The Loire Valley follows the western stretch of the Loire River, the longest in France, between Orléans and Nantes. This region is the most heavily forested in France. Our explorations of Loire châteaux will be focused in this region. You can find other Châteaux in France by clicking on Châteaux in the categories tag at the right.
Enjoy French castles as we wander through the Loire Valley and experience 5 centuries of Royal architecture ! Azay-le-Rideau is my favorite thus far in our travels. I have a current list below of all Châteaux for which I have visited and photographed.
Châteaux (French castles) built by kings as military fortresses during the pre – 15th centuries are often positioned on rocky promontories or safeguarded by drawbridges. Photo courtesy of Angel
Châteaux built during the 15th and 16th centurieshave architectural features that showcase wealth and ancestry. These châteaux were built as pleasure palaces.
Châteaux built in the Baroque period, 16th-18th centuries feature paintings, sculptures and classical architecture integrated in the structure.
The vast majority of the major châteaux are now unfurnished since it was not until the 17th century that châteaux began to have permanent furnishings. Restorations during the 19th and 20th centuries have attempted to reconstruct original furnishings.
It is very easy to develop “châteaux overload” so pace yourself. If you go by car it is so easy to try to “do too much”. Visiting only one or possibly two châteaux (their interiors and grounds) per day will allow you to enjoy and absorb all that you see!
Traveling by train allows “down-time” between the châteaux which enables the driver to enjoy the vistas between châteaux. Click here to see two suggested trips via train to explore the châteaux
Click on your favorite Château below:
|Amboise||Angers||Azay le Rideau|
|Clos Lucé||Le Moulin||Saumur|