Known as the ‘Garden of France’ ever since Renaissance writer François Rabelais first labelled the area, the Loire Valley is one of the most glamorous and resplendent parts of this charming country. The rich, green landscape of this region is sprinkled with historic towns, spectacular castles and fortresses built amid beautiful scenery. Explore exquisite banquet halls, extravagant gardens and stand in awe of the amazing architecture of these noble residences.
Historic Hideout: Château de Sully-sur-Loire
This picturesque building, which lies on the banks of the Loire River, has a visitors’ list that includes some of the most illustrious names in the history of France. Past guests include international royalty fleeing from the French civil war, military generals and even the famous writer Voltaire. A visit to the bastion, which dates back to the 12th century, is like taking a walk back in time, with a fantastic array of tapestries, artwork and sculptures providing a glimpse into Medieval life. Today, the castle also functions as an atmospheric music venue, hosting classical and jazz concerts during the Sully and Loiret Music Festival.
The King’s Palace: Château de Chambord
Designed by Italian master Domenico da Cortona, reportedly with the aid of the great Leonardo da Vinci, the Château de Chambord will take your breath away. The enormous structure is renowned as a crowning example of French Renaissance architecture, and was commissioned by the King Francis I of France as a way to show off his power to foreign dignitaries. Wander around the beautiful grounds before taking that perfect shot of the castle reflected in the water of the surrounding moat.
Artist Retreat: Château de l’Islette
The idyllic route to this chateau takes you past colourful flowers, leafy trees and across the gently flowing Indre river. The towering spires of this romantic refuge and its serene French woodland setting ensured this elegant building became the favourite residence of famed sculptors Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, who made this castle their love nest. Inspire the imagination of the little ones by letting them try on the many knight and princess outfits before exploring the wonders of the stronghold. The whole family can enjoy a relaxing picnic along the water, hire a boat for a scenic adventure or simply relax in one of the deckchairs along the river.
Island Escape: Château d’Azay-le-Rideau
This pretty fortress is located on a small island in the Indre river, rising majestically out of the water to stand out as one of the most impressive châteaux in the region. As a glistening example of early French Renaissance architecture in the country, the building’s grandeur attracts visitors from all over the world. Explore the sumptuously decorated interior before taking a stroll in the English style garden, the perfect conclusion to your peaceful stay in the Loire Valley.