Lorire Vally trip

Memorable 4 Day Trip to the Loire Valley. Our Travel Guide.

Are you tired because of hectic days at work? Do you feel that you genuinely need a break? Well, this means that you need to take days off from work and go for an exciting trip? Now, planning the destination can be a challenge. Well, what I usually do is that I do in-depth research before planning my trip. The reason is that I do not want to end up wasting my money. Last month I took four days off from work and decided to visit the Loire Valley. If you are wondering why I chose this place, then the answer is simple.

The stunning chateaux always excited me, and I had this curiosity to explore these chateaux more. There is no denying the fact that Loire Valley is the jewel of France.

My Memorable 4 Day Trip to the Loire Valley and Your Comprehensive Guide to This Place

Are you tired because of hectic days at work? Do you feel that you genuinely need a break? Well, this means that you need to take days off from work and go for an exciting trip? Now, planning the destination can be a challenge. Well, what I usually do is that I do in-depth research before planning my trip. The reason is that I do not want to end up wasting my money. Last month I took four days off from work and decided to visit the Loire Valley. If you are wondering why I chose this place, then the answer is simple.

The stunning chateaux always excited me, and I had this curiosity to explore these chateaux more. There is no denying the fact that Loire Valley is the jewel of France.

STARTING MY TRIP TO THE LOIRE VALLEY. GO!

I live in Los Angeles, and I made up my mind to take a flight to Paris. It takes about 10 hours, 40 minutes to reach Paris by air. I managed to get an early morning flight. Well, I recommend that you go to bed early if you have to take a flight the next day so that you can save up your energy levels.

The reason is that if you fly by Air France, then they have non-stop flight duration. When I reached the Los Angeles airport, then I was quite excited about my trip. During the flight, I revisited my trip checklist.

The flight landed at the Charles De Gaulle airport.  My wife was along with me, so I decided that I should not compromise on my comfort. I made a booking to Novotel Suites earlier. I chose this hotel because it is close to the airport.

When we reached the hotel, we dozed off right away because of the hectic flight. I am of the opinion that you should never go for exploration on the same day, you land at a destination. The reason is that if you are tired, then you will not enjoy your trip by any means at all.

The Villepinte station is a 7-minute drive away from my hotel. We decided to go by train to the Amboise. It takes about 2 hours, 25 minutes to reach Amboise by train.

Our plan was to spend the first day at Amboise, and we decided to spend the second day in the castles of Loire valley.

 

FIRST DAY: EXPLORING THE WONDERS OF AMBOISE

AmboiseI have always been a fan of Leonardo De Vinci’s work. Well, this is why I decided that on the first day of our trip, we will visit Amboise. Vinci spent the last three years of his life in Amboise. The exciting element about Amboise is that it has a museum also which has models of his designs.

The museum is present in Clos Luce. It is an old chateau and got constructed in the 15th century. Here I will like to reveal an important fact. Most of the artworks that are present in the chateau are copies of Vinci’s work.

We entered the museum through the Renaissance valley. It was a mesmerizing sight because we had a chance to look at the lovely gardens. The architecture of this chateau is also appealing to the eyes. It makes use of white tufa stone and pink bricks.

My attention got drawn towards the gothic elements also. I looked at the statue of Saint Sebastian. Vinci died on May 2nd, 1519. When we entered the first floor of the chateau, we came across Vinci’s bedroom in which he died.

When Vinci died, King Francois was by his side at that time. Another exciting element about this floor is that bedroom of Francois sisters is also on the same floor. Francois and his sisters made it a point to spend their childhood in this chateau.

The ground floor of this chateau is also a must-see place. It has a renaissance era kitchen and halls. What you will love about this place is that it has the period items. I am a lover of art, so I was inclined to have a look at the basement too.

The reason is that the basement showcases Leonardo’s works. It has a wide variety of Vinci’s designs. You will get a chance to see civil engineering equipment and engines of war here. If you want to see small-scale models, then you will need to enter a small exhibition room through Leonardo’s garden.

What you will love about Chateau Clos Luce is that it remains open throughout the year except for January 1st and December 25th. If you visit this chateau between January to November, then it opens at about 9:00 am.

