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AttractionsLoire Valley

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Madame á la campagne

Château de Chambord- A Masterpiece of building started by Francois I in 1519 and finished by Louis XIV in 1686. The exterior is in fact much more interesting than the interior, except for the double spiral staircase, there is very little in the way of furniture or other decoction within the Château, as my wife said, 'it's a hollow shell'. But it is still not to be missed, my suggestion is visit the Château in the morning, catch the horse show at 11:45 and then have lunch on the lawn. After lunch, to see the grounds you could, take a walk, ride in a horse drawn carriage or rent boat a boat. Then after dark come back, park near the woods and watch the wild animals roaming free. Chambord is stroller friendly and young children can runaround freely, as there is little for them to break.

Château de Cheverny- This Château is the most richly furnished of any in the Loire Valley. As me and my wife can attest, this makes Cheverny not the most toddler friendly, strollers are also not allowed inside the Château. Much smaller than Chambord, Cheverny can be seen in under and hour and it will not make you feet hurt, it also has a lived in feeling that Chambord dose not. There is also an Orangery, Trophy Room and dog kennel(Ask when feeding time is.) on the grounds. The grounds are more extensive than that, but the day we visited it rained.
Cheverny also plays a role in children's literature, there is a Tintin(A French language cartoon, for more on Tintin click here.) museum, some of Tintin's adventures happen at a château based on Cheverny.

Château de Chenonceau- If you only have the time to see one Château, then Chenonceau is the one. No other Château in the Loire Valley will give you more to see inside and out. It has two wonderful French gardens, a second floor art gallery, forest and many other wonders. Rent a rowboat and get a view of Chenonceau from the Cher river it is built over. But what ever you do, don't walk on the grass!

Château Royal de Blois- A true fortress castle built on a hill over looking the Loire river. Mix of many different architectural styles, gothic and renaissance to name a few. When I was there their seemed to be regular guided tours in English. Directly across from the Château is the Masion de la Magie Robert-Houdin (Harry Houdini took his name from Houdin by adding and i.), a museum of magic that makes a nice break for the younger ones in the family in age and in heart. A combination ticket can be purchased for both the Château and Masion de la Magie. The Masion de la Magie Robert-Houdin has daily magic shows and an outside "Dragon Show", ask for show times.
Hotels in Blois

Château d'Amboise- Beautiful views can be found in abundance at this fortress Château, as can the grave of Leonard da Vinci. When I visited there were no offerings of tours in English, but the guide I received seemed to have all the relevant info. Also not to be missed is Clos Lucé, where Leonard da Vinci spent the last years of his life. Clos Lucé along with showing you da Vinci's living quarters and workshop, also has replicas of some of da Vinci creations in a small museum.
Hotels in Amboise

Château de Fougères-sur-Bière- Small medieval castle with self guided tours. Fougères-sur-Bière can be easily seen in under an hour. Makes for a nice second Château if you have visited some of the bigger Châteaux near by.

Château de Villesavin- I'm not going to go as far to call this Château a tourist trap, but I don't think that it is all that great. Being a private residence, you are not allowed inside and the grounds and onsite museums are not worth it. Self guided tours with very limited documentation in English.

Château de Beauregard- Now this little Château should not be missed! You only get to see three rooms but they are worth it, the Portrait Gallery in itself with its 327 painting and Delft tile floor is a rare treasure.

Also see Château de Villandry, Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Château de Langeais and Château d'Ussé.

Hotels in the Loire Valley

One of my sponsors, Viator has guided tours in and around the Loire Vally cities of Tours and Blois

Related Links:
B&B Golf Breaks in the Loire Valley: If you love golf, then this is the place for you! We specialise in golf breaks from our historic Mnaor House in this beautiful part of France. There are 6 great courses in the area and we've negociated special green-fee discounts for our guests.
Experience Loire: A guide to the Loire Valley and its Chateaux





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