Though it was tempting to laze for all our days in the Loire Valley at Chateau de Chambord and its serene grounds, we knew there were many more castles to be seen. More than we had time for in fact, and we were going to have to be choosy.

We decided to visit a few that were within close driving distance to Chambord, as babies prefer not to spend their days in cars.


Chateau de Chenonceau

What makes Chateau de Chenonceau unique is how it stretches across the River Cher via a beautiful arched bridge. The bridge spans from one side of the river to the opposite bank. The arches allow passing traffic through, including a few people in canoes we watched calmly paddling by.

This castle is nicknamed “Le Chateau des Dames”, as the upkeep, protection, and renovations of the castle were performed by various influential women. The castle has a romantic feel, with fresh flowers adorning it throughout, a grand black-and-white tiled gallery that extends across the entire length of the bridge, as well as beautiful manicured gardens.

The trail leading to the castle makes it feel magical: lined with trees and wide enough to host a parade.


Chateau de Villandry

What makes Chateau de Villandry unique is its SIX gardens which occupy 9 hectares of land. There is everything from an ornamental garden with seasonal flowers, a maze garden to get lost in, a water garden full of ponds and fountains, and Jardin des Simples (Kitchen Garden) full of vegetables in color-coordinated squares.

This is all we did during our stop: try to take the time to appreciate each of these gardens without ever stepping a foot indoors.


Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire

I don’t know if a more perfect looking medieval castle exists.

Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, originally built around 1000 and rebuilt in 1500, has a drawbridge flanked by cylindrical towers, typical of what you would expect for a fortress. The castle on the hill was meant to protect the small town of Blois that sits below.

This was a small sampling of the chateaux available to see in the Loire Valley, though we felt we had a good variety between interiors and gardens, as well as various styles. Each castle seemed to have its own unique feature to appreciate!