Destinations

5-Star Hotel Guide

The Loire Valley

Magnificent chateaux and magical vineyards.

The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley
Luxury Hotels in The Loire Valley

5-star hotel guide to The Loire Valley

We’ve visited the Loire Valley many times over the years and love exploring its well-preserved medieval towns, magnificent chateaux, magical vineyards and eating in the many fine restaurants or picnicking on the banks of one of Loire's pretty tributaries.

Stretching 480 kms, the Loire is certainly one of Europe’s great rivers and the Loire Valley describes the middle section from Orléans to Angers, before the river reaches the Atlantic and the vineyards of Muscadet around Saint Nazaire. The Loire Valley takes in chateaux country, roughly 2 hours south west of Paris by train or car, with the river-side towns of Blois, Amboise, Tours and Saumur, and chateaux commanding towering positions along the river and its tributaries, including the Indre and Maine.

Famous for its fertile landscape which provides some of the finest fruit in France as well as excellent fine wines that include Vouvray and Chinon as well as the Sauvignon Blanc-dominated areas of Sancere and Pouilly Fumé.

Brits, in particular, have had a soft spot for the Loire since Margaret of Anjou married Henry VI in 1445 in a vain attempt to halt the 100 Years War and defend English rights to large swathes of France his father had conquered. Nowadays the Loire is often a stopping-off point on a grand-luxe tour to the south, or to Isle de Ré and the Atlantic Coast, but the Loire, with more than 300 chateaux, is worthy of more attention and is a fabulous destination in its own right.

In the past, however, our stays in the Loire have all too frequently mixed disappointment with the cultural, gourmet and viticultural delights. To us, the region's hotels have offered great gourmet experiences but either the accommodation or service fails to match our expectations. For example, several luxury hotels are located by the great river, but are often positioned directly on the road that runs alongside, which rather spoils their bucolic proposition.

However, we are now delighted to be amongst the first to stay at Hotel Relais de Chambord, which opened this year in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Château de Chambord, which really recalibrates 5-star expectations in this beautiful region. Overlooking one of France's most famous chateaux,  Holly Rubenstein’s review will make you want to book straight away!