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Visiting Chateaux in the Loire Valley

We will be visiting the Loire Valley in the spring, with a car. Should we pre-book tickets for all the chateaux we want to see?

Posted by
928 posts

Visited the Loire in May. We walked up at each one with no problem or wait. Chenonceaux is probably most prone to crowds, and is best done early anyways.

Posted by
2573 posts

No need to lock yourself into tickets this early. Your plans could change and as stated, Chenonceau is the only château with capacity issues.

Posted by
777 posts

It really depends when in May, and whether the COVID rules change. May has a number of public holidays and the chateaux can be incredibly busy on a 3 or 4 day weekend. So much to the extent that chateaux with timed entry due to number limits can be booked out with no tickets available on the day. This happened a number of times this year. We have decided not to offer any tours on long weekends next year because of the crowds.

I wouldn't bother booking yet, but I would book a couple of weeks beforehand.

Posted by
4420 posts

Pre-Covid, we went to Chenenceaux late in the afternoon(in summer when the days were longer) and there were no crowds.

Posted by
12172 posts

You shouldn't have to pre-book in the Spring. Possibly in July or August. I went in September and there were plenty of people but no line when I arrived and not overcrowded.

Posted by
366 posts

We went to Chenonceau last June, and we didn't have to pre-book. We also visited the Château du Clos Lucé, Leonardo Da Vinci's house in Amboise, the same day, and didn't pre-book tickets for that either. They were both lovely and well worth seeing.

Posted by
10287 posts

Simon's advice is golden. He runs a tour company in the Loire so has an in-depth and long-range view, not a one-time experience like all the rest of us.

Posted by
777 posts

Just a quick follow up on this.:

Yesterday there were no problems getting tickets and entry times for the chateaux.
Last weekend, (that was the last weekend in October) although tickets were available on the day, if you arrived at Chenonceau at midday and bought a ticket your timed entry was 3pm at the earliest.

Just because it's not what you think is high season doesn't mean there won't be crowds of people. These days the only time I would risk not pre-booking Chenonceau is lunchtime on Christmas day.

Also: book on the chateau's own site, not a tourist office or third party. Although you can buy a ticket on other sites, there is no way to pre-book an entry time.