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Sarah from Florida

Amboise is a great place to stay for a few days while you visit the chateau and the da vinci home. Make sure you read a bit of the history so you understand. In the summer there are sound and light shows at night with wonderful pagentry and music after dark in the courtyard of the castle. Use Amboise as a base and visit Chenonceaux and Chambord. Blois is a great one to see with a nice town. Try to fit in Langeais--it has a great mock-up of a historical event and is one of our friend's favorites. Then spend a few days in Angers and see the chateau and the tapestry museum and try to be there on a Saturday morning for the amazing market. From Angers go to Saumur and drive along the corniche angevine and stop at a few vintners...

Bill in St. Paul

Years ago when we "did" the Loire Valley we stayed in the Hotel Anne de Bretagne in Blois ( We were there off-season but the hotel was very nice and very convenient to the chateaux. There is a chateau in Blois within easy walking of the hotel where (back then) they did a nighttime show within the courtyard of the chateau.

The obvious thing to do in the Loire Valley is to visit the chateaux. We visited Chenonceau, Amboise, Blois, Chambord, and Cheverny (maybe one more that I can't remember). This web site has a good description of each of the chateaux (

Cheverny also has 60-70 hunting dogs that look like Beagles with long legs. We were there for the noontime feeding: the dogs all line up opposite the feeding trough which is filled with their food, the "dogmaster" yells "Mangez!" and they all make a mad leap to the trough where one or two dogs are aced out and keep trying to get into feed - an amazing sight.

A car is a necessity for getting around easily. We did two chateaux a day and the size, expense (to build), architecture, and grounds of the chateaux can become overwhelming. August could be hot and crowded, late September was empty and cool.

Stephanie Lamb

For lots of details of where to go and what to do in the Loire Valley you might like to visit our website, I know this sounds a bit like advertising but I think you would find it helpful!

Bill in St. Paul

If you want to see the dogs at the Chateau Cheverny eating, here's a video:

It's a bit more chaotic than what we saw and the dogs were eating a porridge out of a trough, not meat. The dogs are amazingly well behaved while "sharing" their meal.


We lived just outside of Orléans on sabbatical one year, so we had the luxury of doing things a bit at a time instead of all at once. I second Amboise as one of my favorite chateau towns, partly because the chateau is in the town, and the history of the chateau is interesting.

If your brother is active, he should check out a bike tour. There is a designated bike route (sometimes paths, sometimes smaller roads, occasionally a moderately-trafficked bridge) nearly the whole way along the Loire. My then 9-yr-old and I took our bikes on the train (free!) from Orléans to Tours, changed to a local train to take us to Port Boulet (NOTHING there but a trains station), and biked to Candes-Saint-Martin and Montsoreau, They are twin towns that have been designated among the “most beautiful villages in France,” an official designation that comes with bragging rights and a street sign. Montsoreau is hilly, but if you can get up that one big hill, Fontevraud-l’Abbeye, a former abbey, now public building with a truly fascinating history. This was an occasionally hot trip July 13-16, but OK.

We also highly recommend Nantes, which has downloadable ipod walking tours in English, and a very interesting history. Check out Lonely Planet for more on that, and DON'T MISS the Isle de Nantes with the Jules-Verne-inspired workshop. Very super cool, and totally worth the extra bit of transport, time, and ticket. The museum is very well done in several languages, and offers good meals in the courtyard even at strange tourist-eating hours. We stayed at Hotel St. Daniel, which is shabby, but friendly and clean, and with a remarkable amount of space in some of the rooms. Nantes was one of the few places we went back to, having initially gone really just to be able to drive to show our older daughter to the mouth of the Loire, since we were living on it (and the Loiret) and she was studying it in school. The second time we left the car and used public transportation exclusively (since we did not need to see the mouth again :)

No matter what he decides, have him go to the tourist office when he gets into town anywhere he goes. They will share good deals with you and great tips. Also, warn him that Sunday afternoons any town and some small cities basically shut down. Many towns are also closed on Monday. This does not mean the same thing as it would in the US. It does not mean "closed except the 7-11 and the WalMart" It means CLOSED, nothing to eat, no one to ask.... Carry some dried fruit and nuts and, of course some chocolate (obviously you have to buy those once you get there due to customs) just in case you need to eat when there is no eating available.


Thank you mille fois to everyone for their welcome comments and of course, to you chere Kristin, for posting!
Wisconsin where the snow if falling beautifully right now. :-)


where the snow IS falling (not if falling). Sorry.


I agree - see the Chenonceau Chateau and the Chambord Chateau:

Also, visit the winery of Vouvray. I loved their cave-like storage for the barrels.

When I stayed in the Loire, I stayed at a riverfront inn in Amboise, just below the fortress/castle. I wish I had more details, but I only have this link to a photo:

You will LOVE it.

Katherine Blauer

We stayed at "L'Hotel Manoir Les Minimes" just a few months ago - it sits on the Loire right below le chateau d'Amboise- it is superb! Highly recommend it- we will be returning this year. Here is the link - I am sure it is the hotel that AW refers to.

