Paris is an absolutely beautiful and magical city. It’s my favorite city in the world (thus why my husband proposed there). I imagine you could spend years in Paris and still find new places and historic sites. However, every now and then you may want to take a day trip from Paris, especially if you have a long travel bucket list. Well, Loire Valley should be on your list! Today we will discuss some of my favorites from a day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley to discover the many charming and elaborate château’s.
A Day Trip to Loire Valley from Paris
Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau is about a 2.5hr drive from Paris. I was initially bummed to see how foggy it was as we were approaching the castle, but it ended up being one of my favorite pictures and memories. The moment the fog started to lift as we walked closer to the castle was like a beautiful unveiling of this majestic and feminine castle. Sometimes weather doesn’t always work in our favor, but go with the flow and you might just capture something beautiful. You could stare at the outside of this castle all day, but make sure to spend some time strolling the gardens outside and museum inside. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a souvenir. Overall, I must say this château ended up being my favorite of the trip.
Château Royal d’Amboise
Amboise was about 20 minutes away from Château de Chenonceau. We were unable to go inside this château and it wasn’t nearly as fancy or elaborate as the other ones on the trip, however the town of Amboise was adorable. We grabbed lunch and strolled along the quaint European streets and found that our next château was just around the corner (apparently connected through an underground passageway).
Château du Clos Lucé
This stop was better than I thought it would be. It was the home of Leonardo da Vinci and was filled with all his inventions. I learned a ton of interesting history during this one and you will feel like you are truly taking a step back in time. Make sure to give yourself time to explore the whole outdoor grounds, it is basically a massive playground of history. Also, the gift shop has some cool stuff, so check it out and pick out something special to remember it all by.
Château de Chambord
The final stop was about a 1 hour drive from Amboise to see the the infamous Château de Chambord. This is the largest and most elaborate one we saw, definitely a show stopper. We ran to the top of the spiral staircase to get a view from the top and even had a wine tasting. If you want to see a quintessential elegant and elaborate castle, then Chambord must be on your list. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore and learn. It will be about a two hour drive back to Paris.
What I would do different
We went through a company to do the tour, which ended up being a fairly rushed experience. If you can find a way to do it without a tour company then do it! Therefore, if you like one château more than the other you can linger longer or less as needed. If you go with a tour, just be prepared to move at a faster pace and enjoy it nonetheless.
If I had to cut a château, it would be Château of Amboise, but if you plan to check out where Leonardo da Vinci lived, then you might as well keep it on your list.
I would also have made this a two day trip and added a few more château’s to the list. The whole region is absolutely beautiful. I would love to see Château de Cheverny, Château de Villandry, Château d’Ussé, Château de Chaumont, and Château de Blois. You get the point, there’s nothing like Loire Valley and all the unforgettable castles and architecture. So if you have the time for two days, then do it!
Have you been to Loire Valley? Comment your favorite Château’s below.
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