Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers a 170-mile middle part of the Loire River. Known as the Garden Of France, this lush area enchants visitors with whimsical castles, exquisite gardens, and traditional French wine.
Loire Valley has a way of captivating visitors in such a way that one visit is not enough to take in the beauty. However, different seasons determine how enjoyable the vacation will be. Some periods may have unbearable weather for wandering around, while other times, the destination may be less crowded and offer lower prices. Here's a breakdown.
When To Visit The Loire Valley
Loire Valley always has something to offer all year round. Whereas there are fantastic periods where tourists are bound to enjoy their stay, when to visit and where to go entirely depends on the traveler's preference. Here is what to expect from this part of France when planning a visit.
April To May: The period is suitable for tourists who love to visit destinations when places are less crowded. The days are longer, meaning outdoor activities are a priority. The flowers start to bloom, giving the botanical gardens in Loire Valley a more breathtaking appearance. Morning can start on a misty note, but it soon clears up quickly as the day proceeds.
June To September: Summer is one of the best times for tourists in Loire Valley. For sports enthusiasts, cycling tours like Tour de France happen to be during this period. July and August top the list for travelers looking for the hottest months in Loire Valley. Perhaps not as warm as southern France, but the heat is far more comfortable for outdoor activities. Another benefit of visiting Loire Valley during summer is that most events, shows, and tourist destinations tend to extend visiting hours into the evenings.
October to November: Tourism in Loire Valley is relatively slow in October due to the weather. The humidity and wind make it almost impossible for outdoor activities like swimming and kayaking, but hotels may be lower priced on the brighter side.
December to March: Loire Valley Weather is too cold in December and January to be enjoyable for travelers who fancy warm weather. Tourists who still insist on outdoor fun can enjoy country walks along the Rabelais trail before warming up to a crackling log fire afterward. Whereas most tourist attractions in Loire Valley are open throughout the year, others might be closed for renovations.
What Is The Loire Valley Known For?
Loire Valley invites visitors into a fairy-tale scene dominated by stunning chateaux, a vibrant culture, and friendly locals. Here is why Loire Valley is a fascinating place.
Son Et Lumiere
Probably one of France's most spectacular and anticipated shows, Son et Lumiere raises the bar higher regarding creativity, culture, and entertainment. The show's genre involves stunning lights projected onto the town's architecture at night, accompanied by an excellent selection of music.
The first Son et Lumiere was held in 1952 and has grown in complexity and popularity ever since. The event focuses on the relationship between light and human emotion, delivering an unforgettable experience to all ticket holders.
During the festival, tourists learn the history of the building hosting the event, narrated by a cast of voices. Castles, cathedrals, and ancient buildings are the best spots to catch this event happening on Loire Valley streets. The show happens every summer or early fall and takes four days.
- Time: 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM
- Ticket Price: Free
The Castles Of Loire Valley
In the spring, the gardens are full of bloom, making it the best time to visit The Castles of Loire Valley. Chateau de Chenonceau stands out from all the other castles and is labeled "The Ladies Castle" due to its long history of female owners. The grand castle boasts dramatic architecture, vast gardens, and spectacular water features. Chateau de Chenonceau's arched bridge is the biggest tourist attraction around the castle, which is also a significant hotspot for photography in the entire region.
Outside, the castle is graced with extravagant flower bouquets renowned for their sheer beauty. On a sunny day, tourists can skip the indoor tour and opt to bask in the outdoor grass courts punctuated with fruit and vegetable patches. Rumors are that Coco Chanel was a fan of the beautiful castle and its surroundings, and maybe that's why the Chanel brand often chooses the castle as a favorite spot for hosting events.
- Location: Chenonceaux
- Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (Spring)
- Ticket price: $15 per adult
Loire Valley is home to vineyards that produce world-class wines, thanks to the rich soils in the region. Wine tasting has been a culture in Loire Valley since the first century, and guests can tickle their taste buds as they sample an endless selection of wines. Popular wine tasting spots include Chateau Nitray, Couly-Dutheil Winery, and Chateau La Cassemichere, to mention a few.
Tourists can also participate in wine tours that offer opportunities to visit vineyards and watch the wine-making process as they are served a slice of history.
- Recommendation: Caves Touristiques is an excellent wine cellar tourism network that travelers can incorporate in their quest to learn more about wine in the country.
April and May are the best times to visit the beautiful Loire Valley, followed by Summer. The late spring (May) guarantees that most tourist attraction sites will be open while simultaneously having non-crowded spots. Due to Loire Valley's favorable location, one can choose to stay in Loire Valley and enjoy day trips to Paris, which is only two hours away.