Home to some of the country’s most iconic tourist attractions, one can experience a bit of everything in the state of Maharashtra. Summer is the perfect time for exploring different places and spending your holidays in Maharashtra will turn out to be extraordinary for sure! A handy guide for your enticing trip is a must when you are visiting an unknown place. Here is a perfect guide for you which has all the details about your vacay. From soft-sand beaches to lush green mountains and cosmopolitan cities, these 10 places to visit in Maharashtra in summer that are mentioned in the guide are totally high on fun, adventure, surprises, and good vibes.
1. Malvan – Famous Fishing Ports
Painting a beautiful canvas for you with its stunning beaches, sprawling backwater and ancient forts in the backdrop, Malvan is indeed one of the best places to visit in summer in Maharashtra. Renowned to be the most famous fishing ports in the state, Malvan is one of the places to visit in March in Maharashtra to enjoy some privacy, great sunsets, and adventurous watersports.
Best Time To Visit: End of October to mid-May
Major Attractions: Tarkarli Beach, Malvan Beach, Nivti Beach, Rock Garden, Devbagh Beach, Sindhudurg Fort, Malvan Marine Sanctuary, and more.
Things To Do: Boating in Karli backwaters, scuba diving and dolphin safari in Tsunami island, snorkeling in Tarkarli, and more.
How To Reach: Malvan is located at a distance of about 35 kilometers from Kasal. The destination can be best reached from Pune via Kolhapur through NH 17.
2. Amboli – For The Nature Lovers
Located at an altitude of 2260 ft., Amboli is one of the must-visit tourist places in Maharashtra in summer. Perched high on the Sahyadri Hills of Western Ghats, Amboli serves as one of the cool places in Maharashtra for all the nature lovers to unwind and rejuvenate.
Best Time To Visit: June to September
Major Attractions: Amboli Falls, Shirgaonkar Point, Madhavgad Fort, Nangarta Falls, and Sunset Point.
Things To Do: Trek the Durg Dhakoba, rock climbing, bird-watching, camping, and more.
How To Reach: Dabolim Airport of Goa is the nearest airport located about 113 kilometers from Amboli. Sawantwadi is the closest railway station located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Amboli.
3. Kashid – Quaint Little Beach Town
A quaint little beach town nestled along the North Konkan region of Maharashtra, Kashid is one of the coolest places to visit in Maharashtra during summer. Famous for its white-sand beaches, clear blue seas, and dense-forested mountains, Kashid is an apt place where all the beach bums should be heading this summer.
Best Time To Visit: March to June
Major Attractions: Kashid Beach, Murud Janjira Fort, Korlai Fort, Revdanda Beach & Fort, and Phansad Bird Sanctuary.
Things To Do: Camping at Kashid beach, trek to Phansad, scuba diving near Murud Janjira, banana boat rides in Kashid, and more.
How To Reach: The nearest airstrip is that of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport which is about 140 kilometers away. The nearest railway station is that of Roha which is about 122 kilometers away from Kashid.
4. Lonavala – Best Picnic Spot
Lonavala not only serves as the best picnic spot in Maharashtra in summer but is also one of the best picnic spots near Mumbai for all those who want to escape the clutter of city life. Known for its waterfalls and soothing greenery, get to Lonavala for a gala time during your summer vacations. This is one of the best cold places to visit in the summer in Maharashtra.
Best Time To Visit: October to May
Major Attractions: Tiger’s Leap, Lonavala Lake, Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary, Koregad Fort, Amrutanjan Point, Bhaja Caves, and more.
Things To Do: Enjoy sightseeing and camping, trekking to Duke’s Nose, trek to Koregad, trek to Rajmachi and Kondane Caves, and more.
How To Reach: Lohegaon Airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of about 71 kilometers from Lonavala. Lonavala is well connected to other cities in India through regular trains.
5. Khandala – Admire The Natural Beauty
Located just 3 kilometers away from the above mentioned Lonavala, Khandala also is a stunner when it comes to places to visit in Maharashtra in May. Enjoying a pleasant climate during the summers, the natural beauty of Khandala makes it one of the best summer vacation places in Maharashtra and it will be worth spending your vacation in this nature’s marvel.
Best Time To Visit: October to May
Major Attractions: Rajmachi Fort, Lohagad Fort, Bedse Caves, Visapur Fort, Kune Waterfalls, Bushi Dam, and Shooting Point.
Things To Do: Enjoy the best of trekking, hiking, caving, and sightseeing in Khandala, paragliding in Kamshet, and more.
How To Reach: Located at a distance of about 66 kilometers, the domestic airport of Pune is the closest airport. The nearest railway station that connects Khandala to other cities is that of the Lonavala railway station.
6. Mahabaleshwar – A Romantic Getaway
Nestled in the Sahyadri Mountain ranges, Mahabaleshwar is yet another place to explore in summers which is also a romantic getaway for all the love birds. Once a summer capital of Bombay, quiet and enchanting places to visit in Mahabaleshwar are nothing less than magic.
Best Time To Visit: March to June
Major Attractions: Mahabaleshwar Temple, Morarji Castle, Vienna Lake, Pratapgad, Mapro Garden, Tapola, Lingamala Falls, Lodwick Point, Elephant’s Head Point and many more.
Things To Do: Watch the magical sunrise at Wilson Point, mountain biking at Mahabaleshwar hill station, boating from Tapola to Bamnoli Island, rock climbing, horse riding, trekking & more.
How To Reach: The nearest airport is that of Pune located just 120 kilometers away. Water is the nearest railway station that is located just 60 kilometers away. Take local buses from Vashi, Dadar East or Sion and reach Mahabaleshwar in just 5 to 6 hours.
7. Alibaug – A Peaceful Town
Get to Alibaug – one of the peaceful places to visit in April in Maharashtra, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the metro cities in India, especially Mumbai. More of a quiet and peaceful town, Alibaug is home to some of the best beaches that make it one of the best places to visit in Maharashtra in summer.
Best Time To Visit: October to May
Major Attractions: Alibaug Beach, Nagaon Beach, Kolaba Fort, Akshi Beach, Kanakeshwar Forest, Varsoli Beach, Mandwa Beach, and more.
Things To Do: Enjoy camping at Revdanda beach, trek to Sagargad, Jetski, bumpy rides, and banana boat rides at Nagaon, bird watching at Akshi beach, and more.
How To Reach: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the nearest airport to Alibaug which is 140 kilometers away. One can also reach Alibaug in two hours via many local buses that run from Mumbai.
8. Matheran – Smallest Hill Station In India
Despite being the smallest hill station in India, Matheran has a lot to offer when it comes to places to visit in Maharashtra in summer. Located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, Matheran treats the adventure souls right with its lush green and forested routes that are rich in wildlife and best for trekking and hiking. It is one of the best hill stations in Maharashtra that you ought to visit on your next trip.
Best Time To Visit: November to June
Major Attractions: Panorama Point, Echo Point, One Tree Hill Point, Charlotte Lake, Alexander Point, Prabal Fort, and Honeymoon Hill.
Things To Do: Trek through the Garbett Plateau, valley crossing from Honeymoon Point to Louisa Point, nature walking, and local shopping in Matheran, and more.
How To Reach: Take the toy train from Neral and enjoy a zigzag ride through which you can reach Matheran in just two hours. One can also drive to Matheran from Neral and reach within 30 minutes.
9. Panchgani – The Ultimate Summer Resort
Last but not least, Panchgani is renowned as the headquarters for paragliding in the state of Maharashtra. Literally translating into the land of five hills, Panchgani is the ultimate summer resort that is much famed for its scenic beauty and untouched environs. This is surely one of the best places to visit in Maharashtra during summer which will sweep you off your feet.
Best Time To Visit: September to May
Major Attractions: Table Land, Mapro Farms, Sydney Point, Lingmala Falls, Kate’s Point, Arthur Seat, Dhom Dam, Bhilar Waterfalls, and Elephant’s Head Point.
Things To Do: Go sightseeing in Panchgani, hiking near the Rajpuri Caves, enjoy trekking and cycling, go shopping for handicrafts, and much more.
How To Reach: One can get to Panchgani by flight via Pune Airport which is located at a distance of 100 kilometers. The nearest railway head is also that of Pune.
10. Ratnagiri – Explore The Fascinating Beaches
Located on the shoreline of the Arabian Sea, Ratnagiri is one of the coolest places to visit in Maharashtra in summer. Being one of the popular Maharashtra destinations to spend a laid-back holiday, one must explore the fascinating beaches in Ratnagiri on their next trip to Maharashtra.
Best Time To Visit: October to April
Major Attractions: Ratnagiri Fort, Bhatye Beach, Thibaw Palace, Bhagwati Mandir, Mandvi Beach, and more
Things To Do: Explore the Ratnadurg Fort, visit Ratnagiri Marine Fish Museum, hike up to Kadelot Point, visit Basni Lake, and more
How To Reach: One can reach Ratnagiri via flights, trains, and by road. While Mumbai happens to be the nearest airstrip and railhead from Ratnagiri, one can also travel to Ratnagiri from Goa which is just 188 km away.
11. Harihareshwar – Soak In Serene Vibes
Known for being a popular beach destination by the locals, this place is nothing less than blessed with the famous temple of Harihareshwar in the vicinity. Not only the majestic four hills protecting the region proudly add more charm to this place’s serene vibes, but it also has river Savitri through the town and dense forests around the beach that make this a perfect holiday spot to unwind. It is one of the best tourist places in Maharashtra.
Best Time To Visit: October to March
Major Attractions: Harihareshwar beach, Kalbhairav temple, and Bagmandala
Things To Do: Go for a beach walk at Diveagar beach or indulge in an extraordinary shopping experience at Harihareshwar vibrant markets
How To Reach: You can take a cab from the nearest airport in Mumbai and the nearest railhead is Mangaon.
12. Malshej Ghat – A True Nature’s Paradise
Nestled beautifully amongst the majestic mountains, serene waterfalls, and numerous enchanting lakes, Malshej Ghat is what you call a true nature’s paradise. Famous amongst the locals for being a perfect weekend getaway from Pune, Mumbai, and Thane, this place is also known for trekking and hiking activities.
Best Time To Visit: July to March
Major Attractions: Pimpalgaon Jogal Dam, and Malshej Falls
Things To Do: Trek around the Harishchandragad Fort, shop in the streets of Malshej Ghat or simply visit the Ajoba Hill Fort for a soothing experience
How To Reach: While the nearest airport is Pune, from where you can rent a cab, the closest railway station is Kalyan which is at a mere 85 km away from the town.
13. Toranmal – Lush Landscapes
Toranmal is one of the best places to visit in the summer in Maharashtra. The name of this place has been adapted from the word ‘Tarona’, a goddess worshipped by the tribals of the region. This small hill station is best for nature lovers. There are several beautiful lakes, less-explored caves, and viewpoints in Toranmal.
Best Time To Visit: October to May
Major Attractions: Lotus Lake, Aawashabari Point, Yashavant Lake, Sita Khai, Khadki Point, and Machhindranath Cave are some of the popular places to visit in Toranmal.
Things To Do: Trekking, sightseeing, picnic
How To Reach: Nandurbar and Alirajpur are the nearest railway station to Toranmal
14. Jawhar – A Mini Hillstation
what is a tiny hill station located in the Thane district? This is one of the most charming tourist places in Maharashtra in summer for a family or a couple of holidays. Rich with scenic beauty, Jawhar is simply a green paradise. There are spots to watch the stunning sunset, beautiful palaces, and waterfalls. Jai Vilas Palace, an architectural wonder from the past, is one of the major highlights of Jawhar sightseeing.
Best Time To Visit: October to February
Major Attractions: Dabdaba Falls, Jai Vilas Palace, Hanuman Point, Sunset Point, and Shirpamal
Things To Do: Sightseeing, nature walk, sunset watching
How To Reach: Nashik is the nearest railway station from Jawhar
15. Nashik – Temples, Ghats And More
Nashik is an ancient holy town set on the banks of river Godavari. This city is associated with Hindu mythological text, Ramayana. Nashik is home to several temples and shrines and is visited by devotees and travelers from different parts of the country. The temples in the city have traditional and detailed architecture. There are several ghats in the town which makes it one of the best destinations for a summer vacation in Maharashtra.
Best Time To Visit: October to December and February and March
Major Attractions: Ramkund, York Winery, Soma Wine Village, Chandon, Sita Gumpha, and Kala Rama Temple
Things To Do: Go on a wine tour at Sula Vineyards, temple visits, bathing in ghats
How To Reach: Nashik Railway station is well-connected to another part of the country.
The fact that globe-trotting may be a thanks to seek solace and explore the good beyond, travelers tirelessly venture to seem for answers with an inquisitive mind. Ultimately, finding India to be an appropriate travel destination where you get the taste of everything exquisite – Tradition, Culture, and Food. If you’re planning a vacation in India, consider a visit to the youngest state- Telangana. This charming existence is taken into account to be a stimulating destination to go to for it treasures a generous load of vivifying places and attractions. as an example , the majestic Charminar at Hyderabad, the soothing Pakhal Lake at Warangal, the most important dam in southern plains of India- Nagarjuna Sagar Dam and a few must-visit pilgrimage places, which happen to be located almost everywhere within the state.
A land that stuns the visitors by its graceful monument- Charminar, Hyderabad is one among the foremost visited destinations in Telangana. you’ll actually parade through the various lovely places in Hyderabad and it’s surely , this place features a layout of wonderful things to try to to . as an example , you’ll continue a food hunt round the city and you’d love the experience. Hyderabad is really famed for its delicious Haleem and Patthar Kebab, and once you enter any restaurant to subside your hunger, these are a must-try dishes.
Amongst the places to go to , Hyderabad has many attractions to cure your wanderlust. One such place that’s to not be missed is that the Golconda Fort, it’s a 13th-century fort and its major highlights are the royal palaces and whispering walls. Other tourist attractions that are a must-visit are Makkah Masjid, Salarjung Museum, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hussain Sagar Lake, Birla Mandir to call a couple of . Also, if you’re seeking a cushty place to remain in Hyderabad, there are many hotels perfect for a family holiday also as for friends traveling together or solo travelers.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (34 km to Hyderabad).
Rail: Secunderabad Junction railroad station is that the closest station.
Road: Hyderabad is conveniently accessible via roadways. Gandhi bus terminal is its main station.
Telangana’s other treasured destination that speaks of serenity and history is Warangal. You get a way of lushness even amid the town and why? Well, Warangal may have forts and temples but it also has soothing attractions. one among the amazing and calming attractions that you simply can visit here in Warangal is Pakhal Lake. If you would like city escapes, a approach here will revitalize your senses, located amidst beautiful forests, it offers breathtaking views of a relaxed lake and far-off hills.
Also, another crowd puller in Warangal is that the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary that sprawls round the Pakhal Lake. Besides, the town has other tourist interest spots also like a 12th century-old Thousand Pillar Temple, which is endowed within the Kakatiya sort of architecture. However, the city’s top visited place is that the Warangal Fort. A 13th-century old ruin which is graced in moss and is surrounded by ancient history and marvelous sculptures.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (174 km to Warangal).
Rail: Kazipet Junction railroad station is that the closest station.
Road: There are direct roadways that connect Hyderabad to Warangal via NH 163.
Medak Fort maybe this city’s star attraction, decorated with various sculptures and Hindu and Islamic style of architecture , however, the Cathedral Church isn’t far behind within the race of becoming a well-liked place to ascertain . Its gothic look and gray shade may give an eerie feeling but its architectural spectacularity is just beyond comparison. Another worth visiting place to mark your footprint on is Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary that houses various flora and fauna. If you enjoy bird watching and are patient enough, you’ll see birds sort of a bar-headed goose, painted stork, brahminy duck, and also animals here like Nilgai, forest cat, Melursus ursinus including big cats sort of a leopard are often spotted.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (105 km to Medak).
Rail: Wadiaram railroad station (55 km) is near Medak city.
Road: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation services bus regularly via NH 161.
This newly formed district of Sangareddy may be a place located near the capital Hyderabad and it’s famous for a museum and not just any random attraction but a 1796 A.D built Jail Museum. cover 3 acres of land, the museum offers you an insight into the history and therefore the prison life. this is often an old district jail consisting of two wings to go to – male and feminine .
While the male section of the museum consists of nine large buildings, the feminine section has one. It stores ration rooms, gas room, lockers, kitchen, lunchroom and washing room (for the crockery and cutlery). During your visit to the present heritage attraction, you’ll find artifacts of the old jails and obtain knowledge associated with the history of jails and therefore the Nizam rule.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (70 km to Sangareddy).
Rail: Secunderabad Junction railroad station is that the closest railhead.
Road: Local or taxis are often hired from Hyderabad to urge to Sangareddy.
???????????????????????????????????? Famed for his or her beautiful stone-engraved temples and historical monuments, a visit to Nizamabad are often a spiritual affair for pilgrims. Take a peek into an ancient temple, Kanteshwar, where you’ll see the influence of the North Indian sort of architecture. As you traverse Nizamabad’s many sites, you’ll get cultural insights. Attractions like Nizamabad Fort display a mix of simplicity and elegance that lightly sits atop a hill, about 300 meters high from the plains.
A visit to the present destination truly lives up to its expectations. aside from the fort mentioned above, you’ll take an offbeat trip to Alisagar Reservoir. it’s a perfect spot to understand nature where the sounds of nature overpower the sounds of the town . Also, other places you’ve got to go to are two dams, namely, Nizam Sagar and Pochampad and places for nature lovers like Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary and Mallaram Forest.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (225 km to Nizamabad).
Rail: Nizamabad Junction railroad station is that the closest station.
Road:you’ll reach Nizamabad via NH 44, there are buses operated by Telangana State Road Transport Corporation on a daily basis.
Ramagundam is one among the well-liked places to go to for casual getaways especially from Karimnagar and Warangal. Its hush environs may cause you to want to dwell here for hours. Ramagundam maybe a touch offbeat destination but here, you’ll visit a couple of attractions. you’ll explore local landmarks just like the Rama temple located within the old port town. it’s the oldest temple in Ramagundam. Also, an interesting place to go to is that the Ramagundam Dam, which is one among the most important dams in South India.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (268 km to Ramagundam).
Rail: Ramagundam railroad station is that the main railhead for the town .
Road: TSRTC operated buses ply on a daily basis from all major places in Telangana.
Karimnagar features a hand filled with tourist attractions, which are so beautiful that it might be hard to go away this place. Endowed with an upscale history, take a moment to understand the ruins infused with nature by visiting a number of the alluring monuments like Elgandal Hill-Fort, Jagtial Fort, and Ramagiri Fort. aside from the famous forts, Karimnagar is additionally a well-liked pilgrimage destination and one must visit here is Manthani Temple located within the village named Manthani.
This widely visited city is taken into account to be fourth populated in Telangana and aside from temples and forts, it entertains visitors with its other interesting places. In terms of wildlife, Karimnagar isn’t far behind, Shivaram Wildlife Sanctuary is that the best place to go to for animal lovers. Its riverine forest makes it a perfect habitat for species like crocodiles, leopards, blackbucks and sloth bears.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (208 km to Karimnagar).
Rail: Karimnagar railroad station is that the main railhead for the town .
Road: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation regularly ply to and from via NH 563.
Perhaps a serious highlight of Khammam is its majestic fort located in Stambhadri hill. The fort is a few 1000 year old and it’s a serious tourist attraction that receives tons of praises for its architecture that features a blend of Hindu and Islamic style, and also for the view of the town you get from the fort.
While at Khammam, consider visiting other sites like Lakaram Lake which is one among the famous places to go to and also Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary, that houses various species and offers wildlife jeep safaris. For a pilgrimage tour, nearby places from Khammam like Kallur (50 km) and Nelakondapalli (20 km) provide beautiful Hindu temples. And to not miss out during your trip may be a visit to the recent springs in Gundala (125 km) and a wide ranging paradisiacal place called Perantalapalli.
How to Reach?
Air: Vijayawada International Airport is that the closest airport located in Andhra Pradesh (137 km).
Rail: Khammam railroad station is that the main railhead for the town .
Road: TSRTC buses ply to Khammam via NH 65 on a daily basis.
One of the main destinations in Telangana that gives religious and historical places in Mahbubnagar. Here, the local sites could also be limited to shopping around Tipu Sultan Chowk and exploring is confined to the Saint’s Tree – Pillalamarri. However, there are many places around it which will be visited like Alampur (127 km) where you’ll find the pilgrimage of Srisailam. Ideally, there are four altogether directions with Alampur within the west.
One refine paradise crammed with greenery of Nallamala Hills is Farahabad. it’s here you’ll get amused by its enthralling beauty and explore places by going for trekking. it’s an ideal place to go to on a family holiday as they also provide camping facilities. search for “The Tiger Wilds Jungle Camp” while visiting Mahbubnagar. Other places to go to are Pillalamarri (visit to ascertain 800 years old Banyan tree) and Mallela Theertham (see a gorgeous waterfall of an equivalent name).
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (200 km to Mahbubnagar).
Rail: Mahbubnagar railroad station is that the main railhead of the town .
Road: State buses run from national highway like Srinagar-Kanyakumari and NH 164 regularly.
After Hyderabad, this city named Adilabad is that the second largest in Telangana. And for those nature lovers, perhaps this place will provides a feeling of ‘heaven on earth.’ Come here and witness the waters gushing from the very best waterfall in Telangana- Kuntala Waterfall. This waterfall is 45 meters tall and it’s nestled within the ranges of Sahyadri Mountains. Speaking of which, Pochera Waterfall is additionally a must-visit. Despite being mere 20m tall , it levitates one’s heart with its beauty and calm surroundings.
Adilabad may be a ‘treat to the attention quite a destination,’ and is crammed with a melange of tourist sites like wildlife sanctuaries; three famed places to ascertain wildlife here are Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, Pranahita Wildlife Sanctuary, and Sivaram Wildlife Sanctuary. Basar Saraswati Temple, on banks of River Godavari, is additionally another hotspot for religious people Gandhi Park and Kala Ashram are two prominent places to spend some quiet time with nature.
How to Reach?
Air: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport is that the closest airport located in Nagpur (190 km).
Rail: Adilabad railroad station is that the main railhead for the town .
Road: There are many TSRTC operated buses that ply via NH 44 to Adilabad from all major cities.
Nalgonda is sort of popular for its old temples and forts and also for its scenic atmosphere. During your holiday in Nalgonda, you’ll traverse the various sightseeing places. And one such to not miss attraction is Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, which is that the largest, perhaps within the whole of southern India. Standing 124-meter high, this dam are often seen by taking a ferry ride.
Another riveting sight which may be a must-visit for nature lovers is Ethipothala Waterfalls. Forts like Devarakonda Fort, Bhongir Fort, and Rachakonda Fort are the apparent choices to go to , however, do consider a visit to Kolanupaka Jain Temple (83 km) which is 2000 years old.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (98 km to Nalgonda).
Rail: Nalgonda railroad station is that the main railhead to the town .
Road: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation regularly ply between states via NH 565.
The lustrous greens, calming lakes and divine temples are all that you simply can find while in Rangareddy and as a tourist, you’re to seek out bliss everywhere you switch your head. This beautiful destination of Telangana has some marvelous landmarks, as an example , Ananthagiri hill is where the one who loves dwelling amid nature can visit, explore, trek and appreciate its beauty.
Osman Sagar Lake, on the opposite hand, could probably lift your spirits high. A view of the calming waters where you’ll literally see birds reflection as they fly past the lake is one sight to catch. Rangareddy is additionally a pilgrimage destination, one temple that you simply must visit here is Keesaragutta. It houses around thousand Shiva Lingams and maybe this is often a mere reason that draws tons of Lord Shiva devotees.
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (102 km to Rangareddy).
Rail: Ranga Reddy Guda Station is that the main railhead for the town .
Road: you’ll find Telangana State Road Transport Corporation operated buses plying from various cities to Rangareddy.
A visit to Sircilla can offer you a special experience in Telangana because it’s a destination where 80% of its population is of weavers. While here, you’ll visit the Textile Park located in Baddenapally (08 km from Sircilla) that exhibits various models of looms. this is often done so, so as to preserve and conserve the history and convey awareness of Sircilla textile industry.
It is perhaps a well-liked place for handloom shopping also , where you’ll contribute by buying products. At Sircilla, other places of interest which will make your visit entertaining are Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy Temple, which is an ancient temple located in Vemulawada (12 km from Sircilla) and Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple located in Nampally Gutta (10 km from Sircilla).
How to Reach?
Air: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (187 km to Sircilla).
Rail: Secunderabad Junction railroad station (134 km to Sircilla)
Road:you’ll get local buses and taxis that ply to and from, from various Telangana cities.
This youngest Indian destination does have tons of potential in terms of tourism because it is rich in culture, architecture, and art. If you’re seeking a vacation in not so monotonous place, a visit to the present land simply may be a must. So, Get – Set – Go! by calling us at 9212553106 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got problems fixing your itinerary. We also provide affordable holiday tour packages which will make your vacation a notch better without burning a hole in your pocket.
Tripura is one among the ‘Seven Sister States’ of North Malay Archipelago . This small state features a rich culture and history. The place is additionally known for tourism and there are many tourist places to go to in Tripura. Several important tourist places also are located in Agartala, the capital of Tripura. the gorgeous green valleys, hilly landscapes, and temples invite you to explore this enchanting place. Tripura is one among the prominent attractions to be covered within the North Malay Archipelago tour. allow us to travel and explore this enthralling place!
Years back, Ujjayanta Palace was a royal palace. Situated at the core of Agartala, the whole hustle-bustle of the town is centered around this palace. Built-in 1901, it’s magnificent tiled floors, carved wooden ceilings, and wonderful doors. The name ‘Ujjayanta Palace’ was given by Rabindranath Tagore, a daily visitor of Tripura. The State has owns a lineage of an independent royal state. The palace includes the general public halls, Throned room, Durbar Hall, Library, The Chinese Room and therefore the Reception Hall.
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary
Home to a spread of wildlife especially birds and primates, this place isn’t just a wildlife sanctuary but also a tutorial and research facility . Various lakes are present within the sanctuary, where a boating facility is out there .
The picturesque spectacle of the Chittagong hills assaults the senses of every and each onlooker. The hills comprise of mini-mountains with multiple valleys and alittle canyon, with 7 rivers meandering across the valleys.
Tripura Sundari Temple
Tripura Sundari Temple may be a beautiful temple situated in Udaipur, around 55 km faraway from Agartala, Tripura. This opulent temple is 500 years old thereby making it the oldest temple present within the Udaipur district. Tripura Sundari Temple is one among the 51 Sakti Peethas and is that the place where the toe of the proper foot of Sati fell. due to its history and wonder , this majestic temple remains flooded by tourists during the year.
It is also said that Lord Vishnu had cut Sati into 51 pieces together with his Sudarshana Chakra and therefore the places where her parts fell came to understand because the Shaktipeethas. One fascinating fact about the fantastic temple is that it’s within the shape of a tortoise and also referred to as Kurma Peeth. This temple of Kali, built-in 1501, may be a place where a gentle stream of pilgrims makes almost endless animal sacrifices that leave the grounds as bloody because the temple’s vivid-red shikhara. Devotees throng here during the dazzling Diwali festival (October/November) to wash within the fish-filled tank by the temple.
Tripura Sundari Temple is believed to be one among the holiest Hindu shrines within the country. it’s also referred to as Matabari and is served by priests in red-robes who minister to the Tripura Sundari. This splendid temple is that the most engaging tourist destinations to which many pilgrims flock on a day to day .
The Lake Palace of Tripura’ or the Neermahal is that the largest palace of its kind within the entire Indian Subcontinent. This architectural beauty rightly derives its name from its location, i.e. the center of Rudrasagar Lake. it’s one among the 2 water palaces that our country has. the previous royal palace is an outcome of King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur’s great perspective. it had been the summer palace for the king and his family. Even today, its highly ornated structure showcases the fantastic past. the encompassing lawns and flower beds add seven stars to the sweetness of this place.
The evenings at Neermahal are spent watching the sunshine and sound show. It makes people conversant in the cultural heritage of the place and its owners. The historicity comes with a tint of adventure too. Yes, the palace premises also include some water sports activities. This makes it an ideal combination of antiquity and thrill. Moreover, the palace has even gained fame for its ‘Neermahal Water Festival.’ an enormous flock of individuals visits the mahal only to require part within the boat races organized by the board. This architectural marvel features a lot to offer to its visitors. Therefore, whenever in Agartala confirm to show your ways towards this gem of North-East.
Located within the Ujjayanta palace grounds, this saffron-colored temple is influenced by West Bengali culture.
Gondacherra Wildlife Sanctuary
This enchanting sanctuary has maintained an untainted habitat for the multiple species of flora and fauna found here. Mammals like tigers, bison, wild horses, aquatic life also as migratory birds are often seen here.
The Jagannath temple may be a famous religious site located in Agartala in Tripura. Built by the Maharaja of Tripura of the Manikya Dynasty within the 19th century, the temple is situated within the Ujjayanta Palace grounds and is devoted to the Hindu Gods- Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. the sweetness of this spectacular place lies within the incontrovertible fact that the temple is the maximum amount an area of architectural beauty and prestige because it is of spiritual importance. The temple is additionally a gorgeous place to click some amazing pictures, so be prepared to be stunned by the sheer great thing about this location.
This grand building so far continues to form Tripura proud due to its architectural magnanimity and is heavily influenced by the Islamic sort of edifices. the bottom of the Jagannath temple is an octagon in shape with brightly colored orange walls. Pyramidal conic structures adorn the pillars of the temple. it’s widely believed that the Neelmadhav idol that’s consecrated at Puri was donated from the Jagganath Bari Mandir of Tripura. The Nitya Puja, Bhoga offerings and distribution, along side the evening Aarti, are the most rituals that are followed here. The Aartis are especially a must-attend event to understand the sweetness and ease of the temple and to be lost within the devotion of the Almighty. The Ratha Yatra, the annual festival of the temple, is a crucial festival that’s celebrated with great zeal and fervor and is attended by many devotees annually . Summing it all up, the Jagganath Temple isn’t an area that you simply should miss visiting, to experience tranquillity and peace in its best and most pristine form.
