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Things to do in Centre-Val de Loire

Our most recommended things to do in Centre-Val de Loire

Chambord: Skip-the-Line Château de Chambord Ticket

1. Chambord: Skip-the-Line Château de Chambord Ticket

Get skip-the-line entry tickets to Château de Chambord in Chambord, one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its distinctive French Renaissance architecture. Explore the large park spread over 5,000 hectares and benefit from access to all temporary exhibitions. Witness the well-known architecture which is imbued with the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci. Check out the 400 rooms, more than 80 staircases, 365 fireplaces, and an exceptional number of towers, high ceilings, pointed domes, and graceful pinnacles. Discover, among other sights, the renowned double-helix staircase: 2 staircases going around on the same side without crossing. To learn more about the castle's history and architecture, watch a 20-minute film (translated into English, Italian, Spanish, and German), or grab the free visitor guide.

From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

2. From Paris: Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of Parisian life and enter into the Garden of France. Stroll the walkways of the French monarchs, hear tales of royal love affairs and kidnappings, and behold the beauty of the Loire Valley's exquisite Chateaux.  The first stop of the day is Château de Chambord; the perfect example of French Renaissance architecture, this remarkable structure was built by King François I between 1519-1547 and is the largest château in the Loire Valley. Who designed this masterpiece is still in dispute, and with contenders including Leonardo da Vinci, its sights are sure not to disappoint. Next up is the charming Château de Chenonceau, a true fairy tale castle set picturesquely on the Cher River, its history and character has been shaped by the women who've inhabited it. The site of the first-ever French fireworks display, Chenonceau is really one to fall in love with. The last stop will be at Château de Cheverny, a 17th-century beauty furnished in great taste and with marvelous gardens. Enjoy free time for lunch (not included) during the day either at Chenonceau or Chambord. You’ll be back in Paris in the evening.

Blois: Chateau de Blois Entry Ticket

3. Blois: Chateau de Blois Entry Ticket

Learn the secrets of the French court by taking a visit to one of the most intriguing emblems of French architecture. A favorite residence of 7 French kings and 10 French queens, the castle occupies a central place in the country's history. Throughout the centuries, dramas, plots, and power games have played out in the Royal Chateau.  With this entry ticket, visit 4 wings, go back in time to 4 different eras, and witness 4 architectural styles.  From the courtyard, a unique and majestic view opens up for you. In turn, your eyes will rest upon the 4 Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical facades. These wings constitute a unique example of French architecture. The Chateau itself is a concentration of French history’s great architectural periods. In 1854, it was classified as a historic monument. Magnificently restored in the 19th century by Felix Duban, the Royal Chateau is beautifully furnished, decorated, and filled with color. From the tiled floors to the wood panels it is a feast for the eyes. Once inside, enter the Blois Fine Arts Museum, classed as a Museum of France. Perouse a wealth of more than 35,000 works with masterpieces by Ingres, Rubens, and Boucher. Take in an incredible view of the Loire river and the beautiful old town. The Royal Chateau offers a wide choice of original and stunning events throughout the year. From major exhibitions and classical fencing displays in summer, evening events lit by electric torches in the winter to behind-the-doors tours and Renaissance balls.  After your visit, take a few steps and see the shops, bars, and restaurants that liven up Blois in summer and winter. Stroll through the streets, alleys, and remarkable gardens.

ZooParc de Beauval: Day Admission Ticket

4. ZooParc de Beauval: Day Admission Ticket

Home to 35,000 animals belonging to 800 different species, ZooParc de Beauval covers an area of around 40 hectares. With your day admission ticket you’ll encounter extraordinary animals, including white tigers, white lions, manatees and okapis. Embark on an unforgettable journey and meet more than 10,000 animals from around the world, living within the ZooParc’s 20 territories! Some of the species living at Beauval are found nowhere else in France, such as the koalas, tree-kangaroos and giant pandas. Stop by the giant pandas in the Chinese Heights to see the twins born in 2021, visit the Equatorial Dome to discover 200 fascinating tropical species and take a break at the Land of Lions to admire the majestic fawns. Marvel at the agile and playful sea lions as they show off their amazing balancing skills in the incredible surroundings of a completely renovated aquatic amphitheater – complete with a sea lion slide and diving platform! At the heart of a new 3-hectare extension is an amphitheater seating 3,000 people. See owls, pelicans, cranes, storks, ibis, parrots and birds of prey take part in an incredible aerial ballet! Enjoy a hippopotamus enclosure, including a beach, river and waterfall and discover the African biotope, an extension to the park that features an aquatic habitat and native African animal and bird species. Be sure to walk through the 44 hectares of the park and take the Beauval Cloud, our cable car that connects the Land of Lions to the Elephant Territory. A great opportunity to see the park from a height of 35 meters.

Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Coach With Wine Tasting

5. Paris: Loire Castles Day Trip by Coach With Wine Tasting

Discover iconic castles on this bus day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley and explore Château de Chambord on a self-guided tour. Have free time in the charming town of Bloise and have the chance to visit Blois Castle on your own. Visit Château de Chenonceau for a self guided tour and wine tasting experience. From Paris, head to Château de Chambord. Disney fans will find this castle’s turrets familiar; it was the inspiration for the castle in "Beauty and the Beast." Though originally conceived as a royal hunting lodge, it was built to a scale that must be seen to be believed. Learn all about the castle’s captivating history from your guide before entering the castle. You can then visit the inside at your own pace on a self-guided visit. Climb a staircase supposedly designed by Da Vinci, enjoy spectacular turret-framed rooftop views, and glimpse wild deer around the grounds. Having worked up an appetite, get back on the bus and continue on to the next stop: the quaint town of Blois. Take some free time to enjoy lunch (at your own expense) in one of the restaurants located around the beautiful and vibrant Square Louis XII. Alternatively, grab a bite and visit the royal Blois Castle on your own, notable for its unique mix of medieval Gothic and neoclassical Renaissance architecture. Last but not least is the elegant Château de Chenonceau. The chapel, bedrooms, and magnificent vaulted kitchens are still furnished and decorated from times gone by, showing off the castle’s many sweeping stone carvings. Don’t miss the impressive main hall, which spans the river Cher, or the gardens cultivated by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici — 2 of the famous owners that earned Chenonceau the nickname "the Ladies’ Château." After a your visit, continue exploring or indulge in a wine tasting in the castle’s vaulted wine cellar. Your tour leader will entertain you between stops with insights and stories about the countryside and the nobility who once reigned over the region. Three uniquely beautiful French castles and a wine tasting, all amid the stunning scenery of the Loire Valley — this memorable day trip from Paris will delight all the senses.

Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

6. Chenonceau Castle Admission ticket

Enjoy access to Chenonceau site and its wonderful gardens. This unusual castle was built on a bridge across the Cher River. To learn more about castle history, audio guides are available in 16 languages. The castle is located near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire department. Chenonceau castle, also known as the Chateau des Dames, is famous for the great heroines who lived there, such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis, and for the beauty of its Renaissance gardens. Chenonceau castle was also used as a military hospital during the First World War. Discover the rich history of this incredible fortress.

From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

7. From Tours & Amboise: Day Trip to Chambord & Chenonceau

Benefit from pick-up by air-conditioned, 8-seater van and head to the picturesque Château de Chenonceau with magnificent Renaissance gardens. Then, go to Amboise for a wine tour with tastings. Visit Les Caves Ambacia for a wine experience and sample some of the wines of the Loire Valley at a tasting with a sommelier. Lunch at leisure in Amboise. Continue to Chambord for a guided tour of the chateau. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 5.30 PM or Amboise at 6:00 PM. Admire the fine details of the largest chateau in the Loire Valley, including a double helix staircase by Da Vinci. Get dropped off in Tours at 6 PM or Amboise at 6:45 PM.

