The Most Romantic Castles of the Loire Valley

 

Located around a two-hour-drive south of Paris, the Loire Valley is one of the most idyllic region’s in all of France, made all the more romantic by its hundreds of castles. The grand heyday of Loire castles was during the Renaissance, the 16th and 17th centuries, starting from when King Francis I brought the Renaissance to France up from Italy, applied via the architecture and art of sumptuous chateaux. While there are dozens of fabulous castles in the Loire, there are some which stand out for their romantic attributes. 

My top selection of romantic castles in the Loire is covered in detail in this episode of my podcast Romancing in Paris (which you can find on Paris Underground Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube and other podcast streaming sites). I highly recommend you listen in to it to get the full details on what makes these chateaux so romantic. This post is instead intended to provide some practical details on planning your trip to include these castles into your couples getaway to the Loire Valley. The area’s castles are reachable by car, train or bike, as indicated below. Get a few extra tips in this article I wrote for HiP Paris on a Car-Free Trip to the Loire.

Cité Royale de Loches

Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the Cité Royale de Loches clings to a rocky outcrop overlooking the Indre River valley and was the stage for one of France’s greatest royal love stories, that of Charles VII and Agnès Sorrel. 

Castle website

Can be paired with: Chenonceau (Loches is found to the south and is a charming town as well!)

Accessibility: by car or bike

Chateau de Chenonceau

Nicknamed the lady’s castle, Chenonceau is one of the most renowned of the Loire, thanks to its awe-inspiring design spanning the Cher River and its fascinating history linked to a number of influential women. Queens, mistresses… banishment… and more! 

Castle website

Can be paired with: Loches, also not too far from Azay-le-Rideau, otherwise Amboise or Chaumont (not on this list)

Accessibility: train, car or bike

Chateau de Villandry

The evolution of a medieval fortress, the estate is most famous for its splendid gardens… included a whole section dedicated to love! There are also wooden lanes, romantic nooks… swans! What could be more romantic?

Castle website

Can be paired with: Azay-le-Rideau or Langeais and Ussé (not on this list)

Accessibility: by car or bike

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Jean-Christophe BENOIST / CC

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau

Surrounded by waters and complete with towers and turrets, Azay-le-Rideau is the quintessential fairy tale castle … which didn’t exactly have a fairy tale ending for the couple who founded it!

Castle Website

Can be paired with: Château de l’Islette, Villandry, Chinon (not on the list and a bit further)

Accessible: train, car, bike

Château de L’Islette, Stephane Gourichon / CC

Château de l’Islette

The secret hideaway of Auguste Rodin and his lover, muse and fellow sculptor Camille Claudel. The lovely Renaissance castle is set on the Indre river made for the perfect place for the fervent artistic couple to live out their passion. Lesser visited than some of the others, it’s also a great place for roantic picnics!

Castle Website

Can be paired with: Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry, Chinon (not on the list)

Accessible: train, car, bike

Don’t forget to listen to the podcast episode for full details on these castles! Happy romancing in the Loire!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *