Things to do in Loire Valley, France

Our most recommended things to do in Loire Valley, France

From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

1. From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of Parisian life and enter into the Garden of France. Stroll the walkways of the French monarchs, hear tales of royal love affairs and kidnappings, and behold the beauty of the Loire Valley's exquisite Chateaux.  The first stop of the day is Château de Chambord; the perfect example of French Renaissance architecture, this remarkable structure was built by King François I between 1519-1547 and is the largest château in the Loire Valley. Who designed this masterpiece is still in dispute, and with contenders including Leonardo da Vinci, its sights are sure not to disappoint. Next up is the charming Château de Chenonceau, a true fairy tale castle set picturesquely on the Cher River, its history and character has been shaped by the women who've inhabited it. The site of the first-ever French fireworks display, Chenonceau is really one to fall in love with. The last stop will be at Château de Cheverny, a 17th-century beauty furnished in great taste and with marvelous gardens. Enjoy free time for lunch (not included) during the day either at Chenonceau or Chambord. You’ll be back in Paris in the evening.

Amboise: Clos Lucé Castle, Da Vinci Park and Museum Ticket

2. Amboise: Clos Lucé Castle, Da Vinci Park and Museum Ticket

Learn about the history of Leonardo da Vinci and his masterpieces (including the Mona Lisa) during his time in France at the Château du Clos Lucé. Invited by King Francis 1st of France, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy and took up residence at the Château du Clos Luce in the autumn of 1516. Appointed "first painter, engineer and architect to the King", Da Vinci served the monarch with his talents, working tirelessly on numerous projects and imagining plans for the "ideal château". With this admission ticket, you will receive access to both the castle and park. The visit will begin in the bedroom of Leonardo da Vinci, the site where Leonardo died in 1519 at the age of 67. From the window, you can see the Saint Hubert Chapel at the Royal Castle of Amboise, which is the burial place of Da Vinci. Whilst in the Leonardo da Vinci Park, you will learn about the artistic creations and major inventions of the artist. You will enter the imaginary world of Da Vinci, seeing the world as he did in these unique grounds.

Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

3. Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

Enjoy access to Chenonceau site and its wonderful gardens. This unusual castle was built on a bridge across the Cher River. To learn more about castle history, audio guides are available in 16 languages. The castle is located near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire department. Chenonceau castle, also known as the Chateau des Dames, is famous for the great heroines who lived there, such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis, and for the beauty of its Renaissance gardens. Chenonceau castle was also used as a military hospital during the First World War. Discover the rich history of this incredible fortress.

Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Coach With Wine Tasting

4. Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Coach With Wine Tasting

Discover iconic castles on this bus day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley and explore Château de Chambord on a self-guided tour. Have free time in the charming town of Bloise and have the chance to visit Blois Castle on your own. Visit Château de Chenonceau for a self guided tour and wine tasting experience. From Paris, head to Château de Chambord. Disney fans will find this castle’s turrets familiar; it was the inspiration for the castle in "Beauty and the Beast." Though originally conceived as a royal hunting lodge, it was built to a scale that must be seen to be believed. Learn all about the castle’s captivating history from your guide before entering the castle. You can then visit the inside at your own pace on a self-guided visit. Climb a staircase supposedly designed by Da Vinci, enjoy spectacular turret-framed rooftop views, and glimpse wild deer around the grounds. Having worked up an appetite, get back on the bus and continue on to the next stop: the quaint town of Blois. Take some free time to enjoy lunch (at your own expense) in one of the restaurants located around the beautiful and vibrant Square Louis XII. Alternatively, grab a bite and visit the royal Blois Castle on your own, notable for its unique mix of medieval Gothic and neoclassical Renaissance architecture. Last but not least is the elegant Château de Chenonceau. The chapel, bedrooms, and magnificent vaulted kitchens are still furnished and decorated from times gone by, showing off the castle’s many sweeping stone carvings. Don’t miss the impressive main hall, which spans the river Cher, or the gardens cultivated by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici — 2 of the famous owners that earned Chenonceau the nickname "the Ladies’ Château." After a your visit, continue exploring or indulge in a wine tasting in the castle’s vaulted wine cellar. Your tour leader will entertain you between stops with insights and stories about the countryside and the nobility who once reigned over the region. Three uniquely beautiful French castles and a wine tasting, all amid the stunning scenery of the Loire Valley — this memorable day trip from Paris will delight all the senses.

Amboise: Caves Ambacia Visit and Wine Tasting

5. Amboise: Caves Ambacia Visit and Wine Tasting

Discover the original wines and matured vintages on offer at the house Duhard, founded in 1874. Visit their 16th-century troglodyte caves facing the Loire near the historical center of Amboise and enjoy a wine tour experience in 2 parts. First, awaken and stimulate your 5 senses and learn more about wine on the Sensorial tour. Then, travel through 150 years of wine history on the Vintages Odyssey tour of  Les Caves Ambacia (formerly Les Caves Duhard) wine collection. Follow your tour with a tasting of 3 wines with a sommelier, with an optional food and wine pairing also available. After, enjoy the delicatessen boutique and purchase wines with shipping available worldwide. Tours in English take place at 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM. Tours in French take place at 11 AM, 3 PM, and 5 PM.

Paris: Loire Valley Chambord Castle, Wine Tasting & Lunch

6. Paris: Loire Valley Chambord Castle, Wine Tasting & Lunch

Admire magnificent Renaissance Castles and taste delicious Loire Valley wines on this full-day tour. Fall in love with the Chambord's impressive architecture and with the diversity of Loire Valley wines on this tour in an airconditioned van from Paris.  Be picked up early in the morning in Paris and travel in a comfortable van. On the way, enjoy flaky croissants while your guide tells you about the winemaking region of Loire and its heritage. Stop at the Château of Chambord and explore twith an audio-guided tour. Uncover the secrets of this splendid castle that was constructed by King Francis I of France in the early 16th century. Drive through the lush, rolling vineyards of Touraine, Vouvray, and Montlouis-Sur-Loire. Take in the colorful landscapes where Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc grapes ripen in the sun.  Savor a traditional gourmet lunch at a winery or a gourmet restaurant. Delight your senses with a Loire wine tasting hosted by your tour guide. After lunch, discover a family-run winery and taste a range or red and white wines.  Experience authentic Loire Valley wines that are largely unavailable in the rest of the world. Be dropped off in a well connected area of central Paris in the evening.

Nantes City Card Pass: 24/48/72 Hours/7 Days Full Access

7. Nantes City Card Pass: 24/48/72 Hours/7 Days Full Access

Nestled neatly on the banks of the Loire River, Nantes is a city with a lot to offer. From a weekend to 7 days, you will have full access to its greatest sites. With the convenient and flexible Nantes Pass, you'll have a chance to experience the best of the city in a fun and easy way. Nantes is a hub for culture and exploration, and with the Nantes Pass, you will have full access to over 40 attractions, museums, monuments, and public transport. Also receive discounts on shopping, entertainment, and leisure. For a taste of what awaits you, perhaps you're interested in seeing the incredible museums. Check out the Galery of the Machines de l'Ile or the Carrousel des Mondes Marins; discover some amazing sculptures based on the imaginary worlds of Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci. Perhaps you'd like to visit the Nantes History Museum in the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany; everything is possible with the Nantes City Pass. If you'd like, you can also enjoy deep discount offers on leisure activities and gift shops around town. You will also have access to guided tours, river cruises, and more. There is so much that awaits you – time will simply fly by! Come and spend some time exploring this beautiful part of the Loire River valley. From the grand castles and chateaux to the splendid food and culture, Nantes can be enjoyed by everyone. Enjoy access to 50 attractions and experiences:Musée d’arts de NantesChâteau des ducs de Bretagne - Musée d’histoire de NantesLe Carrousel des Mondes MarinsLa Galerie des Machines de l’îleJules Verne MuseumMuséum d’Histoire NaturelleMusée-atelier de l’imprimerie de NantesPlanétariumLe ChronographeMusée Naval Maillé BrézéErdre River CruiseLa Toue de Nantes (boat trip and tasting)Bateau Ouch CruiseLoire Cruise: Ile de NantesCruise Estuaire Nantes Saint-Nazaire (From May to October)Tourist Train tourCity Tour BusDétours de Loire bike rentalLa Cantine du VoyagePetits voyages extraordinaires Mini-golfFloating - nautical activities (boat rentals)Ruban vert - nautical activities (March to November)Mauves Balnéaire (May to September)La SablièrePaper mill LiveauChâteau de GoulaineChâteau de La FrémoireMusée du Vignoble NantaisLa Garenne Lemot EstateCafé de la BrancheLittle Atlantique BreweryLa Fraiseraie RestaurantLa Cigale Brasserie La Guinguette Restaurant and BarChâteau de ClissonClisson tourChâteau du CoingSubmarine Espadon and Saint-Nazaire Heritage MuseumStation Nuage / Cloud Station (May to September)Le Caveau du Porte-VueTerre d’EstuaireEscal’ AtlanticEOL Centre éolien Saint-NazaireChâteau de ChâteaubriantLe Voyage à Nantes reception officeAudio-guided routes in Nantes (available in English, French, and Spanish)

