Route by car through the Loire Castles (with map)


This is the beginning of one of those stories that we like to keep in the blog as an ever present memories album. The one that starts with "something more weight" coming from the 24 weeks that a new traveler had incorporated into our plans, little Olivia. And that better destination than a car route through the Loire Castles? Even beyond those Renaissance fortresses on both sides of the river, it is a journey through dozens of charming villages, multiple wineries, vineyard landscapes or cities such as Saumur, Amboise, Tours, Blois or Orleans, full of life. And, going further, why not sleep in own castles of the time, troglodyte caves embedded in the mountains or country houses and mansions that once served the old bourgeoisie? You already know that we like to go a little further with travel. UPDATED 2019

All trip starts on day 1, the one on the flights and the one that takes you to the beginning of an adventure in which the routes you have already decided in advance but we will tell you while we fly to Nantes

Route by car through the Loire Castles: map and previous decisions

Surely as you read these lines you have as many doubts as we do at the beginning. Where to start Which cities to use as a base? What to visit and what to put aside? As we each carry a traveler inside, in everything This newspaper we are going to tell you every day, in the introductory part of each story, the route with everything you can see in it and the decisions of what we visit for you to make your own itinerary. In addition there was a determination to take prior to all this and is to raise how we would do the route through the Loire Castles whose guidance map It could be the following:

The Loire Valley runs through the regions of Pays de la Loire and Center-Loire Valley from the French department of Loire-Atlantique where Nantes is located (and bathes Atlantic waters) to the South of Orléans. And what is the best way to plan it? Basically we consider that there are 3 consistent ways of doing it:

- In form of route by car (bicycle, motorhome,…) proper from Nantes to Orleans or vice versa
- Doing one or a couple of bases and from there travel the main emblematic points, for example using Tours, Amboise or Blois
- Make a route through the Loire Castles not as a trip itself, but as a 1 or several day tour from Paris


If you do not want to rent a car, for whatever reason, you have the option of book a guided tour that will allow you to enjoy this trip No need to drive.

1-day Loire Castles tour from Paris, which includes the castles of Chenonceau, Cheverny (or Amboise according to season) and Chambord.
2-day Loire Castles tour from Paris, which includes the same as the 1-day excursion and, in addition, the castles of Amboise and Villandry as well as night in the beautiful city of Tours.
2-3 day excursion to the Loire Castles and Mont Sant Michel from Paris, an experience that mixes the visit to the previous named castles and Mont Sant Michel.
3-4 day excursion to the Loire and Normandy castles from Paris, combining the castles of the second day and a visit to the Normandy region.

A different excursion that we would love to have done but we didn't know her (UPDATED 2019):

Helicopter ride through the Loire Castles, an excursion totally different from the previous ones but that can be an incredible way to see some of the "bird's eye" castles. We We already include a helicopter experience on some of our trips like in Tokyo and recently in New York. Both Paula and I, Isaac, found the sensation of a helicopter ride through New York incredible. If we could repeat the experience flying over the castles. The walk is 25 minutes (our tour in New York was shorter and we knew a little), perfect duration to enjoy it to the fullest. If you finally opt for any of these options you can write us in the comments what do you think and how was your experience.

And now ... do we start the adventure? Come on!

Our decision was to enter through Nantes (since it is the airport with the best links and allows you to continue from trip to Paris thus extending the route -which could well go to Normandy-) and make the whole journey in a quiet way to Orleans and even book a day to influence the South of it. However, the largest congregation of iconic monuments are found from Angers although choosing which Castles of the Loire to visit requires a separate chapter that you already have available at.


DAY 1 | A Coruña - Madrid - Nantes (this one we are writing). Night inHôtel Nantes Aéroport (a curious Bed & Breaksfast)
DAY 2 | Nantes - Saumur (stops at Angers, Brissac and Montreuil-Bellay). Night in Château De Verrières Hotel and Spa (a renovated castle)

DAY 3 | Saumur - Huismes (stops at Turquant, Montsoreau, Candes-Saint-Martin, Fontevrault, Chinon and Castle of Ussé). Night in The Chancellerie (a country house of the time)

DAY 4 | Huismes - Tours (stops at Azay ‐ le ‐ Rideau, Langeais and Villandry). Night in Les Hautes Roches (an excavated troglodyte cave)

DAY 5 | Tours - Amboise (stops at Chenonceau, Loches, Montrésor and Valençay). Night inLe Clos d'Amboise (a 16th century mansion)

DAY 6 | Amboise - Orleans (stops atClos ‐ Lucé, Chaumont ‐ sur ‐ Loire, Cheverny, Chambord and Blois). Night inEmpreinte Hotel and Spa (modern accommodation with SPA)

DAY 7 | Orleans and South through the Loire Valley (stops at Germigny ‐ des ‐ Prés, Sully ‐ sur ‐ Loire, Gien and Briare). Night inEmpreinte Hotel and Spa (modern accommodation with SPA)

From there you can return the car at the airport of Charles de Gaulle without entering the city or, do as we do, return it in the center of Paris (where there are comfortable options to do so) and stay a few days in the capital (you can read our travel diary to Paris)

Although it seems a lot of accumulation of places think that everything is very close, full of enabled parking (except for rare exceptions) and Paula did it with Olivia 24 weeks (come on, it is not done to go running). In addition, not all were intense visits (for example, the day we visited Chaumont we decided to see the gardens and go through Cheverny without visiting it in depth -you will see it in the stories-)

Flight to Nantes, our gateway to the Loire

Those who have visited count Nantes that it is a city that is worth it, maybe very different from what you expect, strange at times, but that mix a modern atmosphere with the halo of important artists. We, however, decided to arrive late from A Coruña, and not include it in the trip although you have a very good article from our friend Claudia. If you want to add it, take a flight tomorrow.

And here we are, one more trip, a new adventure, in our usual corner of the renovated Alvedro airport in A Coruña around 17:30 before leaving via Madrid (and this time without delays) to reach the airport of Nantes at around 22'00 at night on two flights of 50 min and 1h 15min respectively, with just a few coffees (3.45 EUR) and buns (6.30 EUR) on the body and two sandwiches brought from home for dinner already rendered in bed

Despite the short travel day, the anecdote of the day it has been contributed byHôtel Nantes Aéroport, a curious Bed & Breakfast where automation has reached a futuristic extreme. It is barely 5 minutes walking along the terminal so the choice could not be better: fly, collect luggage ... sleep!

And why do we say that? Because there IS NOBODY (but nobody) to attend you and you don't even have the doors, of what looks like a reception, open. Upon arrival you find a machine outside where you put the number of your reservation (Booking in our case) and gives you a key and assigns a room. That key also allows you to access the main room where there are several vending to buy food or, in our case, a couple of waters (5 EUR). The room is more than correct, the closest thing to an usual Ibis on our first / last day of travel near airports

morning We will return to the Terminal to pick up the rental car that we have booked with Rentalcars (as usual, you know that we never put anything that we don't use ourselves) and so Start our route by car through the Loire Castles, the one that we already have defined but now it's time to enjoy, starting with Angers and Saumur ... and maybe occasional surprise along the way, right?

Isaac and Paula (and Oli), from Nantes (France)