10 fantastic places to visit in the Loire Valley with kids. Kid-friendly Loire castles, trip ideas, Loire Valley family attractions your kids will love.
The Loire valley is one of the most beautiful places in France for a family vacation.
Beautiful and easy to access, this area is dotted with wonderful castles that seem out of a fairy tale and it is packed with family-friendly activities that will keep happy kids and adults alike.
You can visit the Loire Valley by car or by bike and you can make it your vacation destination or just come here for a weekend getaway from Paris.
However you decide to explore, these are the top places to visit in the Loire Valley with kids!
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Best places in the Loire Valley for kids map
The best places to visit in the Loire Valley with kids
The Loire Valley is a beautiful, mostly flat area of France along the river Loire.
It is famous for having stunning castles (here is where you see the quintessential French chateaux) and it is very easy to visit with kids since it is well equipped and full of family-friendly hotels and attractions.
Among the several things do to here, we recommend the following.
Visit stunning Chateaux de Chambord (castle) with kids
The Chateaux de Chambord is maybe the most famous and the most recognizable of all the castles in the area.
Huge, the castle is surrounded by vast, wonderful, manicured gardens and is a vision of white walls, pointy turrets and grey roofs.
It is as grand and elegant as kids imagine a castle to be and the very best place for princess, knights, kings and queens in the making who like to live large.
Here, you can easily imagine horse-drawn carriages delivering guests to an elegant ball!
Chambord is a Renaissance that Francis I used for his hunting trips but it is no small hunting lodge: the castle has over 400 rooms!
The castle is easy to enjoy at any age and one of the most kid-friendly castles in the Loire Valley.
Younger kids are likely to enjoy the outside, with its wonderful garden and picnic area, while older kids may want to also see the inside – if you go in, do not miss the double spiral staircase: designed by Leonardo da Vinci, it is and incredible sight!
The castle offers activities for kids such as an activity booklet with riddles about the castle that you can buy at the main entrance and kids events however, they are in French so a bi too language awareness or openness to go with the flow are a must!
Admire wonderful Chenonceau castle with kids
Chenonceau castle is another wonderful castle in the Loire Valley for kids and my personal favorite due to a special characteristic: Chenonceau is a castle in the shape of a bridge!
Rather than being just surrounded by a moat, Chenonceau is literally in water.
Part of it has the shape of a turreted, classical castle but then it develops horizontally across the river, forming an elegant, high bridge connecting the two sides.
It is hard to tell if Chenonceau is more beautiful from the inside or the outside.
From the gardens, the view of this incredibly shaped castle is awe-inspiring however, the inside is equally beautiful and entertaining for kids.
As you walk along the long castle corridor, you are surrounded by beautiful, large windows that flood with light this beautiful elegant interior, almost as if the architect wanted to make sure that, no matter where you were, you always felt a connection with the nature around you.
For kids, there is plenty to do in Chenonceau. The gardens are fun for children as they have a maze and a pretty rose garden.
Inside, the castle is beautiful and has a very impressive kitchen that will leave your kids with their mouths wide open for size and equipment!
Top Tip: The gardens of Chenonceau are stroller-friendly, which means this is one of the best Loire castles to visit with toddlers.
Visit Clos Luce’ and its kid-friendly science park – the most entertaining Loire Valley castle for kids
The castle of Clos Luce’ was home to Leonardo da Vinci, who spent the last years of his life here and the best castle in the Loire Valley for kids in terms of things to do.
Less impressive than others in terms of architecture, the castle has the rooms where Leonardo lived and worked and, more interesting for kids, a large garden with Leonardo’s machines!
As you walk in the beautiful estate, you can see, touch and play with his chariot, walk on his revolving bridge and his double-span bridge that is an engineering marvel.
Top tip! Family tour of Leonardo’s garden are available in French or you can get tickets in advance and explore at your own pace
Visit the hounds at Château de Cheverny – the best Castle in the Loire Valley for kids who love dogs
If you have kids who love dogs, then you cannot miss the Chateau de Cheverny, a castle that hosts over 100 of them!
The dogs of Cheverny are French English tricolour hounds and they live in the kennels of the castle ground, which you can go visit for a furry stop!
As well as the kennels, the castle has 6 wonderful gardens, including a labyrinth and a stunning tulip garden that, in spring, is a triumph of colors.