It will cost €42 if a family of four decides to visit this chateau. What you need to keep in mind is that the admission price of this chateau is higher in comparison to the admission price of other chateaus, so you need to carry the cash with you accordingly.

 

REVEALING THE HISTORY OF CASTLES OF LOIRE VALLEY

I had made up my mind that we will explore the chateaus on the second day in the Loire Valley. I strongly believe that you can only enjoy a trip if you have some idea about the places that you plan to visit. I gave a brief history of the Chateaus of Loire Valley to my wife. I will like to share the details with my readers also.

As mentioned earlier, you will not want to miss out on the castles in Loire Valley. Chateau of Chambord is one of the most popular castles in Loire Valley. The Chateau is famous for its detailed décor and grandiosity.

Initially, Francis 1 built this castle in 1519. However, when he died, the castle was half-built during that time. Louis XVI visited the castle in 1639. Well, this is the time when he decided that the castle should get finished.

Another exciting place to visit in the Loire Valley is the Chateau of Villandry.  What is interesting about this Chateau is that it is inhibited since the renaissance. Every owner played his due role in making this Chateau a beautiful place. The owners include Jean Le Breton, ambassador of Louis XV, minister of Francis I, the Marquis de Castellane, Jerome Bonaparte, Joachim Carvallo and Brother of Napoleon.

When I talk about the popular Chateaus in the Loire Valley, then there is yet another name that I cannot miss by any means at all. Yes, I am talking about the Chateau De Bois. The Chateau was at one time occupied by Francis I and Louis XII. Chateau De Bois has historical significance also because this is the place where the assassination of Duc of Guise took place. Initially, this Chateau looked more like a medieval fortress in the 9th century, but now, it looks like a gothic style palace.

READ  An enchanting trip to the Loire Valley and the Chateau De Chambord

Chateau De Amboise is also a well-known chateau. The history of this Chateau dates back to the 11th century. Count of Anjou built the castle on the promontory. Count surveyed the Loire Valley as a defense strategy. The castle got refurnished during the 15th and 16th century under the order of Francois I, Louis XII and Charles VII. There is no denying the fact Francois I and Charles VII put in a lot of effort to add up to the beauty of Chateau De Amboise.

Chateau De Azay-Le-Rideau is one of the first chateaus that got built in the French renaissance style. It also features elements of the Italian renaissance. Way back in 1518, the domain got purchased by King Financier, Mayor of Tours and Gilles Berthelot. They wanted to build the castle on the damp ground of an island in the Indre river for reflecting the wealth and status.

Chinon castle is also a popular castle in the Loire valley. The current state of the castle is the result of several centuries of building. The domain of this castle got occupied since the Bronze age. Chinon castle got built on a rocky island. The Chateau has a strategic location. It controls the passage between northern and southern Europe. The history of this castle got influenced by three major periods. These periods are the savory period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period.

When you want to visit a fairytale Chateau, then you should visit Usse Castle. It stood at the edge of the mysterious forest of Chinon. It all started around 1004 when Viking Gelduin built the wooden fortress by the river Indre. Way back in 1485 Charles VII acquired the estate. He replaced the fortress with a stone castle. Lord Charles Espiny bought the castle in 1521. It was the new owner who built the chapel in the park. During the 17th century, the north wing of the castle got demolished by Marquis de Valentiny so that view could be opened over the river. While I was talking about different chateaus, my wife forced me to give her a brief history of Chateau De Samur.

During the 13th century, Samur became the royal domain of Prince Philip II of France. The interesting thing about this chateau is that it changed hands several times till 1589. The exchange ended once King Henry IV gave the castle to Duplessis Morney.

SECOND DAY: DISCOVERING THE WONDERFUL CHATEAU DE’ AZAY
AND CHATEAU DE VILLANDRY

THE AMAZING CHATEAU D’AZAY-LE-RIDEAU

AZAY LE RIDEAU - Loire, FranceWhen we started our journey on the second day, then I made up my mind to visit Chateau D’Azay-Le-Rideau. The interesting thing about D’ Azay is that it is the most visited Chateau. The wonderful aspect about this Chateau is that the turreted facade reflects in the still water.

