Loire Valley Tours - Castles & Wine

There is nowhere better in France than the Loire Valley to give you a real taste of the sweet way of life. The mildness of its climate, the tasty local cuisine and wine and the hearty welcome of the Touraine people are guaranteed to make this a trip of a lifetime. 

 

5.0
Elle
Laura and Emilie planned such a professional, authentic and fantastic trip that it has become one of my favorite vacations! Excursions, accommodations, and suggested activities …
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4360
Region
in Loire Valley

Be seduced by France Just For You's very special way of discovering the Loire Valley, its must sees and hidden beauties. In this itinerary, you will experience the "sweet life" in Touraine , stopping over in little villages to savor local goat cheese or taste amazing wines. Take the time to relax in rose gardens, or to enjoy the traditional cuisine in many small restaurants frequented by the locals.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Gourmet Food
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3520
Region
in Loire Valley & Bordeaux

Uncover every hideaway and detail of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux UNESCO heritage sites. Taste typical regional fo od at your hosts’ table and stay at Bed & Breakfasts with unique atmospheres .

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3950
Region
in Loire Valley, Bordeaux & Dordogne

Travel through three of the most fascinating regions in France. Let your friendly hosts introduce you to the French "sweet life" in their charming B&Bs.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3680
Region
in Loire Valley, Dordogne & Provence

Let yourself be carried away by three of the most iconic regions of France. From the Vallée de la Loire 's "sweet life" to Dordogne's castles and Provence's colorful landscapes, you'll have a most enjoyable and memorable journey!

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4600
Region
in Loire Valley, Dordogne, Carcassonne & French Riviera

Explore French culture and history in three of its most representative regions: the Loire Valley, Dordogne and the Riviera, with a nice stop in Carcassonne.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Art & Museums
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4860
Region
in Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Dordogne & Provence

France Just For You has organized its own very special Tour de France. No need for a bike but be ready for a great deal of adventure! This itinerary will take you off the beaten path to all the must sees & dos in four of the most enthralling regions of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Gourmet Food
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4450
Region
in Normandy & Loire Valley

Normandy & the Loire Valley are 2 regions of France you should not miss: the climate is mild, the people are very welcoming and history is around every corner.

Wine Tasting
WWI & WWII Battlefields
Countryside
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4680
Region
in Champagne, Burgundy, Loire Valley & Normandy

Exploring by the back roads is the best way to experience France and immerse yourself in the culture. Get a real feel for the authentic France, and enjoy at your own pace.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3680
Region
in Burgundy & Loire Valley

Explore and fully experience two "very French" regions, both famous for their gastronomy, wines, beautiful landscapes and very rich heritage.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3740
Region
in Paris, Normandy & Loire Valley

Get a taste of the real France in very typical regions, famous for their cultural heritage as well as their sweet way of life.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4620
Region
in Normandy, Loire Valley & Paris

Follow the waterways in France from the Norman beaches on the Atlantic coasts to the Loire river, its castles and wonderful gardens . . . ending along the Seine river banks in Paris.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3480
Region
in Loire Valley & Normandy

From the Loire Valley castles , the famous village of Mont Saint Michel surrounded by water, the landings beaches and the Norman countryside . . . to end the trip at Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny : you’ll have to keep your eyes wide open!

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 5480
Region
in Paris, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary gives you the perfect tour of Northern France, including Paris, the Loire Valley castles and gastronomy, and ending in Normandy with the landing sites, the hinterland and beautiful Giverny.

Heritage & History
Gourmet Food
Countryside
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 5720
Region
in Burgundy, Loire Valley, Normandy & Paris

This is the best itinerary to thoroughly discover the Northern part of France: Burgundy vineyards, Loire Valley castles, Normandy WWII history . . . and ending in the most famous and beautiful capital in the world - Paris.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3430
Region
in Paris, Burgundy & Loire Valley

Discover French gastronomy in three regions famous the world over for their food and wines. Burgundy and the Loire Valley are actually arguing about where Coq au Vin was first invented. Burgundy is famous for wine sauce and the Loire Valley for river fish, fruits and goat cheese. And of course Paris is heaven to gourmets! You’ll find the best boulangeries in the world in Paris, and the food markets are amazing.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
1 day
Price
US$ 400
Region
in Loire Valley

How to Get There If you are already in the Loire Valley, we can plan your day from your accommodation. If you are in Paris, you may take a 1 hour high speed train to Tours train station. For this special day, we plan for you to get an overview of the diversity of the Loire Valley.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 5940
Region
in Paris, Loire Valley, Dordogne & Basque Country

From Paris to Toulouse, this trip will allow you to explore these unique regions by the backroads. Take the time to visit some of the hidden castles of the Loire Valley , enjoy duck confit in Dordogne, and discover the typical villages of the Basque Country.

Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7750
Region
in Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Provence & French Riviera

Spend about a month traveling from Paris to Nice on the French Riviera and get a real feel for the authentic France!

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 6980
Region
in Burgundy, Dordogne, Bordeaux, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary is for independent travelers who may already know the southern coast of France and who are looking for discovering the “inside” of the country. Five regions that are totally different from each other, showing you the diversity of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Gourmet Food
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7570
Region
in Provence, Basque Country, Dordogne, Loire Valley & Paris

This itinerary will take you from South to North, following some of the most typical and beautiful scenic roads in France. We recommend flying into Marseille airport.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7120
Region
in Paris, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary will take you to three of the culturally richest regions of France, at a relaxed pace and away from the beaten tracks. We recommend flying into and out of Paris for this itinerary.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3620
Region
in Verdun, Burgundy & Loire Valley

This itinerary gives a nice overview of the center of France: the Verdun WWI battlefields, the wine and heritage of Burgundy, and ending in the Loire Valley with its gardens, castles and sweet life.

Wine Tasting
WWI & WWII Battlefields
Heritage & History
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4720
Region
in Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Burgundy & Champagne

This itinerary is designed for gourmet travelers who aim at discovering and learning more about French wines. Our tours also mix heritage, culture, nice walks, gardens, etc. In this tour, you will stay in wineries, by vineyards & in wine towns. An absolute must for wine lovers !

Wine Tasting
Gourmet Food
Countryside
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 6580
Region
in Alsace, Burgundy, Loire Valley, Normandy & Paris

From East to West, discover the Northern half of France at your own pace. Visit Alsace, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and Normandy, ending your wonderful adventure in Paris.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4980
Region
in Normandy, Brittany & Loire Valley

From the landing sites in Normandy to Mont Saint Michel on to Brittany ending in the Loire Valley, this itinerary will have you discover all the history, traditions and gastronomy of the North-West of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Loire Valley

The Loire Valley Castles Tour

Perhaps one of the most magnificent things you’ll see during your time here are the freestone chateaux strung out along the Loire river. These include the Château de Chambord, the Château d'Amboise, the Château de Chenonceau and Chinon Castle, all showcasing the greatness of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. 

Officially there are about 42 castles, also known as the Chateaux de la Loire. However, if you are ready to venture away from the Loire River, you’ll discover hundreds of architectural gems that have remained unknown to most travelers. This magnificent region will take you back to a more romantic time, characterised by balls, banquets, and power struggles. 

Embark on a Loire Valley castles tour and feel like Kings and Queens walking up and down the spiral staircases and along the tapestry galleries, royal bedrooms, and large courts and gardens.

Many Experiences in the Loire Valley

However, our Loire Valley self-drive tours are not only about castles. There are plenty of other activities here that can make your trip even more special: hot air balloon rides, wine tasting, outdoor activities (such as kayaking or cycling along the Loire River), enjoying the tantalising array of local food and so much more. 

For something a bit more relaxed, visitors are encouraged to go for a wander off the beaten track, following the twists of the Loire River as it winds between breathtaking chateaux, vineyards, beautifully manicured gardens and dense forests...which makes it a very romantic destination in France.

The Loire Valley wine tours are also quite a must try and we will be happy to include one to your road trip to the Loire region if you wish.

The Loire Valley Map

The most interesting part of the Loire region - also known as Castle Country - spreads along the Loire River from Blois (upstream) down to Saumur.

In 2000, the Loire Valley was listed as a UNESCO protected site for its natural beauty from Sully sur Loire to Chalonnes. The area envelops the remarkable cities of Tours, Orléans, Blois, Saumur and Chinon and of course the castles of the Loire Valley such as the Chateau de Chambord, the Chateau de Chenonceau and many more. 

map loire valley

 

  • Northern Loire Valley

The most famous and most visited sites of the Loire Valley are in the North-East part of the region, closer to Paris. Chambord and Chenonceau are in constant battle with each other for the title of ‘the most visited site of the region’ with about 800,000 visitors a year. Due to their popularity, we provide some tips on how to see these gorgeous places whilst avoiding the crowds as much as possible on our Loire Valley tours.

