Things to do in
Centre-Val de Loire

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Our most recommended things to do in Centre-Val de Loire

Chambord: Skip-the-Line Château de Chambord Ticket

1. Chambord: Skip-the-Line Château de Chambord Ticket

The Chambord Castle was created by François I, but not as a permanent residence, as the king only ever stayed for a few weeks. Chambord is well known because of its unique and sumptuous architecture, which is imbued with the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci. The castle is located in a large park of 5,000 hectares. The encircling walls are about 30 kilometers long. Chambord Castle is the most impressive castle in the Loire Valley. It has about 400 rooms, more than 80 staircases, 365 fireplaces, and an exceptional number of towers, high ceilings, pointed domes, and graceful pinnacles. You will be able to discover, among other sights, the renowned double-helix staircase: 2 staircases going around on the same side without crossing. To learn more about the Castle's history and architecture, you will have the possibility to watch a 20-minute film translated into 4 languages (English, Italian, Spanish and German). A free visitor guide is also available in 14 languages: French, English, German, Dutch, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

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.

From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

3. 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.

From Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Bus with Wine Tasting

4. From Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Bus with Wine Tasting

Discover iconic castles on this bus day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley. Explore Château de Chambord on a guided tour. Have free time in the charming town of Bloise and have the chance to visit Blois Castle. Visit Château de Chenonceau for a 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 getting your own chance to explore. 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 guided tour, 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

Want to discover magnificent Renaissance Castles and taste delicious wines from the Loire Valley? At the end of this 11-hour wine & culture day tour, you will have fallen in love not only with Chambord's impressive architecture but also with the diversity of Loire Valley wines. After an early morning hotel pick-up in Paris, travel in a comfortable minivan approx. 2h south of the city in direction of Chambord Castle. On your way, enjoy flaky croissants while your guide tells you about the winemaking region of Loire and its heritage.  In the morning, visit the Château of Chambord with an audio-guided tour. Come away knowing the secrets behind this splendid Castle constructed by King Francis I of France in the early 16th century. Back in the minivan, pass through the vineyards of Touraine, Vouvray, and Montlouis-Sur-Loire. Admire the colorful landscapes of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc grapes.  Enjoy a traditional gourmet lunch either in a winery or a gourmet restaurant, along with a Loire wine tasting hosted by your tour guide. After lunch, discover a family-run winery and taste sparkling white wines, dry and sweet white wines, and red and rosé wines (the type of wine depends on the winery visited). Here, you’ll get to taste authentic Loire Valley wines largely unavailable in the rest of the world. You’ll be dropped off back in a well connected area of central Paris in the evening.

From Amboise: Chambord and Chenonceau Tour with Lunch

7. From Amboise: Chambord and Chenonceau Tour with Lunch

Travel back to the days of the French Renaissance on a full-day tour of the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Enjoy a relaxing lunch in a family-owned, and still occupied, chateau. Meet your guide in Amboise and travel to Chateau Chenonceau. Stroll through the manicured gardens named after Catherine de Médicis and Diane de Poitiers, the chateau's former residents. Appreciate the refined architecture and feminine influence in each room and see precious antiques and flower arrangements. For lunch, enjoy a meal served at an off-the-beaten-path location, hosted by the French Countess who lives there. Taste local food in one of the smallest of all the Loire Valley castles. Then, continue to Chateau Chambord. Discover a glorious work of art and architecture as your guide selects the most emblematic rooms to visit. Hear memorable anecdotes as they point out hidden details. Get breathtaking views of the castle during a coffee break in Chambord Park before returning to Amboise in the evening.

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

8. 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.

From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

9. From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

Benefit from pick-up by air-conditioned, 8-seater van and head to the picturesque Château de Chenonceau with magnificent Renaissance gardens. Then, go to Amboise for a wine tour with tastings. Visit Les Caves Ambacia for a wine experience and sample some of the wines of the Loire Valley at a tasting with a sommelier. Lunch at leisure in Amboise. Continue to Chambord for a guided tour of the chateau. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 5.30 PM or Amboise at 6:00 PM. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 6 PM or Amboise at 6:45 PM.

From Tours: Chambord, Chenonceau & Lunch at Family Chateau

10. From Tours: Chambord, Chenonceau & Lunch at Family Chateau

Travel back to the days of the French Renaissance on a full-day tour of the châteaux of the Loire Valley, and enjoy an optional lunch in a privately-owned— and still occupied — castle. Meet your guide at the Tourist Office in Tours at 9:00 AM and drive by minivan to Chambord. Discover glorious works of art and architecture as your guide selects the most emblematic rooms to visit. Hear memorable anecdotes as they point out hidden details. Get breathtaking views of the castle during a coffee break in Chambord Park. Lunch will be served at an off-the-beaten-path location, hosted by the French Countess who lives there permanently. Taste local food in the smallest of all the Loire Valley castles. Continue to Chenonceau, passing the must-see castles of the French “Valley of the Kings,” including Chaumont, Amboise and Clos Lucé. Upon arrival at the Château de Chenonceau (the most visited historical monument in France), admire the unusual castle built on a bridge across the Cher River. Stroll through the manicured gardens named after the "Catherine de Médicis" and "Diane de Poitiers," the famous ladies who lived there. Take time to appreciate the refined architecture and feminine influence of each room and see beautiful antiques and lovely arrangements of fresh flowers. Then your guide will offer you an aperitif of local produce in a secret corner of the park. Enjoy the most striking view of Château de Chenonceau, before returning to Tours at 7:00 PM.

Other Sightseeing Options in Centre-Val de Loire

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What people are saying about Centre-Val de Loire

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,290 reviews

Our guide Matthew was informative , and very accommodating. The two gentlemen in our group needed to sit while Matthew talked to us and he always found a place for them. We walked slowly and he was willing to extend the time of the tour so he could fit everything in. He showed up in costume and so we not only got a history lesson about Tours we had a history lesson about musketeers. A would highly recommend this guide, he is a treasure!!!!!

We had the most gratefull surprise. The owner of the Cave and our tour guide speaked portuguese and made our tour very easy for us brazilians. Would totally recommend the experience

Definitely worth a visit. The Chateau is stunning, both inside and outside.

Beautiful castle and an astonishing garden. An educational experience!

We’ll done tour. I was super impressed with the gardens!