VISIT THESE 4 STUNNING CHATEAUX ON A DAY TRIP FROM PARIS

crossing5oceans.com | Published June 23rd, 2021 | Last Updated June 23rd, 2021

A white-washed loire valley chateau with black roof and shady trees in a courtyard

All Images © 2021 - Kelly Girouard - Please Contact for Permission to Use


The Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France” for a few reasons; the enchanting countryside and the breathtaking castles, not to mention, it's one of the world’s most well-known wine regions. In addition, the entire area has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since the year 2000 and continues to welcome about 6 million visitors annually.

The Loire Valley is a destination that can be explored by making a base in one of the quaint towns allowing visitors to soak up the region as intended, or, if you're short on time, the chateaux can be enjoyed as a day trip from Paris. This article will provide the information you need to plan a visit to Chambord, Chenonceau, d’Amboise and Clos Luce.


Table of Contents

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. How to Get Around Loire Valley

2. Best Time to Visit

3. Visiting on a Day Trip from Paris


THE CHATEAUS

4. Chateau Chambord

5. Chateau Chenonceau

6. Chateau d'Amboise

7. Chateau du Clos Luce


HOW TO GET AROUND LOIRE VALLEY

A rental car would be the perfect option to visit the chateaux at your own speed and spend more time where you feel it's warranted. However, if you plan on visiting as a day trip from Paris, be prepared for a long day. The drive to reach the first Chateau, Chambord, is approximately 2 hours, so it’s a good idea to head out early; being on the grounds an hour before opening will mean having time to snap photos of the facade and grounds before heading to the interior.


Other options for visiting the chateaux include signing up for a private or group tour. Most often, both types of tours can be arranged through your hotel, by recommendations from a tourist information centre, or by going online to travel sites such as Viator. Remember, in a group tour, you are on their clock, and while you may want to stay longer in one place than another, you're at the mercy of their timetable.


BEST TIME TO VISIT

The Loire Valley Chateaux have something to offer in each season, so depending on the experience you're looking for, the best time to visit may be different for everyone.


If you choose to visit in the shoulder season of April to June and September to October, the weather is often cool, but is becoming increasingly warm as you head closer to the summer months. Added benefits of shoulder season is that other tourists have started to dissipate or they have yet to arrive, and prices have not reached the premiums of high season.

During the winter, road conditions may make the journey longer than need be. However, the chateaux look beautiful in the falling snow, and you'll benefit from having more of the castle and grounds to yourself instead of competing with other visitors. Watch out for early closing times and days of the week that the chateaux do not open.


In the summer months, from June to early September, the castles are a bustle. This is the perfect time to see gardens in full bloom and experience light and fountain shows as well as festivals. The only caveat is the significant increase in the number of tourists and the cost. If you're planning to visit on a day trip from Paris, it will make fitting these four chateaux into one day difficult since waiting in lines during high season is a certainty.


VISITING ON A DAY TRIP FROM PARIS

I would like to mention off the bat that this is a very ambitious timetable. While I loved each chateau I visited, and wouldn't be able to pick one to leave off this list, I also feel it was an incredibly rushed day and I wanted more time at each location.


If you enjoy photography or would like to stay longer than the recommended times below, it would be best to visit only three chateaux. You can also consider an overnight stay and see two castles per day to take it all in.

THE CHATEAUS

From the largest Chateau in France to one that is the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci, there's something special to discover at Chambord, Chenonceau, d'Amboise and Clos Luce. Be sure to check out the HIGHLIGHT in the information section below to uncover what makes each chateau unique.



Chateau de Chambord

Known as one of the most unique Renaissance buildings constructed today, Chateau Chambord has a history dating back to 1519, when the building was commissioned by Francois I. It's difficult to believe that such an impressive chateau was built for King Francois, who only resided here for a few weeks. Construction was completed in the 17th century by Louis XIV, and in the 18th century, the chateau became privatized and survived the ravages of the French Revolution.


White stone chateau with a couple walking in the garden

The Front Facade of Chateau de Chambord


Today, this masterpiece is a treasure both inside and out. Visitors cannot help but be impressed by the soaring facade, multiple chimneys, turrets crowning the roofline and the immaculately landscaped grounds.


Side facade of Chateau Chambord with multiple ornate turrets and chimneys

Turrets, Chimneys, and Ornate Facade Details


To get an idea of the scale of Chambord, take a closer look at the image above. On the upper level, you will see visitors standing at the stone railing; their small scale compared to Chambord's facade gives you perspective on how impossibly large the chateau is. If that doesn't convince you, you could also consider that it is equipped with 282 fireplaces, 426 rooms and 77 staircases! Now that's a grand Chateau!


VISITING CHATEAU CHAMBORD


HIGHLIGHT

The Largest Chateau in France


HOURS

9am - 6pm from March 28th - October 25th


ADDRESS

CHÂTEAU DE CHAMBORD

41250 CHAMBORD, FRANCE


AVERAGE LENGTH OF VISIT

1 1/2 - 2 1/2 Hours


TOUR TYPES AVAILABLE

Self Visit and Guided Tours Available


ENTRANCE FEES 2021

€14,50 Adult for the Castle and Gardens

PARKING FEES 2021

€4 - €6 depending on the lot

Dark clouds over a white chateau with a river and reeds in the foreground

Ominous Clouds Over Chateau de Chambord

Chateau Chenonceau

Other than the Palace of Versailles, Chenonceau is the most visited chateau in France and the most photographed in the Loire Valley. Its soft white facade gracefully spans the River Cher, and setting eyes upon it when walking the tree-lined avenue to the grounds is awe-inspiring.