Less famous but still fascinating is Cheverny castle. This chateau inspired Belgian comic book creator Hergé to design Moulinsard castle, which featured in The Adventures of Tin-Tin. It is one of the few places where you can see hunting hounds (still hunting in the Sologne woods) and the castle is sure to blow you away as its interiors are exceptionally well preserved. Chaumont castle has also gained fame for its annual International Garden Festival, which brings together and delights flower lovers from all over the world.

Amboise is one of the easiest base camps from which to explore the Northern Loire Valley on our self guided tours. The city itself is charming and has a beautiful castle, the Clos Lucé – where Leonardo Da Vinci lived in the last years of his life.

It also has some nice restaurants and a vast array shops. Amboise is also the home of the best chocolate and pastry maker in the whole region as well as a relatively unknown cellar where you can choose from a staggering selection of old wines (you might even be able to buy a bottle of Loire Valley wine from the year you were born).

 

  • Southern Loire Valley

For those who would like to venture off the beaten track, allow us to present to you the Southern Loire Valley, passing the city of Tours. Even if the castles might not be as big and impressive as in Northern Loire, this region is sure to delight visitors with its small villages, hillside vineyards and beautiful gardens such as those at the Chateau de Villandry.

History lovers will also be impressed by Loches fortress and Fontevraud Abbey. If you have a penchant for castles, you're in for a treat. Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais, Candé, Montrésor are just a few of the Châteaux of the Loire you will find here. We are more than happy to tailor your castle experience according to the type of architecture and history you like best.

 

Getting to the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is very easy to reach from Paris. From downtown Paris or CDG Airport, the Loire is only around 3 hours by car. With a quick stop somewhere to stretch your legs, it will be an easy journey. The Loire is also only 1hr on the High Speed Train (TGV) from Paris - however it is difficult to get automatic cars in Tours and therefore we usually recommend that our travelers pick up a rental car in Paris. 

For those who want to see several different regions, the Loire Valley is just a 3 and half hour drive from the Normandy Landing Sites and the Bordeaux Vineyards. For those who want to continue their trip by heading to Provence, there are some direct trains from Tours to Avignon in Provence

 

Loire Valley Accommodations : Hotels, B&Bs, Castles

The Loire Valley is a popular region of France and, unless you are just there on a day trip from Paris, you will be able to choose from a selection of fantastic local accommodations. The most famous hotels are located in Blois, Amboise and Tours, right in the middle of the best-known areas.

We have selected accommodations away from the crowds - mostly Bed & Breakfasts and boutique hotels - in the Loire region so our travelers can feel at home. You will have the opportunity to interact with the locals and be perfectly located to explore the region on your Loire Valley driving tour.

For those who dream about staying in a French chateau, we have handpicked a few chateau hotels so your dream can finally become a reality. For one night (or several) you will feel like the Kings and Queens of France!

Castle accommodation in the Loire Valley

 

What to do in the Loire Valley

Now it’s time to talk about the most famous Loire Valley castles. There are certainly some that should take priority on your Loire Valley castles tour. We live in the Loire region and are therefore well positioned to recommend the best castles in the region, both on and off the beaten track. Let us know what interests you and we will design a schedule that matches your wishes for your Loire Valley driving tour. 

Do you like medieval or Renaissance castles? Or are you more interested in religious sites such as chapels, churches, abbeys and cathedrals? Perhaps you would rather spend your time on a visiting wineries, cheese producers and restaurants? We love sharing the best our region has to offer with foreigners so tell us what interests you and let us do the rest.

 

Castles, Castles... but not only Castles...

For history or heritage lovers, the Loire Valley is pretty much Heaven on earth. If you would like to see some of our favorite Loire Valley castles, you check our Loire castles pictures.

However, the Loire Valley has much more to offer than just its castles. We will make sure your daily itineraries are varied and balanced so you won't get overwhelmed with French history.

loire valley castle

Brézé Castle in the Loire Valley

 

  • Gardens in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley hosts some of the most beautiful gardens in France. The French style gardens at the Chateau de Villandry are pristine and a true marvel. But garden lovers can also tour many other sites such as Valmer, Candé or St Cosme and be really surprised by the quality of the gardens. Mixing art and gardening, the International Garden Festival in Chaumont sur Loire is also a great day out. 

Villandry gardens in the loire

Villandry Gardens in the Loire Valley

 

  • Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley

For wine lovers and connoisseurs, a driving tour of the Loire Valley will be an unforgettable experience. Vineyards line the road and stretch out as far as the eye can see. An impressive range of wines can be found in this region, from the red wines of Chinon to the sparkling white wines of Vouvray.

