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Châteaux of the Loire Valley

Coordinates: 47°23′56″N 0°42′10″E / 47.39889°N 0.70278°E / 47.39889; 0.70278
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Châteaux of the Loire Valley
LocationFrance (Centre, Pays de la Loire)
BuiltRenaissance period
Architectural style(s)French Renaissance architecture
Part ofThe Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes
Reference no.933
RegionEurope and North America

The châteaux of the Loire Valley (French: châteaux de la Loire) are part of the architectural heritage of the historic towns of Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Montsoreau, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours along the river Loire in France. They illustrate Renaissance ideals of design in France.[1]

The châteaux of the Loire Valley number over three hundred,[2] ranging from practical fortified castles from the 10th century to splendid residences built half a millennium later. When the French kings began constructing their huge châteaux in the Loire Valley, the nobility, drawn to the seat of power, followed suit, attracting the finest architects and landscape designers. The châteaux and their surrounding gardens are cultural monuments which embody the ideals of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Many of the châteaux were built on hilltops, such as the Château d'Amboise, while the only one built in the riverbed is the Château de Montsoreau. Many had exquisite churches on the grounds or within the château.


With the Hundred Years' War concluded, Charles VII, Louis XI, and their successors preferred to spend the bulk of their time in the "garden of France" along the banks of the Loire. In the late 15th century Tours, then Blois, and later Amboise became the preferred locations of the French royal court. Many courtiers bought dilapidated castles built by the medieval Counts of Blois and of Anjou, and they had them reconstructed in the latest Italianate fashion. Leonardo da Vinci and other Italian artists arrived to design and beautify these residences.

In the 16th century, Francis I moved his main residence back to the Louvre, in Paris. With him went the great architects, but the Loire Valley continued to be the place where French royalty preferred to spend their time when not in the capital. Toward the end of the 17th century, Louis XIV made the Île-de-France the permanent locale for great royal residences when he built the Palace of Versailles. Nonetheless, those who gained the king's favour, as well as the wealthy bourgeoisie, continued to renovate existing châteaux or build lavish new ones in the Loire Valley as summer residences.

The French Revolution saw a number of the great châteaux destroyed and many ransacked, their treasures stolen. The overnight impoverishment of many French noble families, usually after one of their members lost his or her head to the guillotine, saw many châteaux demolished. During World War I and World War II, various chateaux were commandeered as military headquarters. Some of these continued to be so used after the end of World War II.

Today, the remaining privately owned châteaux serve as homes and some of them open their doors to tourists, while others operate as hotels or bed-and-breakfasts. Many others have been taken over by local governments, and the grandest, like those at Chambord, are owned and operated by the national government and are major tourist sites, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

List of châteaux of the Loire[edit]

Though there may be no universally accepted definition for the designation, the main criterion is that the château must be situated close to the Loire or one of its tributaries (such as the Maine, Cher, Indre, Creuse or Loir). Châteaux further upstream than Gien are generally not included, with the possible exception of the Bastie d'Urfé for its historical significance.

Royal châteaux[edit]

Château Commune Département Coordinates Historic Events Image
Amboise Amboise Indre-et-Loire 47°24′47″N 0°59′9″E / 47.41306°N 0.98583°E / 47.41306; 0.98583 (Château d'Amboise) Accidental death of Charles VIII (1498)[3]
Amboise conspiracy (1560)

Edict of Amboise with the Calvinists (1563)

Château d'Amboise
Angers Angers Maine-et-Loire 47°28′12″N 0°33′36″W / 47.47000°N 0.56000°W / 47.47000; -0.56000 (Château d'Angers) Location of the Apocalypse Tapestry Château d'Angers, Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, France. La porte des champs côté sud au premier plan, était l'entrée principale de la forteresse à l'origine.
Blois Blois Loir-et-Cher 47°35′8″N 1°19′51″E / 47.58556°N 1.33083°E / 47.58556; 1.33083 (Château de Blois) Assassination of Henry I, Duke of Guise (1588)[3] sans cadre
Chambord Chambord Loir-et-Cher 47°36′58″N 1°31′2″E / 47.61611°N 1.51722°E / 47.61611; 1.51722 (Château de Chambord) Considered the most magnificent Loire château
Treaty of Chambord (1552)[3]
Château de Chambord
Chenonceau Chenonceaux Indre-et-Loire 47°19′31″N 1°4′13″E / 47.32528°N 1.07028°E / 47.32528; 1.07028 (Château de Chenonceau) Owned by Diane de Poitiers (1547–1559)
et Catherine de Médicis (1559–1589)[3]
Château de Chenonceau
Chinon Chinon Indre-et-Loire 47°10′5″N 0°14′10″E / 47.16806°N 0.23611°E / 47.16806; 0.23611 (Château de Chinon) Meeting between Charles VII and Joan of Arc (1429)[3] Château de Chinon, vue de la Vienne
Langeais Langeais Indre-et-Loire 47°19′29″N 0°24′22″E / 47.32472°N 0.40611°E / 47.32472; 0.40611 (Château de Langeais) Marriage of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany (1491) Château de Langeais
Loches Loches Indre-et-Loire 47°7′29″N 0°59′48″E / 47.12472°N 0.99667°E / 47.12472; 0.99667 (Château de Loches) Captured by Richard the Lionheart (1194)[3] Residence of Agnès Sorel (1443–1450) Château de Loches, Loches, FRANCE
Plessis-lez-Tours La Riche Indre-et-Loire 47°22′57″N 0°39′38″E / 47.38250°N 0.66056°E / 47.38250; 0.66056 (Château de Plessis-lèz-Tours) Treaty of Tours (1444)

