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How to Spend 1 Day in the Loire Valley

How to Spend 1 Day in the Loire Valley

With its picturesque landscapes, fairy-tale castles, and fine wines, the Loire Valley is a popular choice for a day trip from Paris or other French cities. With just one day to explore, there’s no time to spare, so prebook skip-the-line tickets or opt for a tour that takes in all the highlights. Here are your options.

 

Morning: Visit the Loire Castles

The Loire Valley is home to more than 300 châteaus—most of which date back to the French Renaissance era—and they are dotted throughout the forests, river valleys, and vineyards of the region. With limited time, joining a tour is the best way to explore, and if you prebook skip-the-line tickets, it’s possible to visit two or three castles in a day.

 

Start your day with a guided tour of the Château de Chambord, the largest of all the Loire châteaus. The masterpiece of Francois I is set amid 13,500 acres (5,440 hectares) of parklands; it’s a majestic sight and the lavish interiors include a magnificent double-helix staircase, said to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

 

Afternoon: Explore the Vineyards

Another must-see castle is the Château de Chenonceau, and the journey to this castle from Château de Chambord is all part of the experience, as you pass lush vineyards, riverside castles, and fields of sunflowers in summer. Along the way, stop to sample Loire Valley wines at one of the many château wineries around Vouvray, known for its sweet white and sparkling wines.

 

Spend the rest of the afternoon at Chenonceau castle, nicknamed the “Château des Dames” (the Ladies’ Castle) after the many noblewomen who resided there over the centuries, including Diane of Poitiers, Catherine de Medicis, and Catherine Briçonnet. One of the most photographed châteaus of the Loire, it’s a vision of gleaming white stone, fairy-tale turrets, and formal gardens, set right on the banks of the Cher River.

 

Night: A Taste of the Loire

The town of Amboise is one of the most beautiful in the Loire, with its dramatic cliff-top castle and medieval half-timbered buildings. Stroll around the atmospheric Old Town, browse the shops for souvenirs, and head down to the riverside after dark for a stunning view of the illuminated castle.

 

End your day with dinner at one of the many restaurants in town, or for an extra special experience, book a table at one of the Michelin-starred establishments nearby: the 2-star Domaine des Hauts de Loire or 1-star Les Hautes Roches are both excellent choices.

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5 Tours and Activities

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Day Tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Chambord & Caves Ambacia XVth century

Day Tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Chambord & Caves Ambacia XVth century

star-4.5
32
Discover the UNESCO-listed landscapes of the Loire Valley, sample regional wines, and visit two magnificent châteaux on this full-day tour. Traveling in a small group ensures a more personalized experience as you visit Chambord and Chenonceau Castles, sample regional wines and cheeses at a local winery.
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  • 9 hours
From
$207.37
From
$207.37

Day tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Amboise, Da Vinci Clos Lucé & Caves Ambacia

Day tour of Chateaux of Chenonceau, Amboise, Da Vinci Clos Lucé & Caves Ambacia

star-5
12
Combine visits to 2 major Loire Valley chateaux on this small-group excursion from Tours, France. With an intimate group of 8 people or fewer, visit le Clos Lucé, the Amboise Royal Castle, and Chenoceau for wine tastings. Skip-the-line entrance to the wineries is included.
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  • 9 hours
From
$231.07
From
$231.07

Loire Valley Day Tour from Amboise : Villandry, l'Islette & 2 Vouvray Wineries

Loire Valley Day Tour from Amboise : Villandry, l'Islette & 2 Vouvray Wineries

star-5
11
The Loire Valley is one of France’s most stunning regions, but knowing just where to go takes insider’s knowledge. During this enriching guided tour from Amboise, you’ll get exclusive access to the most scenic locations, from a time-warp tour through the Renaissance castle of Villandry to a crash course in wine tasting at a locally-run winery. You’ll also enjoy a glass of wine with a local delicacy at a family-owned chateau.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$195.26
From
$195.26

Loire Valley Day Tour : Chambord, Chenonceau and a Family-Owned Chateau

Loire Valley Day Tour : Chambord, Chenonceau and a Family-Owned Chateau

star-5
34
The UNESCO-listed landscapes of the Loire Valley are home to some of France’s most magnificent chateaux and this full-day tour from Amboise visits three in one day. Marvel at the Renaissance architecture and beautiful gardens of the Château de Chambord; visit the family-owned Chateau de Villesavin for lunch; and end at the fairy-tale Château de Chenonceau.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$158.73
From
$158.73

Loire Valley Day Tour from Tours : Villandry, l'Islette & 2 Vouvray Wineries

Loire Valley Day Tour from Tours : Villandry, l'Islette & 2 Vouvray Wineries

star-5
3
Cover the standout sights of the Loire Valley on this insider’s guided tour, allowing you to tick off the top attractions on a single action-packed ride. Get exclusive access to a family-owned chateau and enjoy a local delicacy, then taste your way around the wine-rich region as you learn to identify vintages like a true connoisseur. You’ll listen to fun-filled anecdotes along the way.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$192.94
From
$192.94