We have selected several wineries to include in our Loire Valley tours where visitors can enjoy wine tours with a qualified English-speaking winemaker or sommelier. White wines from Saumur or Montlouis, rosés from Anjou or red wines from Chinon, Bourgueil or Touraine are all on offer, so sip away until you find the one you like best.

wine tasting loire valley

Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley - ©Stevens Frémont

 

You can enjoy simple wine tastings, or advanced wine and cheese pairings where you may match the local wines with some local delicacies. Most of the tastings take place in the wine cellars where the wines are aged. You will enjoy an authentic ambiance while you sample these regional specialties.

If that’s not enough, you can also go on a private Loire Valley wine tour with a passionate wine guide who will take you to several wineries for a unique wine experience. The program can be tailor-made according to the type of wine you like. Don't worry - we will arrange for a driver to take you back to your B&B. 

If you like wine, we can organize a tour of the wine regions of France

 

  • Loire à Vélo Bike Tour

The Loire Valley is a flat region offering pleasant biking trails along the Loire River and its tributaries. Many of the Loire Valley castles are quite close to each other and easily reachable by bike so this is a great way to get outside and see the best of the region. 

"Loire à Vélo" was recently created to offer trails along the Loire River, designed to allow cyclists an easy passage from Blois to Nantes.

For those who are particularly interested in cycling holidays, we have a great full day biking tour along the Loire River. We provide you with all the information you need to make the most of this beautiful route.

Loire à vélo

Biking along the Loire River - ©David Darrault

 

The Loire Valley Cuisine

The Loire is not just about wine. The Loire River has always been a means of transportation, especially in the past centuries. This has made the Loire cuisine very rich and varied, as it has benefitted from the commerce relations that have always existed in the area.  

You can learn more about the fouées, the rillettes or poires tapées checking the Loire Valley Gastronomy page.  

loire gastronomy

Rillettes de Tours - ©Stevens Frémont

 

FAQ about the Loire Valley

  • How many days do I need in the Loire Valley ?

It really depends on what you wish to do. As a very minimum you need 3 full days (4 nights) to be introduced to the castle's country.

A good average is about 5-7 nights to cover some of the most known places and also hidden gems. 

We can also plan 2 full weeks in the Loire Valley and guarantee that you won't get bored. 

 

  • What is the best time to visit the Loire Valley ?

Our favorite months to go on a road trip to the Loire Valley are May, June, July and September.

 

  • What is the Loire Valley best known for ?

The Loire region is first known for its amazing castles. However, going on a self-drive tour to the Loire region you will figure out that it has a condensed taste of France: gorgeous gardens to stroll, amazing cuisine and delicious wines, lots of restaurants in lovely towns, huge history, many outdoor activities...a lot to keep travelers happy. 

 

Visit other French regions

Brittany

Alsace

North

Lyon

Somme

Champagne

Verdun

Normandy

Provence

Dordogne

Paris

Bordeaux

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Lawrence
Staying in B&B’s is a great way to see the country and meet the people who live there in their normal environment. And, “France Just for You” provides an excellent way to have this experience. Emilie’s knowledge and detailed planning made the trip exciting and enjoyable! We will definitely seek her out for our next trip to France.
Carol
We have just returned from a road trip around France and with Emilie's help, we had one of the best trips we've ever had. We travel extensively and I normally do my own research and bookings because we don't like using formal , organised tours and we were looking for advice on self driving holidays in France. Emilie's attention to detail is …
Bobbi
We like to travel independently and Emilie was fantastic in providing us everything we needed to do so. We had wonderful information to read beforehand and received maps and GPS coordinates to get us where we needed to go.This is a great service to use to set up your hotel and car arrangements along with suggested itineraries that can be modified …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Alan & Lucelle
From South Africa
In Mont Saint Michel at the border between Brittany & Normandy
Georgia & Matt from Australia
Cooking fresh stawberries from Carpentras in Provence
Bruce from Australia
Cooking outdoor in Provence, bon appétit !
Patricia, Brandon, Alyssa & Anika
from Canada
in a cellar in the Loire Valley
Yvette & David
from the US
on the French Riviera, near Nice
Ginger & Tom
from the US
On the Eiffel Tower
Sue & Chris
Romantic night in Montecarlo
Ginger & Tom
from the US
At their B&B in the Loire Valley
Diana & Michael
A glass of wine in the Provence vineyards, what else ?
Maureen & Victor
from the US
Visiting an Abbey in the Loire Valley
Ashish, Kaushiki & Kailash
From the US
In Paris, across the Seine river from the Louvre Museum
Bonnie & her 2 daughters
from Canada
In Ménerbes, Provence