If you fancy an extravagant getaway within France, Loire Valley is just a train ride away from Paris. The quaint stretch that is now nestled right between the crucial frontiers of Northern and Southern France was once best known for its strategic importance. Apart from its rich yesteryears, Loire Valley still attracts several visitors who wish to catch a first hand experience of culture, art and splendour in a single trip.
With meticulously planned hamlets and sprawling vineyards adding to the valley’s beauty, there is no surprise that the Loire Valley is on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. When visiting, your day trip from Paris to Loire Valley will be nothing less than a fairytale!
What Makes Loire Valley Special
More than a mere stretch of land, Loire Valley is cluster of some of the most remarkable towns of France, that were once best known for their administrative stature. Many famous authors, poets, aristocrats, and kings once built their abodes on the banks of its river after being mesmerised by the pristine beauty of Loire Valley.
Blessed with abundant fertility, the river banks around Loire Valley play host to a number of towns that preserve the lavish cultural legacy even today. A day trip to Loire Valley will acquaint you with architectural marvels, verdant vineyards, and opulent chateaux. Sip on some world-renowned wines (courtesy, of course, the Loire Valley) as you cosy up with a book in one of their roadside cafes and take in the resplendent scenery.
Paris to Loire Valley Tour
Loire Valley Castles - Chambord, Chenonceau, Nitry & and Wine Tour from Paris
• See how the French royalty lived with a tour of Loire Valley’s majestic châteaux
• Relish red and white wines as part of an optional activity at Chenonceau
• Avail transport in an air-conditioned coach from Paris
• Enjoy the company of a guide who is well-versed in English
Assemble at Les Catacombs in Paris, from where you will be whisked away to the charming Loire Valley in a luxurious, air-conditioned coach. Enjoy the sights across the valley before arriving at the Château de Chambord, an inspiration for the castle featured in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Move on to Château de Nitray where you can take a look at the workings of a vineyard. Enjoy your lunch with heady in-house wines before you take off for your final destination — The Château de Chenonceau.
What to See and Do in Loire Valley
Châteaux: It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Loire Valley is best known for its stellar castles. And while there are over 300 châteaux in Loire Valley, the Château de Chenonceau and the Château de Chambord are the most visited, as well as the most photographed, castles in France. Both Chambord and Chenonceau châteaux are well furnished with interiors dating back from the Renaissance period, and are home to several notable pieces of art from the 16th and 17th century. With their expansive courtyards and palace grounds, a visit to these castles can easily take up an entire day.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours: A museum dedicated to the wonders of fine art, Musée des Beaux-Arts was built in the 18th century. It holds an eclectic collection of notable artworks, sculptures, furniture, as well as paintings beginning from the 14th century onwards. Monet, Delacroix, and Degas are only some of the well-known artists whose artworks are displayed in this opulent museum. Apart from the art, the Musée des Beaux-Arts is also regarded as an iconic structure in Loire Valley because of its strikingly beautiful facade.
Cathedrals: Apart from being home to a number of stunning castles, Loire Valley is also blessed with some of the finest cathedrals in the world. These include the Bourges Cathedral and the Chartres Cathedral, which attract pilgrims as well as tourists from around the world. Famous for their intricate architecture and their artistic stained glass windows, these cathedrals portray excellent craftsmanship that is almost 800 years old as of today. In fact, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres (Chartres Cathedral), the 12th century cathedral, has also earned itself a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites because of its splendid Gothic architecture and its unique religious allure.
Wine tasting: Being France’s third largest wine producer, Loire Valley houses some of the most picturesque vineyards that produce a variety of wines. Making use of a myriad of grape varieties, Loire Valley creates some of the finest wines that you can try on your day trip. Each year, visitors from around the world visit during the harvesting period to enjoy a thorough, guided walk within Loire Valley’s vineyards. A typical visit begins with a brief look into the process, which is both educational and interactive, along with a fun wine-sipping experience to go along!
Things to Consider When Booking Your Trip to Loire Valley
Before you decide to book tickets, here are a few aspects you should consider while opting for a day trip from Paris to Loire Valley:
- Timing: A three-hour drive away from Paris, Loire Valley has become one of the most sought after day tours in France. However, given how massive the area is, if you wish to cover the important attractions, you should try leaving early. Home to numerous châteaux and awe-inspiring sights, a day trip to Loire Valley begins early in the morning from Paris and takes up at least 13 hours of your day. During the tour, you will be allowed to spend a comfortable amount of time at every attraction, giving you the liberty to click pictures and wander as per your will.
- Season: Blessed with pleasant and cheerful climatic conditions all year round, planning a trip to Loire Valley may not be difficult. Although, if sunshine and a warmer climate is what you prefer, making a trip during the spring season is recommended. You may encounter off-season rain, but the climate tends to remain cool throughout these months. Summer season in France tends to attract a flock of crowd and is known for its long, dry spells — making it rather unfavourable for those looking to have a comfortable time out. The temperature in winter may drop down to 8 degrees, but those willing to tackle a little cold can find themselves enjoying the change.
- Cost: Between a self-guided tour and a guided-tour, a self-guided tour option will definitely seem economical. However, a guided-tour takes care of your comfort and safety, along with any external costs that may come along your way. A guided-tour takes you comfortably in a luxurious air-conditioned coach, providing you the company of a well-informed guide and several tourists just like yourself. This not only gives you a chance to socialise, but also provides you the security of a close-knit group, along with other perks and privileges.
How to get to Loire Valley From Paris
Getting to Loire Valley from Paris has now become easier than ever. A TGV ride from Paris will get you there in about 35 minutes. However, if you truly wish to enjoy the scenic route from Paris to Loire Valley, travelling by road is ideal for those interested in capturing the landscaping views into their camera. A journey by road takes three hours. You can even travel in a spacious air-conditioned coach as part of a day tour, making travel fun and convenient.
- There are several chateaux in and around Loire Valley, so plan beforehand, and visit the ones you really want to see, as it isn’t possible to explore every château.
- A Pass Châteaux is advisable for those willing to go castle-hopping through the day.
- Loire Valley is home to some of the finest wines, make sure you add a winery to your list!
- You can travel by road as Loire Valley has ample of free parking space around its chateaux.
Other Day Trips from Paris
Paris to Giverny
Escape the city life for a day, and hop aboard a luxury bus to visit the beautiful Giverny, located barely 2 hours away. Explore the gardens where Monet spent his time creating some of his most memorable paintings. Spend your day taking in remarkable sites around Giverny before you depart to the palace of Versailles. Skip the line at the Palace and take a tour around the grand hallways. Experience the life of the French Monarchs and get a quick glimpse into the life of the infamous King Louis XIV.
• Giverny, Monet's Garden & Versailles Palace Full Day Trip from Paris
Paris to Reims
Explore Reims, and glance into its lavish history and royal traditions. Enjoy some of the best champagnes in the world during your tour, and get a brief history of the iconic monuments in Reims. The tour begins early and takes you through the Mumm Champagne house for a first hand experience of champagne making and tasting. Embark on a journey dominated by taste-buds as you explore Reims’ world-famous delicacies, including the White Pudding, during your tour.
• Guided Tour of the Reims Champagne Region from Paris