Anne Marie McCluskey

Spend a week or more in Coeur De France in Sancerre, learn some French, stay in the apartments in the old converted bank, taste some wine,eat like a king and enjoy the rural life!

Paul Hekman

A great way to spend some time in France, is in a Chambres d'hôtes, basically a Bed & Breakfast, where you stay with the local people (provided they speak English of course). There is a great one near Chinon. Chinon, by the way, has this great castle where Joan of Arc accosted the French dauphin for not kicking out the English. History is all around you and the castle is newly renovated. You may want to check out this chambres d'hôtes (but there are lots in the region, really):
Enjoy your stay


My mother-in-law did the Coeur de France course in Sancerre (mentioned above by Anne Marie) the year we lived near Orleans, and truly loved it. I had the pleasure of eating lunch with her instructor when I drove out to pick her up. On the way back to the heavily-chateau-ed part of the Loire, we stopped in Gien, where one can go to the factory store (usine = factory)....

Diane W. Young

Everything in the Loire Valley was interesting, tasty, beautiful. Best time to go is early fall. We went twice and the spring trip was tres froid.
also more in bloom in early fall. We saw at least a dozen chateaux and enjoyed all of them. The Saumur Blanc wine was outstanding. Stayed in Amboise the second trip and definitely vote it best location. Pretty centrally located. Covered area from Angers, Saumur, Blois, Amboise, Chambord, Chinon, Fontevraud, Langeais, Loche (awesome dungeon), Uzze (Sleeping Beauty Castle) and lots of other sights. Most beautifuL: Chenonceau and Villandry (garden to die for). Highlight of all French trips for us.

Calum Kirkwood

I did a French exchange in the Loire valley for a month. There is no other castle in in Loire valley more impressive that the Castle in Saumur.It dominates the town, looking over it. You can see the whole town from it. Go across the river to the north side and take a photo of the town!

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Adding two new options for the Loire activities. When there last summer I found a wealth of troglodyte dwellings (cave homes). Most of them you can only see from the road because the inhabitants want to keep curiosity seekers off of their porches, but some are open for tours. Google "troglodyte Loire" to learn more about them.

The second thing is definitely off the beaten path. Every summer at the end of July there is a country music festival at Craponne-sur-Arzon in Haute-Loire. Yes, country music has a big fan base in France. The music is predominantly Texas sound rather than Nashville sound, but a lot of famous names have come through on their way up the ladder.


Bien sur, all the big chateaux are on every tourist's list, but try to get off the beaten track and visit MONTOIRE-SUR-LE-LOIR, TROO, LAVARDIN, VENDOME, CHATEAU VALMER (gardens),CHATEAU MONTREUIL-BELLAY, CHATEAU DE BREZE - you are in for a real treat !


We stayed in Amboise for three days and made that our base....visiting all the chateaux. We were lucky to find the Manior du Parc in Amboise, with several rooms in the annex with small kitchenettes. We ate large lunches out during the day then "cooked-picniced" in our room! Was wonderful and the hotel was great. Has a pool for summer months.


We stayed in Yzeures-sur-Creuse while attending 'Le Petit Conservatoire de la Cuisine' - Le Calabash. Run by Chefs Sidney and Alison Bond, we had a wonderful time as well as learning valuable cooking skills. Even though we stayed in the late fall, the countryside was beautiful; we were able to go to an outdoor farmer's market, tour Loches as well as tour a beautiful Chateau and visit a truffle farm. The best part was getting to know Alison and Sidney, who are the most wonderful people. If cuisine is your passion, try them!


I am learning French and have discovered your site. I have to find ways to penetrate my grey matter....yes I have grey hair!
I have an apartment in the Loire Valley region in the stunning historical village of Richelieu 60km south of Tours. It is a one bedroom apartment overlooking the square. Outside the big oak doors we have the chateau grounds to walk, ride or just enjoy the ambiance. For those of you who are wanting a quintessentially French experience you can rent my apartment.
Have a look on


Night Time in France
Tune to thank of all you again
I had a great day !


For those who want to visit the Loire valley
I recommend our guest house which is located in the middle of the Loire Valley between Tours and Amboise, an ideal  base for touring and visiting the major castles of the Renaissance: Chenonceaux, Villandry, Amboise, Azay le Rideau etc ...

Vivian Langley

We drove from Paris to Tours and began our daily tour of the Chateaux; we saw all of them and so much else that I can't remember without going back to notes and pictures. A super time.


Reading these posts has made me re-realize how much I LOVE France! Gosh, I really need to get back there again. The Loire is my ultimate favorite. May consider moving one day ...

La Coyere Gites

So many things to do in this region? First it's a large region to cover. One usually has to decide if they want to be base in the west or the east, or better still, travel the length of the Loire :)
From her vineyards to Chateaus to the beautiful villages and towns that dotes along the loire, one will be spoilt for choice on what to do!!!

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