Death of Louis XI (1483)

Death of Francis of Paola (1507), founder of the Order of Minims

Treaty of Plessis-les-Tours (1580)

Meeting between Henry III and the king of Navarre, future Henry IV, who allied against the Catholic League (1589)

Château de Plessiz-lèz-Tours
Saumur Saumur Maine-et-Loire 47°15′22″N 0°4′21″W / 47.25611°N 0.07250°W / 47.25611; -0.07250 (Château de Saumur) "Château d'amour" of the king René of Anjou (1454–1472)
Place of sanctuary for Protestants (1589)
Château de Saumur
Tours Tours Indre-et-Loire 47°23′49″N 0°41′34″E / 47.39694°N 0.69278°E / 47.39694; 0.69278 (Château de Tours) Marriage of the future Louis XI and Margaret of Scotland (1436)
Imprisonment of Charles, Duke of Guise (1588–1591)
Le château de Tours.

Châteaux of the nobility[edit]

Château Commune Département Coordinates Notes Image
Azay-le-Rideau Azay-le-Rideau Indre-et-Loire 47°15′33″N 0°27′58″E / 47.25917°N 0.46611°E / 47.25917; 0.46611 (Château d'Azay-le-Rideau) Masterpiece of the first French Renaissance[4] Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Indre-et-Loire, France
Armaillé Loches Indre-et-Loire 47°07′47″N 0°00′10″E / 47.12972°N 0.00278°E / 47.12972; 0.00278 (Château d'Armaillé) Loches Château of Count Arthur de Marsay Château d'Armailé from the river frontage, Loches, Tours
Beauregard Cellettes Loir-et-Cher 47°32′13″N 1°23′3″E / 47.53694°N 1.38417°E / 47.53694; 1.38417 (Château de Beauregard) Art gallery Château de Beauregard
Brézé Brézé Maine-et-Loire 47°10′28″N 0°03′27″W / 47.17444°N 0.05750°W / 47.17444; -0.05750 (Château de Brézé) Artifacts of Troglodytes under the château
Deepest moats in France
Château de Brézé
Brissac Brissac Loire Aubance Maine-et-Loire 47°21′11″N 0°26′59″W / 47.35306°N 0.44972°W / 47.35306; -0.44972 (Château de Brissac) Tallest château in France Façade est du château de Brissac-Quincé. Département de Maine-et-Loire, France.
Chanteloup Amboise Indre-et-Loire 47°23′28″N 0°58′13″E / 47.39111°N 0.97028°E / 47.39111; 0.97028 (Pagode de Chanteloup) Property of Duke of Choiseul (1760–1785) Château de Chanteloup
Châteaudun Châteaudun Eure-et-Loir 48°04′15″N 1°19′25″E / 48.07083°N 1.32361°E / 48.07083; 1.32361 (Château de Châteaudun) Property of Jean de Dunois (1439–1468) Château de Châteaudun
Chaumont-sur-Loire Chaumont-sur-Loire Loir-et-Cher 47°28′45″N 1°10′55″E / 47.47917°N 1.18194°E / 47.47917; 1.18194 (Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire) Property of Catherine de' Medici (1550–1559) et Diane de Poitiers (1559–1566) Château de Chaumont sur Loire, FRANCE
Cheverny Cheverny Loir-et-Cher 47°30′1″N 1°27′29″E / 47.50028°N 1.45806°E / 47.50028; 1.45806 (Château de Cheverny) Inspiration for Hergé's Marlinspike Hall Château de Cheverny - Vue Frontale
Clos-Lucé Amboise Indre-et-Loire 47°24′36″N 0°59′31″E / 47.41000°N 0.99194°E / 47.41000; 0.99194 (Clos-Lucé) Home to Leonardo da Vinci (1516–1519)[3] Le Clos Lucé, en Indre-et-Loire, en France
Meillant Meillant Cher 46°46′59″N 2°30′15″E / 46.78306°N 2.50417°E / 46.78306; 2.50417 (Château de Meillant) Contains the famous Tour du Lion Château de Meillant
Montsoreau Montsoreau Maine-et-Loire 47°12′56″N 0°03′44″E / 47.21556°N 0.06222°E / 47.21556; 0.06222 (Château de Montsoreau) Only Château in the Loire Valley constructed in the Loire riverbed
Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art has the world's largest holding of Art & Language works[5]
Château de Montsoreau
Richelieu Richelieu Indre-et-Loire 47°00′26″N 0°19′33″E / 47.00722°N 0.32583°E / 47.00722; 0.32583 (Château de Richelieu) Property of Cardinal Richelieu (1621-1642) Château de Richelieu
Sully-sur-Loire Sully-sur-Loire Loiret 47°46′4″N 2°22′31″E / 47.76778°N 2.37528°E / 47.76778; 2.37528 (Château de Sully-sur-Loire) Property of Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully (1602–1641) Château de Sully-sur-Loire
Ussé Rigny-Ussé Indre-et-Loire 47°14′59″N 0°17′28″E / 47.24972°N 0.29111°E / 47.24972; 0.29111 (Château d'Ussé) Inspiration for Charles Perrault's Sleeping Beauty[4] Château d'Ussé, façade Est
Valençay Valençay Indre 47°9′27″N 1°33′48″E / 47.15750°N 1.56333°E / 47.15750; 1.56333 (Château de Valençay) Property of Talleyrand (1803–1838)[3] Château de Valençay
Villandry Villandry Indre-et-Loire 47°20′26″N 0°30′51″E / 47.34056°N 0.51417°E / 47.34056; 0.51417 (Château de Villandry) Famous for its French formal gardens[3] (Château de Villandry (France) vu des jardins)

