The Loire Valley

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Loire Valley - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud

    Founded in 1101, the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud (Royal Abbey) had separate churches and living quarters for nuns, monks, lepers, "repentant" female sinners, and the...Read More

  • 2. Château d'Ussé

    The most beautiful castle in France is first glimpsed as you approach the Château d'Ussé, and an astonishing array of blue-slate roofs, dormer windows, delicate...Read More

  • 3. Château de Candé

    When King Edward VIII of England abdicated his throne in 1937 to marry the American divorcée Wallace Simpson, the couple chose to escape the international...Read More

  • 4. Château de Chambord

    As you travel the gigantic, tree-shaded roadways that converge on Chambord, you first spot the château's incredible towers—19th-century novelist Henry James said they were "more...Read More

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  • 5. Château de Chaumont

    Although a favorite of Loire connoisseurs, the 16th-century Château de Chaumont is often overlooked by visitors who are content to ride the conveyor belt of...Read More

  • 6. Château de Chenonceau

    Set in the village of Chenonceaux on the River Cher, this was the fabled retreat for the dames de Chenonceau, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de'...Read More

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  • 7. Château de Saché

    In the center of town, the Château de Saché houses the Musée Balzac. If you've never read any of Balzac's "Comédies Humaine," you might find...Read More

  • 8. Château de Villandry

    Green thumbs get weak in the knees at the mere mention of the Château de Villandry, a grand estate near the Cher River, thanks to...Read More

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  • 9. Cité Royale

    A "Cité Royale," Loche came to be adorned with a bevy of gorgeously picturesque medieval and Renaissance-era structures—none more imposing than its famous Citadelle,...Read More

  • 10. Hôtel Groslot

    Just across the square from the cathedral is the Hôtel Groslot, a Renaissance-era extravaganza bristling with caryatids, strap work, and Flemish columns. Inside are regal...Read More

  • 11. Place Plumereau

    North from the Basilique St-Martin to the river is Le Vieux Tours. This lovely medieval quarter—a warren of quaint streets, wood-beam houses, and grand mansions...Read More

  • 12. Ackerman

    Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent

    For sparkling Saumur wine—including a rare red—try a tour and a tasting at Ackerman....Read More

  • 13. Allée Sainte-Catherine

    After touring the Abbaye Royale, head outside the gates of the complex a block to the north to discover one of the Loire Valley's most...Read More

  • 14. Basilique St-Martin

    Only two sturdy towers—the Tour Charlemagne and the Tour de l'Horloge (Clock Tower)—remain of the great medieval abbey built over the tomb of St-Martin, the...Read More

  • 15. Cadre Noir de Saumur

    This prestigious national equestrian academy trains France’s future riding stars. Unique in Europe, the Cadre Noir de Saumur has 400 horses, extensive stables, five Olympic-size...Read More

  • 16. Carré Cointreau

    To learn about the heartwarming liqueur made in Angers since 1849, head to the Carré Cointreau on the east side of the city. Guided tours...Read More

  • 17. Cathédral St-Gatien

    Built between 1239 and 1484, this noted cathedral, one of the greatest churches of the Loire Valley, reveals a mixture of architectural styles. The richly...Read More

  • 18. Cathédrale St-Maurice

    This 12th- and 13th-century Gothic edifice is noted for its curious Romanesque facade and original stained-glass windows; bring binoculars to appreciate both fully. The medieval...Read More

  • 19. Cathédrale Ste-Croix

    A riot of pinnacles and gargoyles embellished with 18th-century wedding-cake towers, the Cathédrale Ste-Croix is both Gothic and pseudo-Gothic. After most of it was destroyed...Read More

  • 20. Cave Eric Louis

    You can taste a full range of Sancerre’s appellations, including Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, and Menetou-Salon, at this fourth-generation winemaker about three miles from town. A recent...Read More

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