1/4 Château Royal de Blois
Once home to kings and queens, the glorious castle in the centre of town is now a treasure trove of art. Children will be enchanted by the Chateau’s sound and light shows, which see the castle light ups with the stories of its former residents.
Not far from the castle, in the town of Blois, is the House of Magic, where children can be transformed into magicians during interactive workshops and magic lessons.
How to get there
Blois is the first castle you’ll encounter on your way from Paris to the Loire Valley.
Where to eat
Blois is a picturesque city with streets brimming with cafes, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when choosing a spot for a casual alfresco lunch.
Blois opens at 9am everyday throughout the year, with the exception of 25 December and 1 January.
Why go? Chambord has more to offer than its fairy-tale Disney looks – although the kids are sure to love its appearance. Visit this castle during the summer months to enjoy the National Festival of Music, equestrian riding shows and a flea market, where hundreds of sellers gather from all France.
Chambord boasts 12km of cycling paths, observation points and bike and boat hire, makling it the ideal spot for observing nature, or simply relaxing.
Where to eat: Indulge in a Nutella crepe from a crepe stand just outside the castle.
When to go: Most events at Chambord are held during the summer when the weather is best.
Opening time: From 2 January to 31 March and from 2 October to 31 December the castle is open between 9am and 5pm. From 1 April to 30 September the castle extends its hours from 9am to 6pm.
Why go? Take a car or boat ride through the scenic English-style park on the grounds of privately owned Chateau de Cheverny. After exploring the grounds, head to the kennels where hundreds of friendly hunting dogs relax and play during the day.
For something that’s sure to excite the kids, don’t miss the mural and exhibition of beloved Belgian comic book character, Tin Tin.
Top tip: Watch the feeding of the dogs everyday during late spring and early summer.
Opening time: From 1 January to 31 March the castle is open from 10 am to 5pm. From 1 April to 30 September hours are extended to 9am to 6:30pm. The castle returns to regular hours, 10am to 5pm, from 1 October to 31 December.
Why go? A trip to the castle’s wax museum is not to be missed. Children will love coming face-to-face with recreations of the women who used to live at Chenonceau and the garments of the time.
Spend time in the gardens and let little ones wander through a labyrinth of greenery until they get to the centre of the maze, where they’ll have a great view of the surrounding park. The outdoor play area is packed with games and activities for smaller children. Animal lovers won’t want to miss the interactive donkey park.
Where to eat: Relax with a packed lunch at the outdoor picnic area and indulge in the traditional French past time of people watching.
Top tip: Explore the gardens by going on a night walk for £4.75 per person. Children under seven go free.
Opening time: From 12 November to 29 March the castle opens at 9:30am and for the rest of the year it opens at 9am.
Price: Admission to Chenonceau is free.