When we talked into the chateau, what surprised us was that all the rooms in the chateau look furnished. If you visit other chateaus in the Loire Valley, then you will notice that all the chateaus are not furnished. The furnishing of the rooms reflect different period styles, and this what added up to our pleasure. You can get a wonderful view of the gardens from the chateau. We made it a point to walk around the gardens so that we get a chance to view the beautiful trees in the garden.

When I looked at D’Azay, I realized that architecture and décor is a perfect blend of French tradition. I just felt like looking at the Italian décor also.

Last year I visited this chateau in July, and I also witnessed the sound and the light show. The show starts at 9 pm daily and continues till 12 pm in the night. The good news is that the chateau is open every single day of the week. However, the opening timings differ. If you visit the chateau from October to March, then the opening time is 10:00 am, and the chateau closes at 5:00 pm. If you visit the chateau between April to September, then the opening time of the chateau is 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. If you visit the chateau in July or August, then it remains open till 7:00 pm.

If you want to save some money, then you should visit this chateau on the first Sunday of the month since the visit is free of cost during this time. Do not miss out on this jewel of the renaissance by any means at all. D’ Azay is a fairytale castle, and it is definitely the most romantic place to visit for the newly married couples.

Now, Chateau De Villandry is at a distance of 15 minutes from Chateau D’Azay-Le-Rideau. Well, this is why we did not want to miss out on this chateau also.

MAGNIFICENT CHATEAU DE VILLANDRY

VILLANDRYI was keen to take my wife to Chateau De Villandry because of its ornamental gardens. What makes this place so exciting is that they make use of vegetables for formal displays. These vegetables get planted in the ornamental kitchen garden of the Villandry.

The best part is that the gardens are open for visitors throughout the year. My wife is horticulturist, so she was extremely enthusiastic about visiting these gardens. What I love about Chateau De Villandry is that it has six exceptional gardens, and they are all done up to an exceptional standard.

We strolled through the gardens. We also got a chance to appreciate the stunning view from the upper terrace. When I looked at this chateau, I felt that it belongs to the renaissance. Plus, this chateau has medieval influences also. For example, I got to see turrets, towers, and ornamental machicolations. It will not be wrong to say that the chateau is a harbinger of the French style. The renaissance replaced a 12-century fortress. Only a square of this fortress was kept. There is a special reason behind keeping this square.

The English King Henry II met King Philip II way back in 1189 for admitting his defeat. I was surprised to see the interior of this castle also. It showcases the classical style. However, I recommend that you should focus more on the garden during your visit rather than the Chateau.

The gardens that you get to see today got created between 1908 and 1918. I noticed that there are three different levels in the gardens. The lower level has the kitchen gardens. The ornamental gardens are on the middle level right in front of the chateau. The water gardens are at the top level.

The best part is that when you want to visit this chateau, then you can even book the tickets online. After having a quality time at this chateau, we decided to go back to our hotel.

I am of the opinion that whenever you plan your trip to the Loire valley, then you should visit limited places in one day. Well, there is a reason behind it. If you visit too many places, then you will not be able to have quality time.

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THIRD-DAY: UNCOVERING THE WONDERS OF CHATEAU DE CHINON

EYE-CATCHING CHATEAU DE CHINON

We decided to visit the Chateau De Chinon on the third day. However, both of us were a bit tired because of our hectic trip a day before. We went to this Chateau De Chinon by afternoon.

The Chateau De Chinon is present in the town of Chinon in the Loire Valley. What is appreciable is that the fortress extends over 500 meters, and it overlooks a river. The interesting thing to make a note of is that the chateau has three different fortresses. The two fortresses Chateau De Milieu and Castle of Coudray got restored to some extent. The third fortress is Fort St. George. King Henry II contributed to the earliest construction, and Fort St. George came into existence. However, this fort vanished away, and now all you get to see is a modern visitor center. Initially, Henry created an outer fortification because he wanted to house a garrison for protecting the vulnerable part of this fortress St. George. The fort had a connection with the complex’s central part. The connection got established through a wooden bridge. However, what I saw now was a stone bridge. You might be wondering what the key highlight of this chateau is and my answer is the clock tower in Chateau De Milieu.

