This relaxing 5-day jaunt focuses on the Loire Valley, a fertile region south of Paris dotted with hundreds of opulent châteaux (many that are UNESCO-listed) that once belonged to kings, queens, dukes, and influential artists. Enjoy a series of full-day private tours where you'll explore the area's best estates, gardens, game reserves, vineyards, and charming towns, especially Amboise—your home base for the trip.
Take the grand double spiral staircase to the second floor to see the royal apartments of François I and Louis XIV. During its heyday, residents used the chateau and nearby forests for royal hunts and other pleasure activities. Continue up to the terraces, where views of the surrounding landscape offer a glimpse into the charmed lives of the castle's royals. From here, you can also get a good look at the roofing and chimneys of the chateau, rising above the wide moat.
Thomas Bohier and his wife Catherine Briçonnet, who oversaw and directed most of the construction, built the chateau in its current form between 1513 and 1517. Since then, a long and dramatic line of women has owned, loved, repaired, expanded, and restored the chateau. It's so well-loved that it's the second-most visited chateau in France, after Versaille.
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Itineraries with Loire Valley: Châteaus de Chambord & Chenonceau
If you've got six days and want to explore Paris and the Loire Valley, consider this short road trip. Start in the capital city where you'll eat your fill of pastries, visit the Louvre, and learn about the city's history. Spend the second half of the trip in the Loire Valley, where magnificent castles dot the countryside and the stories flow like French wine.
Dive into French culture and settle into a quieter pace of life on this 10-day luxury trip to Western France. Start in Paris, where you'll learn history in the l’Ile de la Cité and take a day trip to the gilded halls of Versailles. Head west to tour D-Day sites in Normandy and explore Mont-Saint-Michel: the abbey on an island. Round out the trip with two days in the Loire Valley, famous for castles and wine alike.