The castle itself is also impressive and if you have been reading TinTin with the kids, you may recognize it as the home of Captain Haddock – if you are a Tintin fan, the Herge exhibition in the castle is also not to be missed and great for kids and adults alike.
Stay at Château du Rivau – the best Loire castle for kids to stay the night
If you would like to sleep in a Loire Valley Castle and treat your kids to a truly special night, then you should look into staying at Chateau du Rivau (2 adults and 1 child per room max).
The castle offers a B&B formula and while it is not ‘for kids’ as such, it is a lovely place from them.
The castle has 14 gardens, each of them names after a fairytale character or location: Rapunzel’s garden, the enchanted forest, Alice’s maze and the love potion garden are likely to be a hit!
Top tip: get the children booklet available at the castle entrance (in French and English) and follow the clues for a scavenger hun in the castle grounds for guaranteed fun.
Visit pretty Blois village and its castle
As well as castles, the Loire Valley has very pretty towns that are lovely to visit with kids.
One of the prettiest cities to visit in the Loire Valley with children is Blois.
Here, you have a castle but also a lovely historical town center perfect for family sightseeing, horse-drawn carriages to explore the town in style, and some kid-friendly attractions such as the Robert Houdini magic museum, a hit with kids of all ages!
Top tip: Blois is a lovely home base to discover the Loire Valley with kids. Find family-friendly hotels in Blois here.
The Loire Valley is flat and safe which means it is perfect for a family cycling holiday.
Depending on the age of your kids and cycling proficiency, you can rent bikes and bike gear for you and them or opt for a bike with a trailer.
If you go for this option, and you are not used to pulling kids, just make sure you evaluate well the distances: a trailer with one of two kids is really heavy and flat terrains means you have very few (or none!) downhills stretched to catch your breath!
Top tip! If you are renting bikes, make sure you have with you a bike first aid kid. Portable and invaluable when biking with children especially.
Visit the Troglodyte village of Goupillere – unique family attraction in the Loire Valley
A unique attraction in the Loire Valley for kids is the incredible Goupillere Troglodyte Village, where kids can see troglodyte (cave) dwellings!
The place is wonderful and perfect for families. As well as the caves, the village also has farm animals, lovely wooded areas, a family restaurant to savor kid-friendly traditional French food and it even runs ‘Amelie’s fabulous Sundays‘ an event when kids can get a sense of life in the Middle Ages!
See Miniature castles in the Parc Mini Chateaux in Amboise
Real castles are great but miniature castles are great too and there is a place in the Loire Valley where they can see over of them, on a scale 1:25!
The miniature castles are in the aptly named Parc Mini Chateaux in Amboise and they are in a wonderful garden, so you spend the day outdoors.
You can see them at the beginning of your trip to get inspiration on what to see or at the end, and see how many castles you can recognize!
Top Tip: Amboise is a wonderful home base for a Loire Valley vacation. You can find family-friendly hotels in Amboise here.
Go wine tasting
The Loire Valley is a wine region and a great place to go wine tasting and to get bottles to ship back home.
With kids, wine tasting in the area is possible however, it may not be what you expect.
Unlike kid-friendly wineries in Sonoma, for instance, the wineries in this area are commercial enterprises and tend not to have play areas or many facilities for kids.
That said, you can get the kids to tag along and, often, get in at a reduced price.
The best way to visit the Loire Valley with kids
The best way to visit the Loire Vally with kids in tow if with your own car.
The distances between the castles are rather short, so you don’t have to worry about long car rides, and it is going to work out cheaper than joining day trips to get to the castles you want.
Day trips from Amboise, Tours and Blois are the best way to visit Loire castles with kids if you cannot or do not want to drive.
Have a look at the following to get a sense of cost and timing for each:
What to pack for visiting the Loire Valley with kids
The most popular time to visit the Loire Valley is the summer, followed by the spring.
In summer, you want to pack light clothing and summer essentials, including sun hats, sandals and sunscreen, while in the spring you want to have layers and a jacket, for when the weather turns.
In terms of kids’ equipment, I recommend you come to the area with an all terrain stroller, you can walk enjoy the gardens at best (a compact one will work too), a portable high chair for restaurants and a baby carrier if you have a little one.
In all seasons, I recommend you pack good travel shoes for the children as there is a good bit of running around to be done in these wonderful gardens and estates!
I hope you enjoyed this family guide to the best paces to visit in the Loire Vally with kids and it inspired you to go visit. Safe travel planning!