Other châteaux[edit]

Château Commune Département Coordinates Image
Argy Argy Indre 46°56′20″N 1°26′08″E / 46.93889°N 1.43556°E / 46.93889; 1.43556 (Château d'Argy) Château d'Argy
Azay-le-Ferron Azay-le-Ferron Indre 46°51′04″N 1°04′12″E / 46.85111°N 1.07000°E / 46.85111; 1.07000 (Château d'Azay-le-Ferron) Château d'Azay-le-Ferron
Baugé Baugé Maine-et-Loire 47°32′29″N 0°06′07″E / 47.54139°N 0.10194°E / 47.54139; 0.10194 (Château de Baugé) Château de Baugé
Beaugency Beaugency Loiret 47°46′45″N 1°37′57″E / 47.77917°N 1.63250°E / 47.77917; 1.63250 (Château de Beaugency) Château de Beaugency
Boisgibault Ardon Loiret 47°47′18″N 1°52′00″E / 47.78833°N 1.86667°E / 47.78833; 1.86667 (Château de Boisgibault) Château de Boisgibault
Boumois Saint-Martin-de-la-Place Maine-et-Loire 47°18′30″N 0°07′48″W / 47.30833°N 0.13000°W / 47.30833; -0.13000 (Château de Boumois)
Briare Briare Loiret 47°38′22″N 2°44′27″E / 47.63944°N 2.74083°E / 47.63944; 2.74083 (Château de Briare) Château de Briare
Candé Monts Indre-et-Loire 47°17′49″N 0°39′56″E / 47.29694°N 0.66556°E / 47.29694; 0.66556 (Château de Candé) Château de Candé
Chamerolles Chilleurs-aux-Bois Loiret 48°03′37″N 2°09′51″E / 48.06028°N 2.16417°E / 48.06028; 2.16417 (Château de Chamerolles)

