle of Amboise remains one of the most impressive residences of the Loire Valley. Among its wonders are the two towers spiral, Tour des Minimes and Heurtault Tour, with the spiral ramps, once practiced by horses and carriages, which allow you to get up to the floor of the castle, the chapel of St-Hubert, fiammegiante Gothic style, and the elegant royal residence. From the terrace of the castle is very impressive sight on the Loire and the roofs of the small village of Amboise.

Azay-le Rideau is located in the town of Azay-le Rideau, in the department of Indre-et-Loire, and was built between 1510 and 1528 (in the reign of Francis I), a rich treasurer of Finance and mayor of Tours, Gilles Berthelot. The building is a masterpiece of elegance located on an island in the midst of the waters of the Indre, which is reflected in all its beauty and perfection, precious example of early French Renaissance. Inside the castle is richly furnished.

Chambord Castle is a magnificent building, the largest of the Loire castles. It was built by Francis I, between 1519 and 1547, near a bend in the river Cosson, subaffluente Loire, about 14 km north-east of Blois, in the heart of Boulogne forest full of game. The project of this fantastic castle in Renaissance style, was attended by the most famous architects of the time, including Leonardo da Vinci. The building includes 450 rooms, 70 staircases and a fireplace for each day of the year. Magnificent staircase circular two-way rotation, leading from the courtyard to the upper floors.

Chenonceau Castle is a castle located near Chenonceaux, straddling the Cher River, whose waters reflect it in all its glory. The building by the harmonious and elegant architecture is surrounded by a beautiful natural scenery, surrounded by water, gardens and natural vegetation. Its history is linked to the women who have lived, from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, it’s called “Château des Dames”. It was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, was later embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de ‘Medici, and saved from the rigors of the Revolution by Madame Dupin. The visit of the interior reveals a rich collection of art, Renaissance furniture and tapestries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Château de Cheverny is located in the town of Cheverny, in the department of Loir-et-Cher. The castle was built in 1624 by Philippe Hurault, son of Henri Hurault, Count of Cheverny and military treasurer of Louis XI. Despite the property over the centuries has changed several times, still today the castle is the residence of the Viscount of Sigalas, descendant of Hurault, which opens to the public. The white stone castle in contrast to the gray slate roof, classic and comfortable, it is known for the beauty and the artistic importance of its original furnishings, perfectly preserved.

Castle Villandy is located in Villandry, Indre-et-Loire department, and was built in the early 1532 by Jean Le Breton, minister of King Francis I of France. Two centuries later it was purchased by the Marquis de Castellane, until it was confiscated during the French Revolution. In the early nineteenth century the ‘Emperor Napoleon bought it for his brother Joseph Bonaparte. In 1906 Dr. Joachim Carvallo, great-grandfather of the current owners, bought the property and restored to their former glory the castle and its famous gardens, among the most beautiful in France.