Also referred to as the eternal hills of spring, the Jampui hills live up to their name, having pleasant climate all year round, providing ample opportunity for every visitor to require within the beauty that’s this place.
The lush green hills, with plantations of tea, orchids, and orange on the slopes provide an honest viewpoint to look at the valleys below.
Buddhist Temples in Tripura support the very fact that Buddhism is sort of prevalent within the state. Archaeological evidence has suggested that Buddhists have inhabited the region since past . Several Buddhist rulers ruled over the state and left permanent influences on the culture of the state.
In the 16th century AD, Buddhism was almost eliminated from this region due to the defeat of Buddhist rulers. Its revival in Tripura began in 17th century AD and since then has permanently existed within the state. Tripura is that the capital of 1 of the seven sister states of the North-East named Agartala which is usually referred in unison with Manipur and Mizoram probably due to the common culture, just like the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark). In the present scenario, Tripura houses an enormous Buddhist population that comprises communities like Chakma, Uchai, Barua, and Mog. Being a crucial aspect of the socio-cultural heritage of the state, Buddhist temples in Tripura finds a definite position within the society. They not only attract devotees but numerous tourists from distant regions.
Constructed by King Birendra Kishore Manikya in 1917, the Kunjaban Palace is that the official residence of the Governor of Tripura.
The intricate carvings and luxurious structures built here, along side the magnificent adjoining gardens make it a wonderful monument as an entire .
Known as the Mother of the Tribals of Tripura, this lush green valley, decorated with gardens and plantations has become a preferred tourist spot.
An enchanting medieval city, Bourges was the capital of the historic Province of Berry and a middle of trade the 15th and 16th centuries.
The old town is replete with luxurious mansions built for merchants, side-by-side with top-heavy half-timbered houses.
The cathedral is an absolute wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looking like no other church within the world.
Bourges is additionally the place to urge to understand Jacques Cœur, a merchant who traveled far and wide and worked his way into the court of King Charles VII . And if that isn’t enough you’ll escape into the pastoral Marais where thousands of little garden plots are navigated by a lattice of water channels.
Let’s explore the simplest things to try to to in Bourges:
1. Bourges Cathedral
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bourges Cathedral is extraordinary on many levels.
The first thing which may catch your eye is that the lack of a transept, as there’s no break between the nave and choir.
This departure from the norm is merely made possible by the rows of flying buttresses that run the length of the nave and choir.
On the within , there’s a singular double aisle that seamlessly becomes a double ambulatory.
At this eastern side of the church, nearly all of the glass you’ll see is original, remarkably surviving from the 1215 and conveying bible scenes like Christ’s parables, the eagerness , the Apocalypse, and Judgment Day .
2. Cathedral Tower and Crypt
These parts of the cathedral merit another listing because, while you’ve got to pay to ascertain them you won’t regret the tiny charge.
If you’re coming in summer it’s best to try to to this part early because the queues can belong.
Climbing the Tour de Buerre (Butter Tower) is not any mean feat as there are 400 steps, but there’s a panorama of Bourges to reward you at the highest .
The name comes from the means wont to fund this 16th-century tower, as people would pay to be ready to break their fast and eat butter during Lent.
In the crypt, you’ll be within the vestiges of the cathedral’s 11th-century predecessor and may find the tomb of the Duke Jean de Berry who was liable for Bourges’ boom years within the 1300s.
3. Old Town
In 1487 there was an excellent fire in Bourges that destroyed a 3rd of the town and stunted its development because it lost its annual fairs to Troyes and Lyon.
But it also gives us a really unified old town, with diamond-pattern timber houses, packed approximate on streets like Rue Bourbonnoux, and a number of stone-built Renaissance mansions.
All you would like are your own two feet and a way of wonder and you’ll find exciting landmarks just like the house where the famous merchant Jacques Cœur was born in 1395. There also are some fantastic merchants’ houses from earlier within the 1400s that survived the hearth and are either attractions on their own terms or host the city’s museums.
4. Palais Jacques-Cœur
In the middle of the 15th-century the rich merchant and treasurer to King Charles VII , Jacques Cœur commissioned this breathtaking Gothic residence.
The Palais Jacques-Cœur came sometime before the Loire Valley’s exuberant Renaissance châteaux, but its carvings lack none of their elegance and richness.
Like its first owner, who opened trade between France and therefore the Levant, the palace has many stories to tell: As you progress from the galleried courtyard to the spiral staircases, steam rooms, private apartments, servants’ areas, and treasure room, video presentations with fill you in about the architecture, decoration and therefore the people that lived here.
5. Jardin de l’Archevêché
Next to the cathedral, these gardens were laid within the 1730s for the Archbishop of Bourges, eventually becoming the park for the government building .
In a familiar French style, there are boxwood topiaries trimmed to sharp points, lime trees within the shape of globes also as formal lawns and flowerbeds hemmed by paths.
You’ll also always have a privileged view of the cathedral’s awesome flying buttresses as you’re taking your turn in these gardens.
There’s a restaurant within the park, kids can hit the playground and you’ll stop at the romantic Belle Époque bandstand for a better look.
6. Marais de Bourges
Just a couple of minutes from the Old Town is an enclave of reclaimed marshland encompassing 135 hectares.
In past this boggy countryside slowed Julius Caesar’s advance in his conquest of Gaul in 52BC. But from round the 8th century, the marshes were brought under human control, and are available the 17th-century they were drained and crisscrossed by an internet of water channels.
Now the Marais is an outside escape for walkers and cyclists, to not mention urban gardening because the Marais is split into almost 1,500 allotments that wont to keep the entire city stocked fruits and vegetables.
The channels abound with fish and waterfowl, and there isn’t a prettier place to get on warm June day when the gardens are in flower.
7. Musée du Berry
Hôtel Cujas is yet one more of Bourges’ fine old houses with a museum inside.
This Flamboyant Gothic mansion was conceived for a Florentine merchant in 1515 and is known as for Jacques Cujas, a 16th-century jurist who was a tenant for the previous couple of years of his life.
The Musée du Berry inside wont to be at the Palais Jacques-Cœur, but moved here in 1891. within the course of just about 200 years, it’s amassed a riveting assortment of mosaics, ceramics, and statues.
Some excavated within the city, just like the 220 Gallo-Roman Steles from Ancient Bourges, while there also are finds from Ancient Egypt, including a mummy from the 4th century BC.
8. Musée Estève
This museum for the 20th-century artist, Maurice Estève could hardly have a nobler home.
The building is that the Hôtel des Échevins (House of the Aldermen), a Gothic mansion with ornate stonework on its tower.
Over three floors connected by the tower’s spiral staircase, the museum has the most important single collection of art by Estève, whose career lasted eight decades and took him from surrealism to abstraction via a figurative period.
In the softly lit Galerie Lejuge, you’ll see his sensational collages, watercolors, and drawings, which are rotated every few months to stay them conserved.
9. Les Nuits Lumière
In the evening from June to September, the town’s most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance landmarks are lit with magnificent projections.
At the Cathedral, Jardin de l’Archevêché and Hôtel des Échevins Palais these ethereal images are combined with music, and a part of a walk that literally sheds new light on Bourges and its past.
The climax though is that the Palais Jacques-Cœur, where you’ll enter the courtyard to urge to understand more about this merchant, his voyage to the center East and time within the service of the King.
10. Hôtel Lallemant
In Bourges, you won’t tire of seeing the city’s old mansions because each is as beautiful because the last.
Hôtel Lallemant is one you’ll lose hours gazing at due to its external decorative sculptures, which are as sharp as ever and include quirky characters, pilasters, capitals, scrolls, columns and every one sorts more.
The home is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance and was built at the turn of the 16th century for a family of merchants that had originated in Germany.
Hôtel Lallemant is additionally built on the Gallo-Roman wall, which causes a divide between the upper and lower courtyards.
Call certain alittle museum on decorative arts, which features a few rooms of miniature toys and antique furniture.
11. Promenade des Remparts
In the 4th century Avaricum (Gallo-Roman Bourges) became the capital of the Aquitaine Premièr province, then controlled a huge tract of southwestern France.
At that point the town erected a replacement system of walls, gates, and towers to defend itself in what’s now Bourges’ upper town.
With some help from the tourist office, you’ll walk the elliptical course of those defenses.
The Gallo-Roman parts are still visible throughout Bourges’ streetscape within the lowest sections of medieval dwellings, walls, and towers.
12. Jardin des Prés-Michaux
Just north of the middle , on the Left Bank of the Yèvre just after it leaves the Marais may be a calming artistic movement garden landscaped within the 1920s.
Come here to wander by a tremendous array of plant sculptures: The are linden hedges, arches made up of trimmed yews and every one sorts of strange topiaries dotted here and there.
In between are geometric lawns edged flowerbeds next to long, straight promenades.
Art Deco-style Sculptures, fountains, stone reliefs and wisteria-draped pergolas make this a classy place to idle away an hour approximately .
13. Lac du Val d’Auron
A man-made body of water a mere two kilometers south of the old town, the Lac du Val d’Auron is awash with activity in summer.
There’s carp fishing, sailing, and canoeing on the lake, which has meadow and woodland on its southern shores and more of Bourges’ outskirts the further north you go.
It’s not all about watersports though, as there’s an equestrian center on the western shore while just east of the lake is that the 18-hole municipal golf links , with a nine-hole pitch & putt and a golf range .
14. Printemps de Bourges
Live music fans owe it to themselves to see out this festival that happens over five days in April.
Printemps de Bourges features a format that has been copied in many places, as for these few days 13 stages at different locations round the town host some 200 artists.
It’s every week of fun and youthful energy, when some 200,000 people, mostly students, and 20-somethings, pour into the town .
