Châteaux of the Loire Valley

Châteaux of the Loire Valley

Location France (Centre, Pays de la Loire)
Built Renaissance
Architectural style(s) French Renaissance architecture
Type Cultural
Designated 2000
Part of The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes
Reference no. 933
Country France
Region Europe and North America

The Châteaux of the Loire Valley are part of the architectural heritage of the historic towns of Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours along the Loire River in France. They illustrate Renaissance ideals of design in France.[1]


By the middle of the 16th century, King François I had shifted the center of power in France from the Loire back to the ancient capital of Paris. With him went the great architects, but the Loire Valley continued to be the place where most of the French royalty preferred to spend the bulk of their time. The ascension to the throne of King Louis XIV in the middle of the 17th century made Paris the permanent site for great royal châteaux when he built the Palace of Versailles. Nonetheless, those who gained the king's favour and the wealthy bourgeoisie continued to renovate existing châteaux or build lavish new ones as their summer residence in the Loire.

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

Today, these privately owned châteaux serve as homes, a few open their doors to tourist visits, while others are operated as hotels or bed and breakfasts. Many have been taken over by a local government authority, or the giant structures 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

There is no universally accepted definition for inclusion as a "Château of the Loire". 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

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)[2]
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)[2]
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)[2]
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)[2]
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)[2] 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 de 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 Lionhearted (1194)[2] 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 ally against 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

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[3] Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Indre-et-Loire, France
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-Quincé 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)[2] Le Clos Lucé, en Indre-et-Loire, en France
Ducs de Bretagne Nantes Loire-Atlantique 47°12′56″N 1°32′59″W / 47.21556°N 1.54972°W / 47.21556; -1.54972 (Château des ducs de Bretagne) Located near the River mouth of the Loire
Residence of the Dukes of Brittany
Château des ducs de Bretagne
Gien Gien Loire 47°41′06″N 2°37′54″E / 47.68500°N 2.63167°E / 47.68500; 2.63167 (Château de Gien) Site of International Hunting Museum Château de Gien
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) Property of Jean Daillon (1457–1481) Château du Lude
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′46″N 0°03′26″E / 47.21278°N 0.05722°E / 47.21278; 0.05722 (Château de Montsoreau) Only cChâteau in the Loire Valley constructed in the riverbed Château de Montsoreau
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) One of the premier châteaux of the Loire Palais ducal de Nevers
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[3] 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)[2] 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[2] (Château de Villandry (France) vu des jardins)

Other châteaux

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)
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)
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)
Beaugency Beaugency Loiret 47°46′45″N 1°37′57″E / 47.77917°N 1.63250°E / 47.77917; 1.63250 (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)
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
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
Goulaine Haute-Goulaine Loire-Atlantique 47°12′15″N 1°24′10″W / 47.20417°N 1.40278°W / 47.20417; -1.40278 (Château de Goulaine) Château de Goulaine
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 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
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) 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


  1. The Loire Valley: A Phaidon Cultural Guide. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1986.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Peregrine, Anthony (21 May 2014). "The best chateaux of the Loire Valley, France". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. 1 2 Lounes, Allison (4 December 2012). "Chateaux spectacular: 5 best Loire Valley castles | CNN Travel". CNN. Retrieved 15 November 2016.

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

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