Château de Chamerolles

Châteauneuf-sur-Loire Châteauneuf-sur-Loire Loiret 47°51′51″N 2°13′00″E / 47.86417°N 2.21667°E / 47.86417; 2.21667 (Château de Châteauneuf-sur-Loire) Château de Châteauneuf-sur-Loire
Chémery Chémery Loir-et-Cher 47°20′43″N 1°28′48″E / 47.34528°N 1.48000°E / 47.34528; 1.48000 (Château de Chémery) Château de Chémery
Chissay Chissay-en-Touraine Loir-et-Cher 47°20′13″N 1°08′11″E / 47.33694°N 1.13639°E / 47.33694; 1.13639 (Château de Chissay) Château de Chissay
Courtalain Courtalain Eure-et-Loir 48°04′49″N 1°08′11″E / 48.08028°N 1.13639°E / 48.08028; 1.13639 (Château de Courtalain) Château de Courtalain
Fougères-sur-Bièvre Fougères-sur-Bièvre Loir-et-Cher 47°26′52″N 1°20′37″E / 47.44778°N 1.34361°E / 47.44778; 1.34361 (Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre) Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre
Gaillard Amboise Indre-et-Loire 47°24′47″N 0°59′09″E / 47.41306°N 0.98583°E / 47.41306; 0.98583 (Château-Gaillard) Château Gaillard
Gien Gien Loiret 47°41′06″N 2°37′54″E / 47.68500°N 2.63167°E / 47.68500; 2.63167 (Château de Gien) Château de Gien
Gizeux Gizeux Indre-et-Loire 47°23′26″N 0°12′22″E / 47.39056°N 0.20611°E / 47.39056; 0.20611 (Château de Gizeux) Château de Gizeux
Gué-Péan Monthou-sur-Cher Loir-et-Cher 47°21′00″N 1°19′07″E / 47.35000°N 1.31861°E / 47.35000; 1.31861 (Château du Gué-Péan) Château du Gué-Péan
La Bourdaisière Montlouis-sur-Loire Indre-et-Loire 47°22′11″N 0°50′19″E / 47.36972°N 0.83861°E / 47.36972; 0.83861 (Château de La Bourdaisière) Château de La Bourdaisière
La Bussière La Bussière Loiret 47°44′50″N 2°44′52″E / 47.74722°N 2.74778°E / 47.74722; 2.74778 (Château de La Bussière) Château de La Bussière
La Farinière Cinq-Mars-la-Pile Indre-et-Loire 47°21′08″N 0°28′29″E / 47.35222°N 0.47472°E / 47.35222; 0.47472 (Château de La Farinière) Château de La Farinière
La Ferté-Saint-Aubin La Ferté-Saint-Aubin Loiret 47°43′35″N 1°56′36″E / 47.72639°N 1.94333°E / 47.72639; 1.94333 (Château de La Ferté-Saint-Aubin) Château de La Ferté-Saint-Aubin
La Possonnière Couture-sur-Loir Loir-et-Cher 47°44′48″N 0°41′32″E / 47.74667°N 0.69222°E / 47.74667; 0.69222 (Château de La Possonnière) Château de La Possonnière
Lavardin Lavardin Loir-et-Cher 47°44′28″N 0°53′01″E / 47.74111°N 0.88361°E / 47.74111; 0.88361 (Château de Lavardin) Château de Lavardin
Le Lude Le Lude Sarthe 47°38′45″N 0°09′14″E / 47.64583°N 0.15389°E / 47.64583; 0.15389 (Château du Lude) Château du Lude
Le Moulin Lassay-sur-Croisne Loir-et-Cher 47°22′09″N 1°36′34″E / 47.36917°N 1.60944°E / 47.36917; 1.60944 (Château du Moulin) Château du Moulin|
Nevers Nevers Nièvre 46°59′18″N 3°09′30″E / 46.98833°N 3.15833°E / 46.98833; 3.15833 (Palais ducal de Nevers) Palais ducal de Nevers
Le Plessis-Bourré Écuillé Maine-et-Loire 47°36′3″N 0°32′40″W / 47.60083°N 0.54444°W / 47.60083; -0.54444 (Château du Plessis-Bourré) Le château du Plessis-Bourré, près du village d'Écuillé, en Maine-et-Loire (France), vu depuis le sud-est.
Le Rivau Lemere Indre-et-Loire 47°06′25″N 0°19′34″E / 47.10694°N 0.32611°E / 47.10694; 0.32611 (Château du Rivau) Château du Rivau
Le Roujoux Fresnes Loir-et-Cher 47°26′01″N 1°24′03″E / 47.43361°N 1.40083°E / 47.43361; 1.40083 (Château du Roujoux)
Les Réaux Chouzé-sur-Loire Indre-et-Loire 47°14′54″N 0°8′52″E / 47.24833°N 0.14778°E / 47.24833; 0.14778 (Château des Réaux) Château des Réaux
Luynes Luynes Indre-et-Loire 47°23′28″N 0°33′19″E / 47.39111°N 0.55528°E / 47.39111; 0.55528 (Château de Luynes) Château de Luynes
Menars Menars Loir-et-Cher 47°38′36″N 1°24′34″E / 47.64333°N 1.40944°E / 47.64333; 1.40944 (Château de Menars) Château de Menars