For the industry, the festival may be a major A&R event, and an opportunity to scout up-and-coming talent, especially at the perimeter Les Découvertes du Printemps de Bourges shows for unsigned acts.
15. Route Jacques Cœur
You’ve seen his birthplace and therefore the resplendent mansion that he built, but there’s even more heritage within the Bourges area concerning the city’s famous son.
Jacques Cœur was a reasonably interesting character and you’ll find other places relevant to him on a delegated route that was found out as way back as 1954. There are 16 sites on the itinerary, taking in towns within the region like Sancerre, also beloved for its wine, and Mehun Sur Yèvre, which has the awe-inspiring ruins of a castle where Charles VII died in 1461.
The Loire Valley invites visitors to step into the scene of a fairy tale, complete with stunning castles and enchanting countryside. Known as the “Garden of France,” the entire area of the Loire Valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because of its beauty, the Loire Valley was frequently visited by the French kings. The region has been strategically important since the Middle Ages and the Hundred Years’ War, but the Loire really came to life during the Renaissance.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, the French Kings dreamed up a vision of luxury and opulence and built extravagant country retreats amid the Loire’s woodlands and rivers. These lavish royal castles became legendary, and rich nobles followed suit by creating their own grand homes in the area. The sumptuous Renaissance châteaux were designed purely for enjoyment and entertaining, an extension of court life outside Paris. The grandiose Chambord is the most magnificent château, while Chenonceau is the most elegant. Find the best things to see and do in the region with our list of the top tourist attractions in the Loire Valley.
1 Château de Chambord
In a majestic location on the left bank of the Loire River, the Château of Chambord is the most emblematic Renaissance monument in France. A breathtaking sight to behold, this enormous castle provided inspiration for the building of the Château de Versailles. The estate was created in the early 16th century (at the height of the French Renaissance) for King Francis I, who spared no expense. The building was constructed on a scale of immense proportions, measuring 117 meters by 156 meters. With turrreted towers, impressive vaulted ceilings, 440 rooms, and a gigantic double-helix staircase at the entry hall, the Château de Chambord is definitely fit for royalty. Louis XIV (the “Sun King”) frequently resided here, hosting extravagant gala balls, hunting parties, and amusing soirées. The celebrated playwright Molière presented his comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme while he was staying at the château as a guest of Louis XIV.
The extensive property of Chambord is encircled by a 32-kilometer wall (the longest in France), with six gates that allow access to the grounds. Of the property’s 5,500 hectares of parkland, four-fifths is pristine forests. Visitors are dazzled by the French Formal Gardens that are landscaped in geometric patterns with perfectly manicured shrubs and tidy flowerbeds. The garden’s Italianate terrace was a central feature of court life when the king was in residence. Today Chambord is a must-see destination in the Loire Valley, about a two-hour drive from Paris. Tourists can take an 80-minute train ride from Paris Austerlitz station to the Blois Chambord station, which is a 25-minute shuttle or taxi ride away from the château.
2 Château de Chenonceau
An elegant château with a distinctive feminine touch, Chenonceau was strongly influenced by the famous women who have lived here. Thomas Bohier acquired the Château de Chenonceau in 1512, and his wife, Catherine Briçonnet renovated the medieval castle by rebuilding it in Renaissance style with a spacious central entrance hall and Italianate staircase. After being acquired by the Crown Estate in 1535, the château became the property of King Henry II, who presented the château to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, in 1547. Henry’s widow Catherine de Médicis, who took over the royal residence in 1533, was responsible for creating the most unique feature of the château, the Corps de Logis. This two-story gallery stands upon a graceful arched bridge that crosses the Cher River, giving the impression that the château is floating on water. To further impress visitors, the Corps de Logis gallery displays fine paintings and antique tapestries. With an air of both delicacy and grandeur, the château’s stately halls once provided the ideal setting for refined social gatherings.
Equalling the beauty of the interior, the château’s Renaissance French Gardens is landscaped with decorative pools and flower beds. The garden’s spacious “floating parterre” (raised terraces covered with lawn) was the creative vision of Diane de Poitiers. In the Garden of Catherine de Médicis, roses flourish on trellises of a walking path, which overlooks the castle moat, a sublime scene sure to inspire leisurely strolls. On summer weekend evenings, the gardens take on a magical glow, illuminated by hundreds of lanterns for Nocturnal Promenades (Night Walks).
Another reason to linger at the château is the property’s fine-dining restaurant, L’Orangerie, which serves gourmet cuisine in an exquisite dining room. The château also has a tea room with an outdoor patio in the Green Garden, a casual self-service restaurant, and a crêperie, as well as shaded picnic areas. Château de Chenonceau is accessible by the rapid-speed TGV train (a one-hour ride) from the Paris Montparnasse station to the Tours station. By car, it takes about two hours to reach Chenonceau from Paris.
3 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
The charming old town of Chartres is crowned by the UNESCO-listed Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, an important pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. This awe-inspiring French Gothic church stands in an elevated position, with its soaring spires visible from a distance. Built-in the 12th and 13th centuries, Chartres Cathedral is one of the finest and best-preserved medieval churches in France as well as an important landmark of Christian art and architecture. The influence of Chartres Cathedral is seen in many other Gothic cathedrals in Europe, including Amiens and Reims in France, Westminster Abbey in England, Cologne Cathedral in Germany, and the Catedral de León in Spain. The stained-glass windows of Chartres also inspired similar workmanship at the cathedrals in Bourges, Le Mans, Poitiers, Rouen, and Tours in France, and Canterbury in England.
Chartres Cathedral features a highly ornamental facade centered around the Royal Portail (doorway) adorned with monumental Old Testament figures, an early form of Gothic sculpture. The cathedral is most renowned for its abundance of intricately detailed medieval stained-glass windows (nearly 3,000 square meters) that are perfectly conserved; most of the windows date from 1210 to 1260, an exceptional rarity in existence. Particularly breathtaking are the three immense rose windows. Other notable features in the cathedral are the Late Gothic choir screens with scenes from the life of the Virgin and the Gospels, and the terrace with a panoramic view of the lower town. During summertime (on Sunday afternoons in July and August), the cathedral presents sacred music performances (free of charge) as part of the International Organ Festival. Chartres is an easy day trip from Paris, approximately a 90-minute car ride from the city center or train ride from Saint-Lazare station.
Boasting many old palaces and burghers’ houses, the old ducal city of Bourges enjoys a picturesque setting on the Yèvre and Aveyron Rivers in the historic province of Berry. The town’s top attraction, the UNESCO-listed Cathédrale Saint-Etienne ranks among the most splendid of French cathedrals built in the 12th-13th centuries. The ornate west front, flanked by massive towers, has five doorways with rich sculptural decoration and an exquisite 14th-century rose window. The cathedral is entered through the Romanesque south doorway, over which is a figure of Christ in Majesty, surrounded by the symbols of the four Evangelists. The interior stuns visitors with its gorgeous sanctuary illuminated by 13th-century stained-glass windows. In a chapel near the choir are interesting 15th-century kneeling figures of the Duc Jean de Berry and his wife. Tourists can also climb to the top of the north tower to take in spectacular views. Another noteworthy building is the Palais Jacques Côur, a palace built in 1443-1453 by the royal treasurer Jacques Côur, exemplifying secular Gothic architecture. About a 30 minutes’ drive southwest of Bourges is the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey of Noirlac, a fantastic example of Cistercian architecture with an arcaded cloister dating from the 13th and 14th centuries.
5 Château de Cheverny
A private estate in a tranquil countryside setting near a vast forest, the Château of Cheverny dazzles visitors with its enchanting gardens and magnificent interior. Cheverny Castle claims to be the most fully furnished and decorated of the Loire châteaux. Built-in the early 1600s in harmonious Classical style, this exceptional manor house has been home to the same family for more than six centuries and opened its doors to the public in 1922. The grand halls and remarkably well-maintained apartments of the château are graced with the original furniture and decor, such as a 17th-century Gobelin tapestry and a Louis XIV chest, which provide an insight into noble life centuries ago. The entryway features an elaborately designed stairway, while the main rooms are embellished with Louis XIII boiseries (intricately carved paneling). For those more interested in French popular culture, the château has an exposition of Tintin comic strips.
One of the highlights of the Château of Cheverny is the English-style park, a bucolic expanse of tidily manicured green lawns shaded by giant redwoods and cedar trees. The more adventurous can rent an electric car to take a spin through the property’s forest path. Another enjoyable way to take in the scenery is by gliding around the lake on an electric boat. When visitors are in need of refreshments, the Café de l’Orangerie delights with its fancy pastries, homemade ice cream, snacks, and beverages, served in the 18th-century orangery building or outside on the terrace. On sunny days, the château’s open-air picnic area is another favorite spot. The Château of Cheverny is an easy (approximately two-hour) car ride or train ride from Paris. The best option by train is from the Paris Austerlitz station to the Blois-Chambord station and then a short (16-kilometer) taxi ride to the château.
Azay-le-Rideau is renowned for its magnificent Renaissance château, a dreamy fairy-tale-like building that is surrounded by a moat and lovely gardens. The Château d’Azay-le-Rideau was built in the 16th century by a wealthy financier. The design of this stately château was greatly influenced by Italian architecture. The most notable features on the ground floor are the rib-vaulted kitchen and the dining room with a richly decorated chimney and numerous tapestries. Sumptuous Renaissance furniture and paintings decorate the reception rooms. In the town of Azay-le-Rideau, there is an interesting church, the Eglise Saint-Symphorien, that blends Romanesque and Gothic styles. The facade of the south aisle reveals remains of Carolingian reliefs. In the nearby Château of Saché, the famous author Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) wrote some of his novels. The room where Balzac worked has been preserved as it was.
Only ten kilometers away from Azay-le-Rideau is another spectacular château: Château de Langeais, one of the fastest-built châteaux in the Loire Valley. The château was constructed by King Louis XI in only four years from 1465 to 1469. This striking landmark has remained unchanged for centuries; the medieval rooms with their original decorations and wall-hangings are particularly worth seeing. King Charles VIII was married here to Anne de Bretagne in 1491.
