We liked the Loire Valley. It’s a lot to cover in a few days, especially in August with high crowds and temps in the high 90s. It’s probably better as a low energy week-long stay. I personally liked the geography of the western side more, which has a lot of cave dwellings. The river is a centerpiece of most of the towns, but is not generally deep enough to boat in (and doesn’t look particularly clean). To make an effort to research and book meals in advance – this is a part of France where quite a lot of the restaurants can be quite disappointing.


Amboise, our destination for two nights, is a town in central France’s Loire Valley. It’s known for the Château d’Amboise, the grand 15th-century residence of King Charles VIII featuring Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb, as well as royal chambers, gardens and underground passageways. We liked Ambois, but were very glad to be away from the busy central district. There are many bike rides (we did the “orange route”) through the scenic countryside.

Château de Chenonceau

Just outside Ambois (or a rather long and hot bike ride) is ***Chenonceau. It is a lovely building. We just viewed the outside, too crowded to tour. Note that for the postcard views you need to be on the water, or along the riverside.

Rick Steves description: For sheer elegance arching over the Cher River, and for its lovely gardens. The toast of the Loire, Chenonceau, is a 16th-century Renaissance palace arching elegantly over the Cher River. Nicknamed the “château of the ladies,” it was the home — and work — of many famous women over the centuries. Most of the design decisions for the main building were made by the wife of the original owner, as he was so often away on the king’s business. A later resident, King Henry II’s mistress Diane de Poitiers, added a bridge across the river to access the hunting grounds. Diane enjoyed her lovely retreat until Henry was killed (pierced in a jousting tournament) and his vengeful wife, Catherine de Médici, unceremoniously kicked Diane out into the nearby château of Chaumont. Catherine added new gardens and rooms to the palace, including the three-story structure atop Diane’s bridge that has ever since given Chenonceau its unique river-spanning charm. Catherine died before completing her full vision, but not before turning her château into the local aristocracy’s place to see and be seen.


  • September 8, 2021

    Thank you for mentionning our hotel in Amboise – Le Choiseul !
    Amboise can be a bit busy during summer months but very pleasant at spring or autumn


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