The châteaux of the Loire, the stuff of fairytales, with tours for kids!

Once upon a time, there were beautiful and grand châteaux mirrored in the Loire, the residence of kings and queens of France who lived there with pomp, enchanting gardens, grandiose parks and gourmet vegetable gardens. Thanks to booklets, puzzles, role-play games or treasure hunts, your little princes and princesses will be enchanted (and educated) about these amazing sites. Hear ye, hear ye, history awaits!

In the footsteps of Tintin and Milou at the Château de Cheverny

"Mille sabords, what a beautiful castle!", Hergé must have exclaimed when he discovered the castle of Cheverny near Blois, which is most richly furnished in the Loire Valley. Attention, little Tintin fans: the creator of the beloved comic was inspired by its facade to design Moulinsard, the elegant house that Captain Haddock inherits in Red Rackham's Treasure. "The secrets of Moulinsard", the permanent interactive exhibition dedicated to the famous Belgian reporter at the château promised visitors a real life-size adventures with surprises and twists, in the most beautiful of comic book settings.

Château de Cheverny (External link)
L’exposition "Les secrets de Moulinsard" (External link)

In fairy tales in the gardens of the Château du Rivau

Dungeons, towers, moats and machicolations (openings to pour boiling oil on invaders)—ten kilometers (6 miles) from Chinon, the Château du Rivau is a medieval fortress straight from a fairy tale: an enchanted domain complete with 14 gardens. Even the names of the gardens are whimsical: Petit Poucet, Princess Rapunzel, Alice in Wonderland's labyrinth, and the vegetable garden of Gargantua, planted with giant vegetables. With a game booklet to go along with the tour (in French and in English), the children roam in search of a lost magic wand. New this summer, an outdoor "garden escape" launches the whole family, via an interactive mobile app, in the footsteps of Michel the gardener of Rivau, who has mysteriously disappeared. Skill, logic, observation talents—learn while having fun at the château!

Château du Rivau (External link)
Livret-jeu en famille (External link)

Spells and labyrinth in the gardens of the Château de Villandry

Do you hear the groans of the phantom? To discover the most beautiful gardens of the Loire Valley, your little adventurers can count on the ghost of Jean Le Breton. The builder of the Château de Villandry takes them on a journey through time throughout many eras, multiplying riddles and riddles. Equipped with their playbooks, children run from flower beds to terraces, detail the greenery, cross the forest, explore the checkered vegetable garden and the romantic Love Gardens to discover the history of Villandry. But, be careful not to get lost in the great labyrinth of spells! To win, you will have to reach the central gazebo—and then find your way out.

Château de Villandry (External link)
Game booklet for "The spell of Jean Le Breton" (External link)

In the footsteps of Philemon the galley boy at the Château de Chenonceau

A castle with a long window-studded gallery spanning a river, like the loveliest bridge imaginable—your children will never forget Chenonceau, a Renaissance masterpiece, built astride the Cher. We bet that the park will also please them, with its spectacular circular labyrinth planted with yews and its bucolic farm complete with a playground. But, it's Philemon the galley boy who will tickle them the most. This little prankster guide offers them a 45-minute visit (in French and English) via the children's audio guide into the heart of the history of the castle. The tour is that rare thing: funny and instructive at the same time.

Château de Chenonceau (External link)
Visite du château avec audioguide "Philémon the gallery boy" (External link)

In the universe of Leonardo da Vinci at the Château du Clos Lucé

How did a little Tuscan boy named Leonardo become one of the greatest artists of all time? This great friend of King François 1st, who died at the wonderful Château du Clos Lucé brought the magnificent ideas of the Italian Renaissance to France. To find out exactly what this genuis brought to life, your curious little ones will have to accept the mission of the Inventor's Notebook (in French and in English) where the great Leonardo da Vinci confides his secrets and tips for imagining an extraordinary machine to the little investigators. In the Parc du Clos Lucé, they can then test some of the master's inventions in real life: board the tank, operate the aerial screw, handle the machine gun, ride in a paddle boat, cross the swing bridge or the famous 20 meter (65 foot) high double-span bridge. Enough to inspire them to become engineers!

Activities at Clos Lucé (External link)

Treasure hunt at the Château de Chambord

To help them discover the most famous of the Renaissance castles and its incredible double spiral staircase, entrust your young children to Cassandre the Salamander. In his activity book, the mascot of Chambord and emblematic animal of King François 1st, accompanies them with humor and great knowledge in solving eight puzzles related to the château. The older ones will prefer to walk with the Histopad, which acts as both digital tablet and audio guide, for tours that go back in time. Here lies a banquet, there the king's chamber, here is his kingly wardrobe! To top it off, a virtual treasure hunt takes on the appearance of a great physical treasure hunt in the castle. Jewelry, crockery, furniture, paintings, so many interactive objects to locate to collect gold coins and become an unbeatable expert on Chambord.

Château de Chambord (External link)
Cassandre la Salamandre tour (External link)

Like a giant at the Mini-Châteaux Park in Amboise

Visit almost all the castles of the Loire Valley in a few hours, like you've suddenly grown giant—this is the unique (and very fun!) experience that the Parc Mini-Châteaux offers on the heights of Amboise. About forty of the most beautiful royal residences, including the neighboring Château d'Amboise, have been faithfully reproduced there at 1/25th scale by art modelers. Stroll in this beautiful park planted with miniature castles as if a wave of the magic wand had suddenly made you grow, grow, grow! Small labyrinths, boats and mechanical horses on rails enliven the discovery. It's a magical end to a day of wonders!

Parc Mini Châteaux (External link)

Getting to the Loire Valley