Travelers visiting this area can spend the night in regal style at the nearby Château de Rochecotte, about 20 kilometers away from the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau. This 4-star hotel was formerly the residence of the Prince de Talleyrand and the Duchesse de Dino. Ensuring a luxurious experience, the spacious, bright guest rooms feature plush decor and sensational views of the gardens, while the château’s upscale dining room serves a delicious lunch menu and afternoon tea, with desserts prepared by the restaurant’s pastry chef. The property’s 20 hectares of wooded parkland includes formal gardens, an Italianate terrace, and a heated swimming pool.
7 Château de Valençay
The Château de Valençay was built in stages from the medieval era through the Renaissance period, and for this reason, the building blends a variety of architectural styles. The main wing reveals design elements inspired by the Italian Renaissance, while the two-story side wing is Baroque. The side wing also shows the influence of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (Prince Talleyrand), Napoleon’s foreign minister, who acquired the château in 1803 and resided here in rooms outfitted with Empire furniture. One of the highlights of the château is the Family Portraits Gallery, adorned with paintings that depict Talleyrand’s ancestors. As a tribute to Prince Talleyrand, the château’s Salle des Trésors (Hall of Treasures) displays a collection of personal items that belonged to the savvy Lord of Valençay, who was known for his business acumen, diplomatic talents, and art of living.
Similar to many royal estates, the Château de Valençay encompasses vast grounds. Set in a 53-hectare park including lush forests, the property features immaculately manicured Formal Gardens with a profusion of flowerbeds, sculptures, decorative pools, and fountains. Ideal for relaxing, some of the grassy spaces of the gardens are designated as picnic areas. The woodland portion of the grounds features a four-kilometer path that traverses the forest for taking invigorating nature walks (alternatively electric golf carts are available).
Another exceptional estate nearby is the Domaine de Poulaines in the town of Berry (only seven kilometers away from the Château de Valençay). Nestled in a 20-hectare woodland, the Domaine de Poulaines offers 4.5 hectares of marvelous themed gardens, awarded the “Jardin Remarquable” (“Remarkable Garden”) label in 2014. A refreshing outdoor space with shady 100-year-old trees; an English landscape garden planted with roses, dahlias, and peonies; an aromatic herb garden; koi pond; and an Arboretum with 400 different varieties of trees make this property a special place.
The largest town in the Loire Valley after Tours, Orléans is a good base to begin exploring the region. Inseparably bound with the history of Joan of Arc, the city owes its survival to the 17-year-old “Maid of Orléans,” who helped lead the French to victory against the English when Orléans was besieged in 1429. A small museum in a restored 15th-century house, the Maison de Jeanne-d’Arc is devoted to Joan of Arc, who is now recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
Another landmark associated with Joan of Arc, where she spent time in silent prayer, is the 13th-century Cathédrale Sainte-Croix. The cathedral’s monumental exterior features twin towers (81 meters high), five doorways, and elaborate Baroque decoration. The sheer size of the interior leaves a lasting impression, while colorful stained-glass windows allow visitors to marvel at the history of Joan of Arc. For a further immersion into the city’s culture, tourists can peruse the art collection at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which displays around 700 artworks (paintings, sculptures and decorative objects) from the 15th to the 20th century, such as pieces by Correggio, Tintoretto, Delacroix, Gauguin, and Picasso.
About 27 kilometers away from Orléans is the Château de Meung-Sur-Loire, one of the oldest castles in the Loire Valley. Set in expansive parklands, the château reveals the evolution of French architecture with its variety of architectural details, from 12th-century towers to the 18th-century facade. The castle also played a strategic role for Joan of Arc in 1429 at a crucial moment during the Hundred Years’ War.
The medieval town of Amboise was built up along the left bank of the Loire River (about 25 kilometers east of Tours) with dense forest in the background. The city’s most fascinating attraction is the Château Royal d’Amboise, where French kings resided for five centuries. Standing proudly on a rocky cliff at nearly 40 meters high, the château offers a fantastic vantage point of the Loire Valley landscape. Mostly built during the reign of Charles VIII in the 15th century, the castle exemplifies late Gothic architecture with its richly articulated facade and imposing round towers. For more royal history, tourists can visit the Chapelle Saint-Hubert, built around 1491 for King Charles VIII and his wife Anne de Bretagne who was the Duchess of Brittany. The chapel is a fine example of Gothic architecture, with intricate sculptures and gargoyles on the facade and a jewel-box interior illuminated by brilliant stained-glass windows.
Another top attraction in Amboise is the Château du Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life. At this splendid property, visitors can learn all about the great Renaissance man. Throughout the year, the Château du Clos Lucé presents permanent exhibitions about Leonardo da Vinci’s life story and accomplishments. From April through December, temporary “Cultural Season” exhibitions focus on Leonardo da Vinci’s projects and original ideas (such as his studies of birds and his vision for creating a flying vehicle). Visitors should leave time to wander around Leonardo’s Garden, which abounds with burgeoning plant species that inspired Leonardo da Vinci’s interest in botany.
Perched on two hills above the Loire River, the historic city of Blois is full of old-world ambiance. The typical characteristics of a medieval town are all found here: narrow medieval streets, half-timbered buildings, a monumental château, and a soaring cathedral. Boasting a regal pedigree, Blois was a royal residence for seven French kings. During King Louis XII and King Francis I reigns, the town played a similar role to that of the Château de Versailles for Louis XIV. Originally a fortified citadel, the Château Royal de Blois reflects changing architectural styles of the eras it was built (13th through 17th centuries). For instance, the Francis I wing is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture with a grandiose octagonal staircase. A short walk from the château is a former Benedictine church, the 12th- to 13th-century Eglise Saint-Nicolas, renowned for its stained-glass windows that brighten the harmonious sanctuary.
Standing on high ground in the old town, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis surprises visitors with its simple, unadorned vaulted interior and contemporary stained-glass windows. After taking a look at the cathedral, tourists should take time to admire the handsome old burghers’ houses nearby. History buffs will also appreciate the town’s Musée de la Résistance (at Place de la Grève), which chronicles the French resistance efforts, the Occupation period, and the Liberation at the end of the Second World War.
11 Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire
About 18 kilometers away from Blois, the Château de Chaumont appears as if it’s straight from the page of a fairy tale. This multi-towered and turreted fortress-like château was founded in the year 1000, rebuilt by King Louis XI around 1465 and acquired by Catherine de Médicis in 1550. The château’s apartments, including the Catherine de Médicis room, are beautifully appointed with historic tapestries and works of art. Many of the rooms have been recently embellished with renovated furnishings and decor, allowing visitors to appreciate the château in all its original glory. Both the château and its English-style gardens are open to the public. Adding to its tourist appeal, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire presents contemporary “Art Season” exhibits, changing annually to showcase the work of emerging artists, with artworks, sculptures, and creative installations displayed throughout the château and gardens. The château also hosts the “Festival International des Jardins,” a garden design festival that draws inspiration from concepts in literature and poetry.
This historic city is a pleasure to discover by taking a leisurely stroll. A walk through the cobblestone streets between Place Plumereau and the Place du Grand-Marché will give an impression of the character of Vieux Tours (the old town). With its tree-lined courtyard space, bustling outdoor cafés, and handsome half-timbered houses, the Place Plumereau is a particularly inviting place to stop. Tourists should plan to spend some time at the Cathédrale Saint-Gatien to admire the Flamboyant Gothic facade, as well as the glorious vaulted sanctuary, illuminated by the 13th-century stained-glass windows. To the south of the cathedral is the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, which showcases masterpieces of fine art from the 14th to the 20th century, including paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Degas, and Monet. To the north of the cathedral, the medieval Château de Tours presents photography exhibitions created in partnership with the Musée Parisien de la Photographie. For another dose of culture, tourists can continue walking (about 15 minutes west of the Château de Tours) to the Hôtel Goüin, a Renaissance mansion that now welcomes visitors for art and photography expositions, as well as music performances.
Once the capital of Anjou county, Angers is dominated by the Château d’Angers, perched majestically on a 32-meter-high crag above the Maine River. Built-in the 13th century as a fortress, this vast citadel is enclosed by stout defensive walls, with 17 round towers. In the 14th and 15th centuries, court life flourished here under the Dukes of Anjou, patrons of the arts. The château is known for its tapestry collection, most notably the Tapestry of the Apocalypse, an important work of medieval art. One of the fun things to do while visiting the castle is to take a walk along the ramparts, which afford panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
In the old town of Anger, the Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d’Angers surprises visitors with its unusual architectural details. The spacious interior features three large domes (constructed in the 12th century) known as “Angevin Gothic” or “Plantagenêt” vaulting. Another dazzling impression comes from the cathedral’s medieval stained-glass windows, in particular the “Glorification de la Vierge” window. A short walk south of the cathedral, the Musée des Beaux-Arts has a superb collection of fine art housed in a stately 15th-century hôtel particulier. Also not to be missed is the Collégiale Saint-Martin, a Romanesque church with elements dating to the Merovingian (5th and 6th centuries) and Carolingian (10th-century) eras, as well as the Gothic period. Other cultural attractions include the Galerie David d’Angers, which displays the sculptures of Pierre-Jean David in a renovated 13th-century abbey church; the Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, which showcases contemporary tapestries; and the Musée Pincé, devoted to Greek, Egyptian, Roman (and other) antiquities.
Topping the vacation to-do list for families with kids is to spend a day at Terra Botanica, an amusement park with a botanical-themed twist. (The park is a 10-minute drive outside the historic part of Anger on the Route d’Epinard.) Within the extraordinary gardens of Terra Botanica, around 275,000 diverse plant species thrive roses, dahlias, orchids, water lilies, rare vegetables, herbs, spices, tropical palms, cactuses, and thousand-year-old trees. Grown-ups will adore the beautiful Rose Garden and the traditionally landscaped Grandma’s Path, while kids will love the play area, boat rides, Butterfly Greenhouse, and the hanging gardens on Elves’ Island14 Chinon and Château d’Ussé
14 Chinon and Château d’Ussé
With its ruined castle looming from above on a steep ridge of a hill, the town of Chinon has a romantic ambiance. The old town lies between the fortress and the Vienne River. The Forteresse Royale de Chinon dates back to the 10th century and is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Joan of Arc had an important meeting with the Dauphin Charles here in 1429. The Rue Voltaire, with its 15th- and 16th-century houses, and the 12th-century Church of Saint-Maurice is particularly worth seeing. The most important event in the history of Chinon was the meeting between Charles VII and Joan of Arc on March 9, 1429, which marked the beginning of the reconquest of French territory from the English.
