Things to do in
Centre-Val de Loire

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

Château de Fontainebleau: Priority Entrance Ticket

1. Château de Fontainebleau: Priority Entrance Ticket

Get priority entrance to Fontainebleau, the only royal and imperial château to have been continuously inhabited for eight centuries. On top of exploring chapels, galleries and guest apartments which would have been used by French and visiting royalty, you will see Marie Antoinette's bed, Napoleon's throne, François Gérard's 1807 portrait of Empress Josephine and more! Wander through over 1500 rooms and 130 acres of parkland and gardens, including the the French Renaissance garden, inspired by the Italian Renaissance gardens; the French formal garden, the favorite style of Louis XIV; and the French landscape garden, inspired by the English landscape garden. You will also be able to visit the museums and feel what it must have been like as a king or queen growing up here.

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Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

2. 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.

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Clos Lucé Castle Ticket: Da Vinci Home & Science Museum

3. Clos Lucé Castle Ticket: Da Vinci Home & Science Museum

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.

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Loire Valley: Château Royal d'Amboise Entrance Ticket

4. Loire Valley: Château Royal d'Amboise Entrance Ticket

Ditch the hassle of long lines and start exploring the Château Royal d’Amboise. A place of residence for French royalty from the 15th to 19th centuries, the castle has hosted a long list of famous renaissance figures — most notably, Leonardo da Vinci, whose tomb stands in one of the Château’s chapels.  Experience a classic expression of French luxury as you wander the balconies, terraced gardens, and broad roofs, all providing a panoramic view of the famous Loire River. Explore the grounds and buildings further with the Histopad, a tablet-based experience that grants visitors a look back in time to the château in its heyday. The HistoPad technology offers a spectacular way to enrich your discovery of the royal château of Amboise. It includes 3D recreations of the Loggia, the interior decoration, and recreations of scenes from life at court. 2020 exhibitions • “Travel like the kings.” In 2020, the magic of travel and roaming will be celebrated at the royal château of Amboise. In particular, with the exhibition: “On the route of the traveling princes”, on display throughout the entire season.

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Château of Azay-le-Rideau Skip-the-Line Ticket

5. Château of Azay-le-Rideau Skip-the-Line Ticket

The Château of Azay-le-Rideau was built in the heart of Loire Valley during the reign of François I, and offers all the charm of the Renaissance. It is a 16th-century architectural masterpiece, rising up from an island formed by the Indre River, and is situated within a romantic 19th-century park. The château boasts a colorful history. In 1510, Gilles Berthelot acquired the seigneurie and fortress of Azay, rebuilding it in the sumptuous Italian style that was popular at the time. After Berthelot's relative Semblança, who had been aiding Berthelot in building his wealth in the region, was accused of embezzlement and executed, Berthelot fled. The château was then given by François I to his companion-in-arms, Antoine Rafin, and his descendants, who lived there until the 18th century, after which it fell into the possession of the Marquis Charles de Biencourt, responsible for the château's beautiful gardens. After benefiting from an exceptional restoration program, this jewel of the Loire Valley will be revealing its finery in the summer of 2017. The château also offers a new experience: new highlighted collections, a dream-like tour path, mobile tour guide applications, the romantic park and so on. Not to be missed: the living room and dining room of the Marquis of Biencourt (19th century décors), the atmospheric staging of the kitchen, the new interpretation area. The sight is protected by UNESCO, and features gothic motifs, a royal apartment used by Louis XIII in 1619, stunning Renaissance ornamentation and façades that overlook the lakes, with apartments embellished with overhanging corner turrets. Visit before September 19, 2021 and see the temporary exhibition DE CHANTILLY À AZAY-LE-RIDEAU. LE RETOUR DES PORTRAITS DE LA RENAISSANCE. This exhibition includes 36 portraits painted between the rule of Charles VII and Louis XIV, and includes a portarit of Catherine de Médicis and her children.

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Amboise: Caves Ambacia Visit and Wine Tasting

6. 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.

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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.

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From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

8. 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.

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From Tours/Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord, Blois & Cheverny

9. From Tours/Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord, Blois & Cheverny

Depart Tours or Amboise to journey into the Loire Valley and discover some of its famous châteaux. Stop at the Château de Blois, notable for its unique mix of Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Classical architecture. The former home of kings Louis XII and François I, its history is steeped in tragedy and is notable as the place where Joan of Arc went to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans. Pause for a wine tasting and sample some of the organic wines of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny. The Cheverny appellation produces elegant reds from the pinot noir and gamay grapes, as well as fruity whites from the chardonnay and sauvignon grapes. Sample a stunning organic white wine made from the romorantin grape, imported into the Loire Valley by King François I. Take a guided tour of the Château de Cheverny, owned by the same family since the days of Louis XIII. See some of the most beautiful furniture in the Loire Valley, and learn the château's rich history, such as its connection to Tintin comic books and the impressive hunts on horseback that used to take place with a pack of 100 dogs. You may even get to see the spectacular daily event of “the dogs’ soup!” Move on to the Château de Chambord, one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world for its distinctive French Renaissance architecture. Discover the vast national game reserve of the largest château in the Loire Valley, and learn the monument's fascinating history, including the unverified tale of Leonardo da Vinci's involvement in its construction. Return to your original departure town, with drop off in Tours at 18:00 or Amboise at 18:45.

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Private Walking Tour of Tours Historical Center

10. Private Walking Tour of Tours Historical Center

Do you know which city was the capital of France in 15th century? Where the famous French novelist Honoré de Balzac was born? Which city is considered to be the Garden of France? Or where you can hear the purest French spoken language? The answer to all of these questions is Tours, a historic city dating back to the Middle Ages located right in the heart of France, just one hour away from Paris. Join our helpful and knowledgeable guides to discover the rich history and wonderful medieval buildings of Tours. Visit the city's beloved Cathédrale Saint-Gatien, which dates back to as early as 1170. The cathedral is a beautiful mix of different architectural styles, with major sections finished between the 13th and 15th centuries. Another point of interest may be the medieval Tour Charlemagne, located in the center of the Old City. Or, feel free to visit the famous museum of Beaux- Arts on your own, admiring its impressive collection including pieces by French, Italian, Flemish and Dutch masters. Then, enjoy a taste of the region's fine wine, considered by many to be among the best in all of France. Let us show you the beautiful city of Tours through the eyes of a local!

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What people are saying about Centre-Val de Loire

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,222 reviews

Here is a very well maintained Castle, which will satisfy you both inside, and in its large and beautiful gardens intended to be admired as well as to stroll quietly. Note the existence of large parking lots outside and toilets whose cleanliness must be emphasized and which are both free.

Just with both of us. Good English speaking guide, who tells us how the b works in 15 minutes, after that we did a round with three videos. Tasting of different red and white wines with good explanations, and with snacks (+€5), not pushy to sell. Recommended

The chateau provides a self guide for you so the entry tickets were the way to go - less expensive than a tour and a tour is not required. you go at your own pace. We went early in the morning when it opened and there were no crowds

YOU RECEIVE A SELF GUIDE WHEN YOU ENTER, SO ENTRY TICKETS ONLY WERE THE SMART WAY TO GO. YOU CAN GO AT YOUR OWN PACE

Lovely visit of the two chateaus plus a lunch prepared by a local. Very nice trip through a beautiful area.