Nantes City Card Pass: 24/48/72 Hours/7 Days Full Access

8. Nantes City Card Pass: 24/48/72 Hours/7 Days Full Access

Nestled neatly on the banks of the Loire River, Nantes is a city with a lot to offer. From a weekend to 7 days, you will have full access to its greatest sites. With the convenient and flexible Nantes Pass, you'll have a chance to experience the best of the city in a fun and easy way. Nantes is a hub for culture and exploration, and with the Nantes Pass, you will have full access to over 40 attractions, museums, monuments, and public transport. Also receive discounts on shopping, entertainment, and leisure. For a taste of what awaits you, perhaps you're interested in seeing the incredible museums. Check out the Galery of the Machines de l'Ile or the Carrousel des Mondes Marins; discover some amazing sculptures based on the imaginary worlds of Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci. Perhaps you'd like to visit the Nantes History Museum in the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany; everything is possible with the Nantes City Pass. If you'd like, you can also enjoy deep discount offers on leisure activities and gift shops around town. You will also have access to guided tours, river cruises, and more. There is so much that awaits you – time will simply fly by! Come and spend some time exploring this beautiful part of the Loire River valley. From the grand castles and chateaux to the splendid food and culture, Nantes can be enjoyed by everyone. Enjoy access to 50 attractions and experiences:Musée d’arts de NantesChâteau des ducs de Bretagne - Musée d’histoire de NantesLe Carrousel des Mondes MarinsLa Galerie des Machines de l’îleJules Verne MuseumMuséum d’Histoire NaturelleMusée-atelier de l’imprimerie de NantesPlanétariumLe ChronographeMusée Naval Maillé BrézéErdre River CruiseLa Toue de Nantes (boat trip and tasting)Bateau Ouch CruiseLoire Cruise: Ile de NantesCruise Estuaire Nantes Saint-Nazaire (From May to October)Tourist Train tourCity Tour BusDétours de Loire bike rentalLa Cantine du VoyagePetits voyages extraordinaires Mini-golfFloating - nautical activities (boat rentals)Ruban vert - nautical activities (March to November)Mauves Balnéaire (May to September)La SablièrePaper mill LiveauChâteau de GoulaineChâteau de La FrémoireMusée du Vignoble NantaisLa Garenne Lemot EstateCafé de la BrancheLittle Atlantique BreweryLa Fraiseraie RestaurantLa Cigale Brasserie La Guinguette Restaurant and BarChâteau de ClissonClisson tourChâteau du CoingSubmarine Espadon and Saint-Nazaire Heritage MuseumStation Nuage / Cloud Station (May to September)Le Caveau du Porte-VueTerre d’EstuaireEscal’ AtlanticEOL Centre éolien Saint-NazaireChâteau de ChâteaubriantLe Voyage à Nantes reception officeAudio-guided routes in Nantes (available in English, French, and Spanish)

From Paris: Small-Group Loire Valley Castles Full-Day Tour

9. From Paris: Small-Group Loire Valley Castles Full-Day Tour

Discover some of the finest castles of the Loire Valley on a guided day trip from Paris. Transfer by air-conditioned minibus to the castles of Chenonceau, Chambord, and Amboise. Walk in the flower gardens of the Château de Chenonceau, and gaze at the delicate arches that cross the Cher River. Learn the extraordinary history of the building, which was run by women for much of its time in existence. Continue to Chambord to investigate the largest castle in the Loire Valley. Marvel at the extravagant architecture and double spiraled staircase of the royal Château de Chambord. See the hundreds of columns and spires that adorn its roof. End the day at the former home of King Francois I, and see the tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci at Amboise village and the Château d’Amboise. Confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it was a favorite royal residence and was extensively rebuilt.

From Amboise: Chambord and Chenonceau Tour with Lunch

10. From Amboise: Chambord and Chenonceau Tour with Lunch

Travel back to the days of the French Renaissance on a full-day tour of the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Enjoy a relaxed lunch in a family-owned, and still occupied, chateau. Meet your guide in Amboise and travel to Chateau de Chenonceau. Stroll through the manicured gardens named after Catherine de Médicis and Diane de Poitiers, the chateau's former residents. Appreciate the refined architecture and feminine influence in each room and see precious antiques and flower arrangements. For lunch, after a short drive, enjoy a meal served at an off-the-beaten-path private castle, hosted by the French Countess who lives there. Taste local food in one of the smallest of all the Loire Valley castles. Then, continue to Chateau de Chambord. Discover a glorious work of art and architecture as your guide selects the most emblematic rooms to visit. Hear memorable anecdotes as they point out hidden details. Get breathtaking views of the castle during a coffee break in Chambord Park before returning to Amboise in the evening.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Centre-Val de Loire

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What people are saying about Centre-Val de Loire

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,917 reviews

A great way to experience the whole France while staying in Paris. Great activity especially for children and teenagers. Our teenage daughters rated it as the best activity we experienced in Paris.

It was a very nice experience, as a professional photographer I like to take time and look around the area, this trip gave us ample time to look around and all was on time. Loved it .

Great day trip! It was indeed a long day (13hrs) but well worth it. The tour guides were very informative and the attractions were worth the visit.

Such an amazing experience. The tour guides were super sweet and knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the châteaus were stunning.

Beautiful castles, definitely worth visiting! We enjoyed the trip