The Loire Valley is famous for being the valley of the thousand châteaux. It is impossible to visit all of them even if you were on a year-long holiday to this spectacular part of France, let alone if you are here on a just short break. That’s why in this article, I will give you the Top 3 châteaux in the Loire Valley you should visit.
3. Château de Chambord
Château de Chambord is described as “a work of genius, radically unique and belonging in its essence to the heritage of mankind”. Bold claims but even they don’t capture the full magnitude of this imposing château.
Why you should visit Château de Chambord?
Chambord is also referred to as “one of the most beautiful works in the world” and “it is to architecture what the Mona Lisa is to painting”! And that’s why, if you had to visit just one of the thousand châteaux in the Loire Valley it has to be Château de Chambord.
My top tip for visiting Château de Chambord
Prepare to be amazed and wowed beyond your imagination. This is going to be the largest property of its kind you are likely to visit. Just to give you an idea, Château de Chambord has 440 rooms and a fireplace for every day of the year.
Most of it is unfurnished, so I suggest you get a Histo Pad to give you an idea of what Château de Chambord looked like during Royal visits.
2. Château de Cheverny
It’s the sort of château you buy when you win the lottery: big enough to impress and convey your newly-acquired status, yet intimate and suitable as one of your permanent residencies.
Why you should visit Château de Cheverny?
I was attracted to the château’s symmetrical architecture and the white stone which was used to build it. Compared to many of the other châteaux in the Loire Valley, Cheverny is noticeably smaller but very distinct in its appearance.
Cheverny is also the model for Château de Moulinsart (Marlinspike Hall) – the fictional château, featured in The Adventures of Tintin.
My top tip for visiting Château de Cheverny
Make sure you reward your visit with a bite to eat at The Orangerie. If you decide to have a cheesecake, be careful how you eat it because its base is rock solid.
1. Château de Chenonceau
If you find yourself in the Loire Valley and you have a day to dedicate to just one of its thousand châteaux, then I strongly suggest a visit to Château de Chenonceau. It is full of history, drama and architectural aesthetics.
Why you should visit Château de Chenonceau?
The château was built on the foundations of an old mill in the early 1500s. The bridge over the river was added in the 1550s and the gallery over the bridge – in the 1570s. It is the bridge and the gallery that set Château de Chenonceau apart from any other château in the Loire Valley and that’s the reason you should visit it.
My top tip for visiting Château de Chenonceau
Pay attention to the flower arrangements too. They are works of art and they smell as good as they look. All flowers are grown in the flower garden of the château which I encourage you to visit on your way back to your car.
If you like to avoid the crowds, then I suggest you visit Chenonceau late in the afternoon when most of the other visitors are leaving.