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Plan your Loire Valley Trip from Paris
The Loire Valley is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Click here for the list of best day trips from Paris
The Loire Valley, in Central France, is a wonderful area to explore. Follow the Loire River whilst visiting pretty medieval towns, awesome Renaissance châteaux, and tasting great food and wine.
The good news is that the Loire Valley is relatively close to Paris so it is possible to get a glimpse of this wonderful region on a Loire Valley day trip from Paris. Actually, a day trip to Loire Valley – self-guided or with a guided tour – is one of the most popular day trips from Paris!
The Loire Valley is one of the most visited places in France. Here are some things to know when planning your day trip to Loire Valley from Paris to make the trip a smooth and memorable one.
Paris to Loire Valley Day Trip Planning
CAN I VISIT THE LOIRE VALLEY FROM PARIS IN A DAY?
Although the Loire Valley is best explored on a weekend getaway from Paris or – even better – on a Loire Valley Road Trip, day trips to Loire Valley from Paris are possible and very popular. However, the Loire Valley day trip options are very limited, especially if you are traveling from Paris to Loire Valley by public transportation.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE LOIRE VALLEY
A Loire Valley day trip during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) is ideal because there are fewer tourists and the gardens are especially beautiful with the first blooms or under the fall colors.
In the summer, the best Loire Valley Castles see the crowds (skip-the-line tickets are highly recommended) and you may enjoy the visits less. However, summer is also the season of many beautiful festivals in the Loire Valley towns. Some of the Loire Castles also host music festivals, garden festivals, or sound and light night festivals.
Winter is the less interesting season to visit the Loire Valley and some of the lesser-known Loire Castles may be closed to the public. However, in wintertime skip-the-line tickets are not necessary and you can enjoy the best Loire Valley Castles without the crowds.
Best Loire Castles to Visit on Your Day Trip to Loire Valley
In the Loire Valley, you will find some of the most beautiful French castles to visit. Most of the Loire Valley Castles were built during the Renaissance, so they are very different from castles near Paris such as the Palace of Versailles, Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, or Château de Pierrefonds.
If you don’t know what Loire Castles to visit, this list of Best Loire Valley Castles may be helpful. For a Loire Valley day trip from Paris, we recommend choosing only 2 or 3 castles.
If you want to visit the Loire Valley on a day trip from Paris, don’t waste your time waiting in line to buy the castle tickets. Below we list the Loire Castles you will need advance tickets for and have added links to our favorite trusty providers for your convenience.
Best Towns to Visit on a Day Trip from Paris to Loire Valley
Beaugency is a small town set along the Loire River, in the Loiret department. It has a pretty medieval center and some interesting sites such as the old bridge over the Loire River or the 15th-century Château de Dunois.
Situated on the edge of the Loire River, in the Loir-et-Cher department, Blois was in the past home to the French Kings. Visit the Royal Château of Blois – a must of the Loire Valley – and explore the old town, with beautiful medieval architecture and interesting sights.
Amboise is a pretty small town in the Indre-et-Loire department. It is best known for the Royal Château d’Amboise, home to King Charles VIII, and for the Château du Clos de Lucé, the residence where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life.
Best Ways to Visit the Loire Valley from Paris
LOIRE VALLEY TOURS FROM PARIS
Tours from Paris to Loire Valley are the most comfortable and effective way to visit the Loire Valley for a day. Sit on the van and enjoy the landscape without having to worry about directions, transfers, or train connections.
There are a good variety of Loire Valley tours of all sizes. Some of the tours only include transportation and entrance tickets whilst other tours also come with lunch and wine tastings.
Our favorite Loire Valley day tour – consistently rated 5/5 – is this small-group tour by minibus and with English speaking guide that covers Château de Chenonceau, Château d’Amboise, and Château de Chambord with a wine tasting in Amboise, and you cannot do better than this on your own by public transportation.
PARIS TO LOIRE VALLEY DAY TRIP BY CAR (SELF-GUIDED)
This is the best and most flexible option to visit the Loire Valley on a day trip from Paris but if you don’t have your own car it is not very interesting to rent a car only for a day trip to Loire Valley.
The Loire Valley by car is a good option to explore the towns or Loire Castles off the beaten path or the Loire Castles not well connected by public transportation.
Some driving distances and times to the best Loire Castles near Paris are:
- Paris – Château de Chambord: 1h 48min
- Paris – Château de Blois: 1h 45min
- Paris – Château d’Amboise: 2h 09min
- Paris – Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: 2h 39min
- Paris – Château de Villandry: 2h 30min
- Paris – Château de Chenonceau: 2h 26min
- Paris – Château de Chaumont sur Looire: 2h 04min
Usually, the Loire Valley Castles have their own car parks (paying or for free) near the castle entrance. Parking is definitely more complicated in towns or small cities like Amboise or Blois.
PARIS TO LOIRE VALLEY DAY TRIP BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (SELF-GUIDED)
If you want to travel from Paris to Loire Valley by train, your best bet are Amboise and Blois. Both places have a few train direct connections for Paris day-trippers and with good planning, you can combine both with a bus trip to Chambord (from Blois).
Here’s the list of train distances and times for reference:
- Train Paris – Blois: 1,5-2h (direct or via Orléans)
- Bus Blois – Château de Chambord: 30min (check bus schedule)
- Train Paris – Amboise: 2-2,5h (direct or via Orléans)
Tips for Your Day Trip from Paris to Loire Valley
Choose only 2-3 Loire Castles to visit for your day trip to Loire Valley. Consider an average of 1-2 hours of visit per castle but some of them have such beautiful grounds that you could easily spend the full day on it!
Bring good walking shoes, you are going to walk a lot! And don’t forget your refillable bottle of water to keep you hydrated.
For the perfect day trip from Paris to Loire Valley, try to combine small towns, Loire Valley Castles, and food and wine tasting. Guided day tours are usually good at doing this.
Good to know for your Loire Valley Castles tour (self-guided): from experience, there are most crowds in the castles around 11 am and 3 pm.
Some châteaux, like Château de Chambord, don’t allow tripods in. You are warned!