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Where to go for charming villages in Loire Valley

We love charming quaint villages. We would like to visit the Loire Valley. We prefer to stay in charming airbnbs rather than hotels. Where do you recommend staying and visiting? Do we fly into Paris? We love markets, shopping, chateaus and wineries. We will rent a car. Any suggestions are welcome!!

Posted by
6567 posts

We stayed a week in St-Aignan, on the Cher River, not far from Chenonceaux, Cheverny, Chambord, Amboise, Blois, and other chateaux east of Tours. It was a very nice town, with several good restaurants, a laundromat near our rental, an old church with some faded frescoes in the crypt, and a chateau which wasn't open to the public then (2010). I can't be sure, but I think we were in this apartment, which was bigger than we needed but very central, with nearby parking. I see more options on VRBO and I'm sure there are some on Airbnb. After several days of chateaux we enjoyed a day at the ZooParc de Beauval, self-described as "the fourth most beautiful zoo in the world." I can't verify that but it was great.

I'm sure you could find other charming villages, including smaller ones if you prefer. With a car you could stay almost anywhere. If you have enough time, consider spending some of it east of Tours and some west of Tours. Assuming that you're in North America, Paris would be the logical place to fly to. There are express trains (TGV) from CDG airport to St-Pierre-le-Corps, just outside of Tours, where you could rent the car. There are also trains between Tours and central Paris if you want to spend time there.

Posted by
1996 posts

Stayed two years ago near St-Aignan and like Loches it’s very charming, so agree with Dick and JHK that both are worth putting on your list. Like to add Montrésor between the two places. And more downstream along the Cher from St-Aignan Montrichard too. Liked also staying near Beaugency along the Loire between Blois and Orléans.

Maybe too far away, nevertheless worth considering more upstream along the Loire are Briare for it’s “Pont-Canal”, further Sancerre and La Charité-sur-Loire.

Posted by
68 posts

Do not miss Chedigny, the village of roses. The whole village is a Jardin Remarquable. It's a tiny place but it can take me half an hour to walk along its one street because I take so many photos. There's also a Jardin de Cure behind the church (entry fee) and a tearoom.

Montresor is lovely as well. Loches is great, though too big to qualify as a village. Just east of Loches is Beaulieu les Loches, very walkable with many old buildings built of white tuffeau. Chanceaux pres Loches is a little hard to find and it's really just a bend in the road, but it is quite photogenic with its pretty church, allee of sycamores, a chalet painted with figures from literature, and a chateau which you can glimpse behind the trees.

We've been staying at La bihourderie since 2006 and will be going back in May. Owners are English and French. Lovely people, the rooms are small but nicely decorated and absolutely clean, a tasty breakfast with conversation, and a good location north of Loches. The owner knows the area very well and can recommend places to visit, restaurants, walks, whatever. Because of her, we visited the Chateau de L'Islette. open only in summer when the resident family moves into another house on the property.

https://www.labihourderie.com/en/home/

There are several Plus Beaux Villages de France in the Loire, and there are a lot of towns and villages that are Villes/Villages Fleuris. No matter where you go you'll find flowers, old mills, rivers and streams, chateaux and manors and more modest old buildings, which have their own charm. Have a great trip.

Posted by
877 posts

Love the Loire Valley….so much to enjoy. Get the book titled THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF FRANCE…….in it are the maps of the country and every village that has earned that title. We drive when we travel to France and we make certain, no matter where we are going, to route our ride through as many of these villages as possible. They have earned that notice for a good reason…..they are all charming and picture postcard beautiful. Have a pastry in the town, walk the streets and enjoy! Gerberoy is my favorite so far!!!!