Royal Van Trip
Less than two hours from Paris, the Loire Valley begins and its plethora of Loire chateaux appear, each one successively larger and more beautiful.
From Sully sur Loire to Angers, there are more than 20 remarkable chateaux to see, with architecture that reveals the change between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance eras. A rental campervan is one of the best options for visiting the Loire Valley at your own pace, without stress. And for your royal adventure, nothing is better than the Mercedes Marco Polo, for example. Start your adventure at Chateau de Sully sur Loire, just outside Sologne. It's the perfect example of a medieval fortress, with its keep, towers and water-filled moat. Make a stop in Orléans to see Joan of Arc's equestrian statue and the majestic Cathédrale Sainte-Croix. Your campervan will then take you towards the Château de Chambord, which is a typical example of Renaissance architecture.
This was Francis I's preferred residence. A bit further on, visit the astonishing Château Royal de Blois. Its four wings, which you can explore from the central courtyard, will reveal how architecture evolved from the 13th to the 17th century. Continue down the length of the Loire to the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, which features an impressive chateau that looks out over the Loire Valley and hosts an International Garden Festival. Next up is the Château Royal d'Amboise and its wide terrace above the city and river. Just 500 metres from Château d'Amboise you can visit Château du Clos Lucé where the great Leonardo da Vinci lived during the last years of his life before being buried in the chateau's chapel. Leave the Loire Valley for a while to visit Château de Chenonceau, a true gem that was built straddling the Cher and was cherished by the great women who possessed it, first Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Médicis.
Just 30km south, the Cité Royale de Loches awaits you, with its imposing keep, fortified enclosure and the royal house where Joan of Arc and Anne of Brittany stayed. Head into Tours, Touraine's capital. Wander through the Plumereau neighbourhood where you can see half-timbered houses, and the impressive Saint Gatien's Cathedral. If the thought of all these visits gives you mild indigestion, point your campervan towards Paris on the A10 motorway. If not, continue your royal adventure through the Loire towards Anjou. Many other architectural marvels are waiting with open arms: Villandry and its magnificent gardens, the charming Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, the Château de Langeais, the unforgettable Fontevraud Abbey and the chateaux in Saumur and Angers.
The Loire Valley, a UNESCO world heritage site, is also a land of vineyards offering excellent wines from Touraine and Anjou, with fine appellations like Vouvray, Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur and Savennières. If you go a bit too far with the tastings, you can opt to sleep where you're parked rather than heading back out on the road...another advantage to travelling in a campervan. You can also break away from your van to use some other modes of transportation as you explore the Loire Valley's magnificent landscape. Walk the GR 3 on foot, take a bike on one of the many marked trails or embark on one of the traditional boats that ply the Loire, such as a gabare or toue.
We suggest you set off on your campervan adventure through the Loire Valley from our WeVan rental location in Paris.