and now it's 6 years!
Châteaux de la Loire are Renaissance castles along the Loire Valley. From upstream Gien, a mere 2-hour drive from Paris, to downstream Nantes, a 4-hour drive non-stop, the castles lie over the historic towns of Blois, Amboise, Tours, Saumur, Angers, to name just a few. And from privately owned châteaux that open their doors to public or those operated now as B&B, to châteaux owned by local or national government, there are hundreds over the Loire Valley.
From Paris, there are many tour operators organizing day tour to visit just 2 or 3 châteaux with guide and transport provided, it is ideal for those who are on a tight schedule in France or those who do not wish to drive. (Viator, Paris City Vision and France Tourisme are a few names that pop into mind)
Dada and I opted for a weekend trip to see 6 châteaux on the eastern side of the Valley. We spent the first day visiting Chambord, Cheverny and Blois (where we spent the night at), and the second day visiting Chaumont sur Loire, Chenonceau and Amboise before heading back to Paris.
Of course, if you wish to do a complete tour along the Loire Valley, count another day for Villandry, Langeais and Azay-le-Rideau, and then a second day for Ussé, Chinon and Saumur. All these châteaux are a must-visit for this reason or that. You can add a third day for some side visits, for example Montsoreau, one of the most beautiful villages in France; a visit to a “champigonnière”, i.e. a mushroom museum; Le Clos Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final days etc etc.
Further along the Loire Valley, you can even visit Angers (see my old post) and Nantes (where I spent a year before moving to Paris), both have a château respectively.
On this map that I find online, those circled in black are châteaux I have visited in a 2-day trip while those in purple are châteaux that are for another 2-day trip in the future.
Stay tuned for the following 6 châteaux : Chambord, Cheverny, Blois, Chaumont sur Loire, Chenonceau and Amboise 🙂