Blois: Chateau de Blois Entry Ticket

8. Blois: Chateau de Blois Entry Ticket

Learn the secrets of the French court by taking a visit to one of the most intriguing emblems of French architecture. A favorite residence of 7 French kings and 10 French queens, the castle occupies a central place in the country's history. Throughout the centuries, dramas, plots, and power games have played out in the Royal Chateau.  With this entry ticket, visit 4 wings, go back in time to 4 different eras, and witness 4 architectural styles.  From the courtyard, a unique and majestic view opens up for you. In turn, your eyes will rest upon the 4 Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical facades. These wings constitute a unique example of French architecture. The Chateau itself is a concentration of French history’s great architectural periods. In 1854, it was classified as a historic monument. Magnificently restored in the 19th century by Felix Duban, the Royal Chateau is beautifully furnished, decorated, and filled with color. From the tiled floors to the wood panels it is a feast for the eyes. Once inside, enter the Blois Fine Arts Museum, classed as a Museum of France. Perouse a wealth of more than 35,000 works with masterpieces by Ingres, Rubens, and Boucher. Take in an incredible view of the Loire river and the beautiful old town. The Royal Chateau offers a wide choice of original and stunning events throughout the year. From major exhibitions and classical fencing displays in summer, evening events lit by electric torches in the winter to behind-the-doors tours and Renaissance balls.  After your visit, take a few steps and see the shops, bars, and restaurants that liven up Blois in summer and winter. Stroll through the streets, alleys, and remarkable gardens.

Nantes: Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & Audio Tour

9. Nantes: Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & Audio Tour

Explore Nantes on an interactive scavenger hunt. Use your phone and the World City Trail app to decipher riddles and unlock facts. Visit 10 of the most important attractions in the city. Apply logic, observation, and teamwork to solve a location-based riddle and advance to the next destination. Begin the activity whenever you want. Take a break for lunch or to visit a museum any time you wish. Save your progress and complete the tour another day. Start at the Musée d'Arts de Nantes and admire this historical monument. Continue to the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of Nantes. Admire the Gothic architecture. Head to the medieval quarter and see the beautiful Château des ducs de Bretagne, which dates back to the 15th century. Follow the route to the Église Sainte-Croix and see the stained glass windows. Arrive at your 5th stop to see the Basilique Saint-Nicolas de Nantes. Marvel at this towering basilica. Walk around Place Royale and admire the fountain in this pedestrianized square. Discover the Passage Pommeraye, a quaint shopping arcade built in the 1840s. Go to the Cr. Cambronne, the Natural History Museum, and the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery.

From Paris: Small-Group Loire Valley Castles Full-Day Tour

10. From Paris: Small-Group Loire Valley Castles Full-Day Tour

Discover some of the finest castles of the Loire Valley on a guided day trip from Paris. Transfer by air-conditioned minibus to the castles of Chenonceau, Chambord, and Amboise. Walk in the flower gardens of the Château de Chenonceau, and gaze at the delicate arches that cross the Cher River. Learn the extraordinary history of the building, which was run by women for much of its time in existence. Continue to Chambord to investigate the largest castle in the Loire Valley. Marvel at the extravagant architecture and double spiraled staircase of the royal Château de Chambord. See the hundreds of columns and spires that adorn its roof. End the day at the former home of King Francois I, and see the tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci at Amboise village and the Château d’Amboise. Confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it was a favorite royal residence and was extensively rebuilt.

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What people are saying about Loire Valley, France

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,365 reviews

Excellent narration by the guide who was able to answer all questions, including history of the chateau to questions regarding present day French society issues. The only thing I can recommend to improve the tour is provide a microphone for the guide to enhance the narration for all.

Incredible experience! the places overflown in France are magnificent! At times, we take control of our flying machine to pilot ourselves, it's super fun and we're full of sensations! I highly recommend.

The guides were brilliant, I love getting information on tours and they packed it with history whilst keeping the stories very engaging. The castles were so gorgeous, a must in Paris.

Wonderful trip, well organized and very interesting. Excellent tour guide (Leona) and driver (Ibrahim). Highly recommended

Very well organized guide booklet that led one through the castle and gardens. Fantastic!