Exploring Fairytale Châteaus of the Loire Valley

Enter the Loire Valley and you’re stepping into the valley of the castles. And what fairytale castles they are! The Châteaus of the Loire Valley all have their own intriguing stories that give them little bit of extra magic. Here are some of the most magical castles in the valley.

Four Châteaus of the Loire Valley

Chambord

Chambord

 

Let’s start with the most exquisite of them all: Chambord. This château boasts an impressive 440 rooms, just in case Francois I was to show up unannounced with a rather large entourage. Legend has it that Francois originally wanted to re-route the Loire itself so that the river would run in front of his castle. Of course, he never got his wish, but that doesn’t take anything away from this stellar piece of architecture. The building bears influence from Leonard da Vinci and was even once home to the Mona Lisa.

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Meung

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The Meung château is a curious little gem among the chateaus of the Loire and the setting of somewhat dramatic events in history. As the 11th century drew to a close, locals in Meung, the town of the same name, rebelled against King Louis the Fat. Defiantly, 60 of them threw themselves off the tower of this privately owned castle rather than surrender to the king. The castle was also freed from the English by Joan of the Arc.

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Chateau d’ Ussé

Chateau d'Usse

This castle boasts the claim to fame that, if legend is to be believed, it inspired Charles Perrault to write ‘Sleeping Beauty’. It’s also such a charmer that the family that owns the castle still occupy it, and why wouldn’t they?

Le Nôtre, who was the main gardener for Louis XIII and the man behind the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, played with symmetry and geometry to create this garden. In doing so, he brought a fresh approach to gardening that challenged the conventions. The fountains and lakes offset the gardens beautifully.

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Clos Lucé

Clos-Lucé

Not only is an endearing château, it was also the home of Leonardo da Vinci in the last few years of his life, moving to the castle in 1516 and living there until he passed away in 1519. The French kings were big fans of Italian Renaissance and liked to incorporate these ideas into French life. Da Vinci would become the premier painter, engineer and architect of the king — not bad work if you can get it! The chateau is just a few meters away Château Amboise.

If you’re looking to see some of France’s beautiful châteaus, companies  run river cruises that run through the region and on other French waterways. It’s a relaxing, engaging way to see France.

Images by OliBacHervéJulien and fourthandfifteen, used under Creative Commons license 

This guide is presented by American Tourister. Our travel philosophy is to pack more fun into every moment and every bag, like our Star Wars, Disney and Marvel luggage collections. Keep up with us by keeping an eye on #PackMoreFun!

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About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day.

“It’s never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams.” -Christa Thompson

2 Comments on this post

  1. It may take until I am fully “retired”, but within the next ten years, I will do France more justice, and that will include time along the Loire.

    righteousbruin9 / Reply
  2. […] Looking for more beautiful Chateaus in France? Check out these Chateaus in the Loire Valley. […]

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