A vision of a fairy-tale fantasy is found 12 kilometers from Chinon at the Château d’Ussé, the castle that provided inspiration to Charles Perrault, who wrote the “Sleeping Beauty” story in the 17th-century. Built-in stages between the 15th and 17th centuries, the Château d’Ussé shows a mingling of Late Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The rooms feature Florentine and Louis XV furniture, 16th- and 17th-century tapestries, and marble marquetry. Visitors are also impressed by the castle’s unique spiral staircase and the grand staircase designed by Mansart, the architect of the Château de Versailles. The grounds rank among the Loire Valley’s prettiest gardens, created by Le Nôtre (known as the “King’s Gardener”), who landscaped Versailles. Tucked away in a peaceful spot of the property is the Collégiale Notre Dame d’Ussé, dedicated to Sainte-Anne d’Ussé. This 16th-century chapel exemplifies pure Renaissance style. The Château d’Ussé is owned by the Duke of Blacas and has been a private home in the family for more than two centuries.
15 Le Mans
Although most famous for its car race, Le Mans is worth discovering for its cultural heritage. Surrounded by remnants of ancient Gallo-Roman walls and brimming with old-world charm, the historic section of Le Mans known as the “Cité Plantagenêt” (named after Geoffrey Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou, and Maine counties), is a delightful escape from the modern world. This historic gem of an old town covers 20 hectares, filled with cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and Renaissance mansions. The main thoroughfare of the Cité Plantagenêt is the Grande Rue. Tourists should stop to notice the Renaissance mansion, Maison d’Adam et d’Eve (69 Grand Rue at the crossing of Rue du Bouquet), before ambling along the Rue de la Reine Bérengère until reaching the Cathédrale Saint-Julien. First-time visitors are struck by the cathedral’s incredible facade, especially the abundance of flying buttresses and the fabulously detailed sculpting. The sanctuary is among the finest in France, with medieval stained-glass windows rivaling Chartres Cathedral, especially the Ascension window, and ceiling paintings in the Chapelle de la Vierge, which depict 47 angelic musicians. Another top tourist attraction near the cathedral is the Musée de la Reine-Bérengère, dedicated to regional history and culture. Also within the Cité Plantagenêt are two pleasant green spaces, the Bicentenary Square on the Rue de la Verrerie, which has a rose garden and benches for relaxing, and the Robert Trigger Square, with a view of the cathedral and a small garden of aromatic plants.
Just outside the Cité Plantagenêt is the Musée de Tessé, a fine arts museum that displays paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects from the 12th to 20th centuries, as well as Egyptian antiquities. Also beyond the Cité Plantagenêt is the Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Couture, a former Benedictine abbey church with a Virgin and Child statue sculpted by renowned Renaissance artist Germain Pilon. On the right bank of the Sarthe River, the Eglise Notre-Dame-du-Pré offers the chance to experience a serene Romanesque sanctuary. Of course, car-racing enthusiasts will want to visit the Sarthe Automobile Museum (near the Circuit des 24 Heures race track) to learn about the race and see the actual winning vehicles.
Halfway between Anger and Tours, the medieval town of Saumur is at the heart of the historic Anjou region where the pastoral landscape is dotted with woodlands, vine-covered hills, flower fields, and small farms. Saumur has one of the most impressive of the Loire Valley châteaux, built in the 14th century on a hill high above the Loire River, creating a striking impression from far in the distance. Originally, the Château de Saumur was the property of the Count of Anjou, then the Plantagenêt dynasty and later was converted into a royal residence by King Saint Louis IX in the early 13th century. In the 15th century, the castle became the royal domain of King René, who called his resplendent palace the “castle of love.” Designed around an open courtyard, the château is entered through a large and imposing doorway. Inside, the Château de Saumur contains the Musée de Saumur, which has a collection of decorative works of art, furniture, tapestry, and ceramics from the 14th to 18th centuries along with an assortment of equestrian objects. In addition, the museum presents temporary expositions throughout the year, while the château hosts (French-language) cultural events during summertime, such as open-air film screenings. Tourists can visit the castle’s gardens and the outdoor terrace overlooking the Loire Valley landscape.
Those interested in French gastronomy can discover an important culinary ingredient that’s cultivated in the area around Saumur: “Champignons de Paris” (known as “button mushrooms”). In fact, the region’s mushroom farms (champignonnières) supply three-quarters of all the Champignons de Paris mushrooms produced in France. Derived from a variety of wild mushrooms, the Champignons de Paris is now grown in mass quantities in the region’s underground cellars. The prized culinary ingredient is destined for use in Coq au Vin (chicken in wine sauce), Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy), traditional quiches, and other recipes. The Musée du Champignon gives visitors a peek into the intriguing world of mushrooms. Within the museum’s chilly caves, several different varieties of cultivated mushrooms are on display, including Champignons de Paris, oyster mushrooms, and reishi Mushrooms. Self-guided tours (with information available in French and English) or guided group tours in French or English provide an in-depth educational experience. Adding to the fun, the museum allows visitors the chance to sample various appetizers prepared with mushrooms.
17 Château de Montreuil-Bellay
Originally designed as a citadel, the Château de Montreuil-Bellay has a fascinating history. The château earned its reputation as impregnable because it withstood a siege by the Count of Anjou in the 12th century. In the 13th century, the château was used as a hunting lodge and hosted elaborate feasts. During the Hundred Years’ War, peasants took refuge in the castle moat and neighboring monasteries. Later, when the Wars of Religion broke out, both the Catholics and Protestants turned to this location to refuel weapons and ammunition. By the late 15th century, the château served as a country manor estate instead of a fortress. As the castle’s purpose changed throughout the centuries, the architecture evolved. The original austere fortress, with its 650 meters of ramparts and 13 defense towers, was transformed into a luxurious palace.
Open to the public for guided tours, the Château de Montreuil-Bellay gives tourists access to view two levels of the building: the cellars and the fully furnished rooms of the ground floor, including the Duchess of Longueville’s bedroom; a well-preserved medieval kitchen; a beautifully decorated drawing-room; a dining room with traditional beamed ceiling; and a small music room. The castle grounds include verdant gardens, filled with shady lime trees and fragrant roses. Also on the property is the 15th-century Collégiale Notre-Dame church, decorated with the coats of arms of the château’s Lords.
18 Château de Villandry
Built-in the 16th century for Jean Le Breton, Minister of Finance to King François I, the Château de Villandry is renowned for its gorgeous Renaissance gardens. The French-style landscaping was first laid out in the 16th century. From the upper floor of the château, a flight of steps leads down to the gardens, which cover an expansive area of five hectares. To the left is the Ornamental Garden, with four “salons” of meticulously arranged greenery. The first salon, called the “Garden of Love,” is designed in the style of gardens found in Andalusia (with four geometric beds); each bed of flowers represents a different type of love. Beyond the Ornamental Gardens is the Kitchen Garden, planted with vegetables laid out in decorative geometric forms. Reminiscent of medieval monastery gardens, the Herb Garden boasts 30 varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs, planted in circular beds to symbolize eternity. Other highlights include a maze of “charmilles” (hornbeam hedges), the Water Garden, featuring an ornamental pond, and the view of the village of Villandry and its Romanesque church in the distance.
The château’s eagerly awaited “Nights of a Thousand Lights” takes place on several evenings in July and August, when the gardens are illuminated with 2,000 candles. At this special event, visitors can take a romantic stroll through the gardens in their magical state, while enjoying entertainment and fireworks.
Listed as one of the “Plus Beaux Détours de France” (Most Beautiful Detours of France), the historic town of Loches offers old-world charm, alluring gardens, and picture-perfect scenery alongside the Indre River, a left-bank tributary of the Loire. On the hill above the modern section of Loches is the Cité Médiévale, the medieval city, fortified by a circuit of ramparts stretching two kilometers long. Tourists enter the Cité Médiévale through the 14th- to 15th-century Porte Royale, a gate once approached by a drawbridge. Within this walled city is a captivating medieval world of winding cobblestone streets, quiet pedestrian lanes, and ancient Tuffeau stone buildings. Built on a rocky spur (inside the Cité Médiévale) is the Collégiale Saint-Ours, a Romanesque church originally founded in 962 but mostly dating to the 12th century, and the Château de Loches, dating from the 15th to 16th centuries. Once the residence of King Charles VII, the château is where Joan of Arc met with Charles VII and encouraged him to travel to Reims for his coronation. The Salle Jeanne d’Arc contains a small collection of weapons and an assortment of antique tapestries.
A worthwhile detour from Loches is 18 kilometers away to Montrésor, a quaint little town on the banks of the Indre River listed as one of France’s “Most Beautiful Villages” (“Plus Beaux Villages“). Presiding over the town and the surrounding bucolic landscape is a medieval château built in the 11th century by Foulques Nerra, the Count of Anjou. The town also has a noteworthy 16th-century church, the Collégiale Saint Jean-Baptiste, which is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. A visit to Montrésor could easily be combined on a driving itinerary that includes the Château de Chenonceau (30 kilometers north).