The clock tower is about 35 meters high. It is one of the dominant features of this chateau. The Chateau De Milieu has an exciting surprise for you. It has the royal lodgings also. The lodgings got constructed for Dauphin Charles. Initially, this section was in ruins. However, when I saw it in June, I realized that the section got restored. Apparently, it seems that it is one of the most expensive restoration projects in Europe. After visiting the Chateau De Chinon, I believe that Chateau de Milieu is the most interesting aspect of the Chateau De Chinon.

The chateau has the dog tower also. The dog tower was once the home to the pack of hunting dogs. Fort Coudary is also a part of this chateau. The fort Coudary has the tower of Coudary. The Fort Coudary has got about three floors.

Joan of Arc was kept in one of the floors. The Fort Coudary has the Coudary tower, Mill tower, and the Boissy tower. Before going for the trip, I did some research on the Boissy tower. I realized that it got built way back in the 13th century. It has a terrace and a guardroom also. The terrace gives access to the Coudary tower. We made it a point to enter the Boissy tower because we got a chance to view the Loire Valley from this tower. We visited the Mill Tower also. I noticed that it has a destructive structure. King John built this tower in the 12th century. It is called the Mill tower because it has a windmill. We had a good look at the Coudary tower too and were happy to see that three of the levels of this tower are still intact.

The lower level has a tunnel entrance also that provides the hidden escape route.  By the time we finished our trip, it was already evening, so we decided to go back to our hotel after a wonderful trip.

 

 

FOURTH DAY: UNCOVERING THE BEAUTY OF CHATEAU DE USSE

Now, before I reveal the details of my trip, I will like to tell you a very interesting fact. The castle in the fairytale Sleeping Beauty took its inspiration from this castle. It is a beautiful gothic renaissance castle. It has mesmerizing white walls. Le Notre designed the French formal gardens of this chateau. I am an ardent believer of the fact that Chateau De Usse is an enchanting residence.

The chateau experienced major transformation way back in the 17th century. The alterations continued in the 19th century also. The neo-gothic gallery also looks amazing. I will like to mention something important here, and that is Chateau De Usse is still a private residence. It is the home of the Duke of Blacas and his family.

 

 

FIFTH DAY: CHATEAU DE SAMUR AND WINE TOUR

THE PLEASING SIGHT CHATEAU DE SAMUR

CHATEAU DE SAMURI wanted the last day of our trip to be memorable. Well, this is why I decided that we will visit the Chateau De Samur on the last day of our trip. There is no denying the fact that the Chateau is a symbol of the town of Samur.

When we reached the Chateau, we were able to have fine views of the river and the town from the chateau. Well, I will like to reveal an important aspect here. The interiors of this chateau are not extraordinary, but it is still worth the visit. What makes this chateau attractive are the white walls and the slate roofs. The view of the blue river also makes this place exciting. I noticed that the castle has some notable features that you cannot ignore by any means.

When I looked at the staircase, I felt that it resembled a royal staircase. The unique aspect of this staircase is that it has a pyramid design. The archaeologists made some significant revelations about this staircase way back in 2006. They revealed that the staircase leads to an underground room. Plus, the visitors can also reach the upper floor of the chateau using the staircase. The underground room that is present below the courtyard can maintain a constant temperature, and this is why it was used to store provisions. Three wings of the chateau now surround the courtyard.

The main apartments are present on the first floor. The best part about this floor is that it has windows, floors and ornate fireplaces. We wanted to end our trip in a grand way. Well, this is why I made up my mind to show the vineyards to my wife before ending our trip.

 

The Samur vineyards are famous because they produce the best wine in the Loire Valley. We walked through two different vineyards. The two popular vineyards are Anjou Blanc and Anjou Noir.

My wife enjoyed looking at the different grape varieties in these gardens. The varieties included Chenin also that is used to make wine. I am happy to state that our trip was memorable. The trip was not only enjoyable, but it was a learning experience for us. We took a lot of photographs, and they will bring us joy for a long time to come.  A visit to the Loire Valley will give you the much-needed break that you are looking for, so do not be hesitant to plan your trip.

If you feel that you are unable to plan your destination visits, and lack knowledge, then make it a point to hire a guide because he can give you the insight you need. The images of the grand chateaus still linger on in my mind, and remembering all this makes me feel rejuvenated.

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