With many beautiful chateaux and vineyards, the Loire Valley is one of France's most popular regions, attracting six million tourists annually. Visitors often combine their tour of the region with a few days in Paris or make their trip part of a larger itinerary.
For example, this 9-day route covers the highlights of Paris and Bordeaux as well as the Loire Valley, and this longer 14-day itinerary takes you to Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel, and Brittany before visiting the Loire's chateaux.
Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
If you're traveling from Paris, you can take a train or drive to the Loire Valley. Renting a car makes it easier to get around to the different chateaux and explore the region on your own, whereas taking a train allows you to avoid Parisian traffic, so both options have definite advantages.
To travel by train, head to Paris Montparnasse station and go to Tours, the biggest city in the Loire Valley. From there you can book a tour or rent a car to visit the rest of the area.
If you're driving, go south on the periphérique—the large boulevard that circles Paris—and drive south until you reach the exit for A6A/E5 toward A10. From there, drive south on the A10, which will take you straight into the Loire Valley.
Learn more about traveling from Paris to the Loire Valley.
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
If you're traveling to the Loire Valley from Brittany—maybe because you decided to follow the 14-day itinerary mentioned above—the easiest option is to drive down (either in a rental car or with a private transfer). If you're driving from Saint-Malo (200 miles/320 km), take the N176 to Rennes and stop there for lunch, before continuing on the A81 highway towards Le Mans. After Le Mans, switch to the A28, and continue until you reach exit 21 towards Tours Centre. The drive takes a little over 3 hours.
Duration: 2 to 3.5 hours
Multiple daily trains make the trip from Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps station in Tours. The trip takes a little under two hours. From Tours, you can book a private tour of the region or rent a car and explore on your own.
If you'd rather drive up from Bordeaux (220 miles/355 km), take the A10 highway north. Get off at exit 21 towards Tours Centre.