20 Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud
The largest monastery in Europe, the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud is nestled in a verdant valley near the Loire River and encompasses 13 hectares of parkland. The Benedictine abbey was founded in 1099 by an eclectic and iconoclastic preacher named Robert d’Arbrissel, considered a radical because he created a community for people of diverse social backgrounds. Another unusual fact is that the abbey was always run by an abbess, who governed both male monks and female nuns. A succession of 36 abbesses ran the abbey over the course of seven centuries. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Henry II of England, had strong ties to the abbey, which was her favorite place of worship. During the last years of her life, Queen Eleanor lived at the abbey, and she commissioned the effigies of herself, as well as her husband, that is in the abbey church.
furniture Fontevraud Abbey is now open to the public; visitors can tour the main priory; the Romanesque abbey church (built between 1105 and 1165); an interesting Byzantine kitchen, complete with the original fish smokehouse used to make smoked salmon; and a lush garden planted with vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees. Another highlight of visiting the abbey is its gourmet restaurant. For those who would like to spend the night at a spiritually inspiring retreat, the four-star hotel on the property pampers guests with luxurious, contemporary-style rooms in the former Saint-Lazare priory. Ron the heart of the Loire Valley, just 10 kilometers from Blois and 20 kilometers from Chambord, the Château de Beauregard is the old hunting lodge of King Francis I, who reigned during the first half of the 16th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle served as a residence for the French king’s ministers. This stately building reflects the grandeur of its rich heritage. Three centuries of France’s history are represented in the château’s portrait gallery, with 327 portraits of kings and important political figures. An expansive parkland surrounds the castle, including gardens planted with ancient cedars, cherry blossom trees, and flowering plants. Depending on the season, vibrant azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, and a hundred variety of fragrant heirloom roses enliven the grounds. Those who spend more time wandering will come across the ruins of a 14th-century chapel, a landmark on the medieval pilgrimage trail to Santiago de la Compostela. Also on the property are vacation cottages that are available to rent for overnight accommodations. you Abbey of Fontevraud could be a good addition to a tour itinerary with Saumur (14 kilometers away) and Chinon (16 kilometers away).
21 Château de Beauregard
n the heart of the Loire Valley, just 10 kilometers from Blois and 20 kilometers from Chambord, the Château de Beauregard is the old hunting lodge of King Francis I, who reigned during the first half of the 16th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle served as a residence for the French king’s ministers. This stately building reflects the grandeur of its rich heritage. Three centuries of France’s history are represented in the château’s portrait gallery, with 327 portraits of kings and important political figures. An expansive parkland surrounds the castle, including gardens planted with ancient cedars, cherry blossom trees, and flowering plants. Depending on the season, vibrant azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, and a hundred variety of fragrant heirloom roses enliven the grounds. Those who spend more time wandering will come across the ruins of a 14th-century chapel, a landmark on the medieval pilgrimage trail to Santiago de la Compostela. Also on the property are vacation cottages that are available to rent for overnight accommodations.
On the banks of the Loire River, this elegant historic town was an important medieval pilgrimage destination. The Abbaye de la Trinité was first built here in the 11th century. In the 13th century, the Romanesque abbey was rebuilt in grand Gothic style with an opulent facade, an impressive vaulted nave, and Flamboyant Gothic windows. The abbey gained a reputation as a stopover, close to Saint Martin’s tomb in Tours, along the pilgrims’ road to Santiago de Compostela. At the center of Vendôme is the Place Saint-Martin, and nearby is the Tour Saint-Martin, all that remains of a Renaissance church. Other noteworthy churches in Vendôme include the Chapelle Saint-Jacques, a Gothic chapel now used for cultural expositions, and the 15th-century Eglise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, with lovely stained-glass windows.
One of France’s Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages), Lavardin is 18 kilometers away from Vendôme amid the rolling hills and cliffs of the Loire Valley. To arrive at the village, visitors must traverse a Gothic bridge that spans the Loire River. The ruins of an old château give this picturesque village a romantic charm. The fortified castle withstood an attack by Richard the Lionheart but was overtaken by King Henry IV’s troops. The village features a mix of architectural styles and periods, from Gothic to Renaissance, and even some cave dwellings.
Châteaudun is perched high on a rocky outcrop, the perfect defensive location during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, the Count of Blois chose this lofty, difficult-to-access spot to build a fortress featuring a massive 31-meter tower, and that feudal castle is considered the first château of the Loire Valley. In the mid-15th century, the Château de Châteaudun became the property of comrade-in-arms and close friend of Joan of Arc Jean de Dunois, who tore down the old wing of the castle to construct the Sainte-Chapelle (a Holy Chapel designed to hold a relic, the Cross of Christ). After the Hundred Years’ War, the château was enhanced in Renaissance style to suit a more leisurely and luxurious way of life. The room decor became more refined, and large kitchens were added to prepare princely meals. On the castle’s attractive grounds, the unique hanging garden reflects a taste for the lavish. From the château’s outdoor terrace are stunning views of the Loire landscape.
Near the château is the old town of Châteaudun, a jumble of cobblestone streets and pedestrian streets enclosed within ancient ramparts. While strolling atmospheric lanes, visitors are delighted to discover many quaint half-timbered houses (mainly on Rue Saint-Lubin and Rue des Tuileries) and several historic churches, including the Eglise de la the Madeleine with a Romanesque facade. Tourists will also enjoy the town’s pleasant parks and the wide selection of shops and restaurants. Outside the medieval town, in the more modern area of Châteaudun (at 3 Rue Toufaire), is another interesting tourist attraction, the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Fine Arts and Natural History), which displays a diverse collection of archaeological objects, paintings, fine porcelain, and interior decor.
24 Abbaye de Fleury
Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire is famed for its great Benedictine abbey, the Abbaye de Fleury, which was founded in the 7th century. The abbey’s bright and beautifully proportioned basilica, built between 1067 and 1218, is one of the finest Romanesque churches in France. The most outstanding feature of the church is the porch tower, with its ornately carved capitals. Inside the 12th-century crypt are the relics of Saint Benedict, brought here from the Abbey of Monte Cassino (near Naples in Italy) in the late 7th century.
The monastic community of the Abbaye de Fleury was dissolved at the time of the French Revolution but was re-established in 1944 by a group of Benedictine monks. Today this working monastery has a community of 32 monks and nuns. Besides the spiritual aspect of the monastery, the Abbaye de Fleury has two artisanal workshops: the Atelier de Porcelaine, where monks handcraft porcelain plates, mugs, and bowls, and the Atelier de Confiserie, where specialty confections such as fruit candies, caramels, and honey bonbons are created. Although much of the abbey is reserved for use by the monastic community, the basilica is open to the public; visitors may spend time in prayer, take a guided tour, or attend a concert (classical music performances are occasionally held on Sunday afternoons).
25 Château de Villesavin
This 16th-century manor house is in the small village of Tour-en-Sologne, 10 kilometers away from the Château de Chambord. Built for Jean le Breton, the finance secretary of King Francis I, and later the residence of noble families, the Château de Villesavin was created by French and Italian master craftsmen and builders who had constructed grand royal palaces such as Chambord. Unlike many castles of the Loire Valley, the Château de Villesavin has been well maintained in its original state for four centuries and today is still a private home, owned by the Sparre family, who have kept the castle in the family for three generations.
The château’s 27-hectare property includes tranquil green space and pristine forests filled with many animals. Visitors can often see deer, rabbits, and squirrels. Families with kids will have fun at the castle’s Ferme des Petits, a miniature farm where chickens, cows, donkeys, goats, rabbits, and sheep are raised. Children are given a small bag of bread to feed the gentle farm animals. Other tourist attractions on the property include the Musée du Mariage, with a collection of vintage wedding dresses, and trousseau à la Chambre nuptials (bridal trousseau) items, and the Musée de Voitures Hippomobiles et d’Enfants (Museum of Hippomobiles and Children’s Cars), which displays a unique assortment of 19th-century horse-drawn vehicles and children’s cars that were pulled by dogs, goats, or sheep.
26 Château de Sully-sur-Loire
A remarkable piece of living French history, the Château de Brissac has been in the same family for more than twenty generations. It is currently owned by the 13th Duke of Brissac, descendants of Lord René de Cossé, who purchased the castle in 1502. The Marquis Charles-André and the Marquise Larissa de Brissac reside in the château along with their four children. Besides its prestigious heritage, the Château de Brissac has the distinction of being the tallest château in the Loire Valley, thanks to its seven stories and 204 rooms. The majestic castle is set in a landscaped park with Romantic-style gardens, many benches, and walking paths. The palatial interior features rooms with gilded ceilings, exquisite furniture, and Venetian chandeliers. One of the most delightful rooms in the castle’s 200-seat Belle Epoque opera house.
For those who’d like to feel like landed gentry for a few nights, the castle offers bed and breakfast accommodations. Guest rooms are decorated with authentic antique-style furnishings and have views of the park’s woodlands and meadows. The Château de Brissac also hosts many summertime events, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and a Christmas market and holiday festivities in December.
Like the castles of fairy-tale imagination, the Château de Sully-sur-Loire has soaring towers and is encircled by wide moats that are filled with water. The imposing appearance reflects the original military purpose of the medieval château. When Maximilien de Béthune (the Duke of Sully) bought the property in the early 17th century, he added an artillery tower and defensive walls reinforced by canons to ensure an impenetrable fortress. The interior has been updated throughout the centuries and features a wonderful collection of paintings and tapestries. Especially interesting are the apartments of the Duke of Sully and his wife, and the Hall of Honour family portrait gallery. The château also has a large park, offering a peaceful retreat in nature.
27 Château de Brissac
A remarkable piece of living French history, the Château de Brissac has been in the same family for more than twenty generations. It is currently owned by the 13th Duke of Brissac, descendants of Lord René de Cossé, who purchased the castle in 1502. The Marquis Charles-André and the Marquise Larissa de Brissac reside in the château along with their four children. Besides its prestigious heritage, the Château de Brissac has the distinction of being the tallest château in the Loire Valley, thanks to its seven stories and 204 rooms. The majestic castle is set in a landscaped park with Romantic-style gardens, many benches, and walking paths. The palatial interior features rooms with gilded ceilings, exquisite furniture, and Venetian chandeliers. One of the most delightful rooms is the castle’s 200-seat Belle Epoque opera house.
For those who’d like to feel like landed gentry for a few nights, the castle offers bed and breakfast accommodations. Guest rooms are decorated with authentic antique-style furnishings and have views of the park’s woodlands and meadows. The Château de Brissac also hosts many summertime events, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and a Christmas market and holiday festivities in December.