Boxwood lined pathway to a white chateau with dark blue clouds

The Welcoming Pathway to Chateau Chenonceau

A chateau with arches than span over the length of a river

Chenonceau's Side Facade Reaching Across the River Cher


This incredible chateau is the work of some truly remarkable women, which explains why the nickname of Chenonceau is Le Chateau des Dames. Construction began in 1515, with much of the original work and design overseen by Katherine Briconnet. Over the years, the chateau has seen additions and alterations by the woman who occupied the residence. Chenonceau became a chateau of great significance during WW1 when it was used as a military hospital and from 1940 to 1942 when it became an escape route for Jews and resistants that were fleeing from German-occupied zones in France.


A tower on the left side of a courtyard and landscaped grounds

Looking Out Over Marques Tower and the Courtyard from the Second Storey Terrace

Leaves on vines with a chateau, stone wall and tower in the background

Views of the Chateau and Marques Tower Through the Courtyard


VISTING CHATEAU CHENONCEAU


HIGHLIGHT

The Castle is Situated Over the River Cher


HOURS

Variations Throughout the Year

Please click here for the current schedule


ADDRESS

Château de Chenonceau

37150 Chenonceau


AVERAGE LENGTH OF VISIT

2 - 2 1/2 Hours


TOUR TYPES

Self Guided


ENTRANCE FEES 2021

€15 with Guide Leaflet - €19 with Audioguide


PARKING FEES 2021

No fees, the lot is 1/4 mile away


A black and white tiled floor with iron chandeliers and potted trees along the perimeter

The Beautiful Ballroom of Chateau Chenonceau

The Kitchen and Dining Area of Chenonceau

Chateau Royal D'Amboise

One can’t help but be enamoured with the setting of Royal D’Amboise. Perched above the River Loire on a high promontory, this elegant chateau overlooks the town's cobblestoned streets and quaint shops below. The initial construction began in the 11th century and today has much of the original retaining walls from that period.


People walking on a path by a river with a chateau perched on the edge of a promontory

The Courtyard and Gardens of Chateau d'Amboise set on the Loire River


VISITING CHATEAU D'AMBOISE


HIGHLIGHT

Leonardo D’Vinci is Buried Here


HOURS

Variations in the Opening Hours

Please click here to see the current schedule


ADDRESS

Montée de l'Emir Abd el Kader,

37400 Amboise, France


AVERAGE LENGTH OF VISIT

2 - 2 1/2 hours


TOUR TYPES

Self Guided


ENTRANCE FEES 2021

€13,30


PARKING

Free parking in Designated Lots in the Area, and

Paid Parking on the Streets in the Historic Centre.


When you enter the grounds, you will notice a chapel, St. Hubert, to the right. This chapel is the resting place of Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo was a welcome guest to D’Amboise by King Francois and would travel back and forth between the Chateau and his own residence, Chateau du Clos Luce. D’Amboise unfortunately also has the distinction of being the chateau that King Charles VIII died at when he hit his head on a lintel within the castle walls.


Chateau d'Amboise on its Promontory Along the Loire River

The Chateau Walls Overlooking the Town's Historic Buildings

The Interior Details and Gardens of Chateau d'Amboise

Chateau du Clos Luce

Chateau du Clos Luce was Leonardo Da Vinci’s final home. He lived in residence from 1516 to May 2nd, 1519, when he died, possibly from a stroke.


At Clos Luce, visitors can tour the home's interior and see Leonardo’s bedroom, study and kitchen. Leonardo’s inventions are on display in the underground rooms showing the sheer genius of a man who was well ahead of his time. When you reach the gardens, you will find life-sized models of his creations, a lovely courtyard with views toward Chateau d'Amboise, and a seating area for a bite to eat.


Chateau du Clos Luce - Leonardo da Vinci's Final Home

Interior Rooms of Chateau du Clos Luce


VISITING CHATEAU DU CLOS LUCE


HIGHLIGHT

Official Residence of Leonardo da Vinci

HOURS

February - June 9am - 7pm

July - August 9am - 8pm

September - October 9am - 7pm


ADDRESS

2 Rue du Clos Lucé,

37400 Amboise, France


AVERAGE LENGTH OF VISIT

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours


TOUR TYPES

Guided Tours in French, and Self Guided by Audio


ENTRANCE FEES 2021

€17,30


PARKING

Paid Parking - The Lot is 300m from the Entrance


The Exterior Gardens and Seating Area of Clos Luce


Hopefully, the information provided here will help plan an exciting trip through the Loire Valley to see some of the most exquisite chateaus anywhere in the world. Whether it’s a day trip from Paris or a full week stay to soak up the region, one thing is for sure, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to any of these remarkable Loire Valley gems!



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