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Suggestions on other things to see in Loire Valley besides than castles

Planning trip in Sept and would like suggestions for other things to see in Loire Valley along with castles. We'll be driving from Paris ending up in Normandy area.

Posted by
16883 posts

Cyclers enjoy renting a bike to ride along the river; TI's have bike-path maps. Canoeing (www.canoe-company.fr) also possible. A spluge option would be a hot-air balloon ride (www.france-montgolfiere.com). Amboise also has the house of Leonardo at Clos-Luce, if you happen to be in that town (but I would not make a special trip). The main market day at Chinon is Thursday. Rick's France book has more detail on all of the above.

Posted by
784 posts

When we've been in the Loire in September there has been an international garden festival (Fete du Jardin) at the chateau at Chamont. Believe it is an annual event and involves landscape designers from all over the world. There is a different theme each year. We've been twice (in 1994 & 2000) and found it very interesting. If they are still doing it, it would be a nice stop.

Posted by
10344 posts

Most of the "castles" in the Loire Valley are not really castles, they're chateaux/chateaus. You'll notice the difference between the two.

Posted by
3304 posts

One chateau that has something different is Angers. It houses the 14th century tapestry of the Apocalypse, more than 100 meters long. I've read that there is also a modern tapestry, but I haven't seen it.

Posted by
5262 posts

Don't know if this floats your boat, but the zoo just south of St-Aignan is supposed to be one of the best in Europe. We spent a fun interesting day there after getting chateaued out during a week-long stay.

As noted above, the Clos Luce in Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years, has fascinating exhibits about him, also an adjoining wooded park with models of his various inventions.

Posted by
74 posts

Great suggestions! Thank you everyone. The bike ride sounds really like a good idea as does DaVinci. I can hardly wait to get there and see the countryside.