Meung-sur-Loire Meung-sur-Loire Loiret 47°49′26″N 1°41′41″E / 47.82389°N 1.69472°E / 47.82389; 1.69472 (Château de Meung-sur-Loire) Château de Meung-sur-Loire
Montgeoffroy Mazé Maine-et-Loire 47°28′08″N 0°16′35″W / 47.46889°N 0.27639°W / 47.46889; -0.27639 (Château de Montgeoffroy) Château de Montgeoffroy
Montigny-le-Gannelon Montigny-le-Gannelon Eure-et-Loir 48°00′54″N 1°14′07″E / 48.01500°N 1.23528°E / 48.01500; 1.23528 (Château de Montigny-le-Gannelon) Château de Montigny-le-Gannelon
Montpoupon Céré-la-Ronde Indre-et-Loire 47°15′11″N 1°8′28″E / 47.25306°N 1.14111°E / 47.25306; 1.14111 (Château de Montpoupon) Château de Montpoupon
Montrésor Montrésor Indre-et-Loire 47°9′21″N 1°12′35″E / 47.15583°N 1.20972°E / 47.15583; 1.20972 (Château de Montrésor) Vue d'un château montrant une échauguette à l'angle de deux murs au premier plan.
Montreuil-Bellay Montreuil-Bellay Maine-et-Loire 47°07′58″N 00°09′14″W / 47.13278°N 0.15389°W / 47.13278; -0.15389 (Château de Montreuil-Bellay) Château de Montreuil-Bellay
Montrichard Montrichard Loir-et-Cher 47°20′37″N 1°11′10″E / 47.34361°N 1.18611°E / 47.34361; 1.18611 (Château de Montrichard) Château de Montrichard
Saché Saché Indre-et-Loire 47°14′45″N 0°32′41″E / 47.24583°N 0.54472°E / 47.24583; 0.54472 (Château de Saché) Château de Saché
Saint-Aignan Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher Loir-et-Cher 47°16′10″N 1°22′30″E / 47.26944°N 1.37500°E / 47.26944; 1.37500 (Château de Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher) Château de Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher
Saint-Brisson Saint-Brisson-sur-Loire Loiret 47°39′00″N 2°40′56″E / 47.65000°N 2.68222°E / 47.65000; 2.68222 (Château de Saint-Brisson)
Selles-sur-Cher Selles-sur-Cher Loir-et-Cher 47°16′29″N 1°32′58″E / 47.27472°N 1.54944°E / 47.27472; 1.54944 (Château de Selles-sur-Cher) Château de Selles-sur-Cher
Serrant Saint-Georges-sur-Loire Maine-et-Loire 47°24′54″N 0°44′40″W / 47.41500°N 0.74444°W / 47.41500; -0.74444 (Château de Serrant) Château de Serrant
Talcy Talcy Loir-et-Cher 47°46′11″N 1°26′39″E / 47.76972°N 1.44417°E / 47.76972; 1.44417 (Château de Talcy) Château de Talcy (Loir et Cher)
Troussay Cheverny Loir-et-Cher 47°29′29″N 1°25′29″E / 47.49139°N 1.42472°E / 47.49139; 1.42472 (Château de Troussay) Château de Troussay)
Valmer Chançay Indre-et-Loire 47°27′32″N 0°53′14″E / 47.45889°N 0.88722°E / 47.45889; 0.88722 (Château de Valmer) Château de Valmer)
Vendôme Vendôme Loir-et-Cher 47°47′21″N 1°03′55″E / 47.78917°N 1.06528°E / 47.78917; 1.06528 (Château de Vendôme)
Villesavin Tour-en-Sologne Loir-et-Cher 47°32′48″N 1°30′51″E / 47.54667°N 1.51417°E / 47.54667; 1.51417 (Château de Villesavin) Château de Villesavin, vue d'est


Châteaux of the Loire Valley

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Loire Valley: A Phaidon Cultural Guide. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1986. ISBN 9780135401217.
  2. ^ "Six Enchanting Castles to Visit in the Loire Valley". 18 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Peregrine, Anthony (21 May 2014). "The best chateaux of the Loire Valley, France". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Lounes, Allison (4 December 2012). "Chateaux spectacular: 5 best Loire Valley castles | CNN Travel". CNN. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. ^ Gleadell, Colin (23 June 2015). "Largest Collection of Radical Conceptualists ART & LANGUAGE Finds a Home in French Chateau | artnet news". artnet. Retrieved 24 April 2018.

External links[edit]

47°23′56″N 0°42′10″E / 47.39889°N 0.70278°E / 47.39889; 0.70278