Loire with kids

Best Châteaux to visit in the Loire with kids

I was dragged around many a châteaux in France by my parents as a child. I remember lots of old rooms with big paintings of men on horses and in all honesty, it was rather dull. All I wanted to do was get back to the campsite to meet up with my new friends and jump in the pool. So why did I return almost thirty(ish) years later to the Loire with kids (my boys aged 3 and 4) to do exactly the same thing?

Loire with kids

Well, with age comes a better appreciation of history and architecture, and I’ve grown to love the French châteaux. Plus, many of the chateaux in the Loire have diversified and there are a few that really cater for families. It’s all about finding the right one. So here are the three best Châteaux to visit in the Loire with kids, according to TraveLynn Family. With these choices you may even find time to admire the architecture and marvel the grounds with a minimal amount of whinging 😉

Château de Cheverny

Kids will love watching the feeding of the hounds at 11:30am each day, before finding the LEGO structures hidden around the rooms of the chateau’s interior. Take a picnic down to the river before finding your way through the maze. If you manage to find your way out, reward yourselves to some home-made ice-cream at Cafe de l’Orangerie.

‘Château de Marlinspike’ in The Adventures of Tintin was based on Cheverny. There’s a permanent Tintin exhibition on site, which may be the closest you get to walking through the comic book. You do have to pay extra to visit however.

Check the Château de Cheverny website for up to date opening time and entry prices. 

Loire with kids

Château du Clos Lucé

This is the place where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years. It’s not the most architecturally stunning Château in the region, but kids will love playing with Da Vinci’s inventions in the gardens. Head for a wander around the manor before heading to the gardens, as it will help parents explain the inventions when the kids start questioning.

Check the Château du Clos Lucé website for up to date opening time and entry prices. 

Château du Rivau

This is a fairytale castle to ignite imaginations of all ages. The gardens are especially enchanting with giant’s legs walking through the trees, turrets to climb, and a very late white rabbit at the end of a maze. There’s also a garden of potions and be sure to look for the dwarfs hiding in their mushroom houses before venturing to the playground. If you’re visiting during the French school holidays, check the website for kids activities.

Check the Château du Rivau website for up to date opening time and entry prices. 

Where we stayed

A great budget choice for families is Camping Château des Marais, Muides-sur-Loire. We stayed with Canvas Holidays in one of their pre-erected Maxi-tents, which has beds, cooking facilities and dining area (a bit like glamping). The campsite itself is set in the grounds of an old manor house and has a fantastic swimming pool complex with slides galore! There are also playgrounds, an onsite shop and restaurant, as well as kids clubs. What we liked about this campsite, is that it’s not too big, although expect to stay up late as the whole site is lively with families playing until 11pm (but that is pretty standard across France).

How to get there

For us, the easiest way to get to the Loire is to take the ferry from the South of England and drive. The Loire is only 4.5 hours from the Calais and 3.5 hours from Le Havre. Alternatively you can fly in to Tours Airport, or even Paris (which is just 2 hours away). We strongly recommend visiting by car (this may mean hiring at the airport), as it’s the easiest way to get around. That and a bike.

 

Disclaimer: TraveLynn Family entirely funded this trip and all words and opinions are my own. 

 

Loire with kids

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Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet?

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This post is linked up to Wanderlust Kids, and Cultured Kids #29

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20 Comments

  1. Pam Goward

    Brings back memories of our first camping trip to the Loire. I particularly remember the Chateau Cheverny, and dragging you round to see the architecture, paintings and gardens. Yes and the attendant whingeing. Things have certainly improved for children visiting nowadays.

  2. Apart from the dogs you’ve certainly tempted me to take a trip to Loire. #wanderlustkids

  3. I’d love to visit some French Chateaux with our son. Hubby and I visited a small one before he was born and really enjoyed our time at it. I hadn’t thought it would be a place to bring kids but you’ve shown that by choosing the right ones, everyone can enjoy them. Thanks for linking up to #wanderlustkids

  4. Château du Clos Luce was one of my favourites as a child, small enough to,imagine living in and the Leonardo connection too. Thank you for linking up to #CulturedKids

  5. I didn’t visit a French Chateau until my 20s and I can’t remember much for kids to do but look at those paintings of old guys 🙂 I loved it but I’d not think of taking the kids to one. However, you’ve changed my perception! Next time we’re in France… #CulturedKIds

  6. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    This brings back memories of camping holidays in France when my son was younger. We always had a chateau visit. Always good to tear yourself away from the water slides for a day!
    #culturedkids

  7. My husband loves the Tin Tin comics so I know he would love to visit Chateau de Cheverny. All of them look awesome to me. #CulturedKids

  8. bavariansojourn

    What a beautiful beautiful place. There’s really something for everyone too isn’t there? I know my lot would love feeding the hounds too! Thanks so much for joining in with #culturedkids x

  9. Haha, very lucky to be dragged by parents 30 years ago, wished I could say the same about my childhood 😉 But we’ve been catching up regularly in the last 20 years, including the kiddies! We spent little time in Loire on our 10 days road trip back in April but planning to go back soon, loving all the 3 cheateaux you picked – great pinning material ! Also must be the chateaux season as we’ve just wrapped up topically a post on Dordogne. And great to see you linking in #culturedkids!

    • TraveLynn Family

      Great minds!! We love the Dordogne too and we’ve actually got a trip booked there for next year!

  10. French chateaux are all so magical looking! I’ve not been to the Loire so this is a lovely taster and great to see lots for children. Lego in the rooms is a genius idea! #CulturedKids

    • TraveLynn Family

      Isn’t it just!? Certainly made the tour of the interior MUCH more interesting for the boys 😉

  11. I wish your post had been around when we visited 2 years ago (with a 4 and 2 year old). We picked the wrong chateaux and had an extremely stressful visit. I think my kid would like all 3, especially the hands on da Vinci one! #CulturedKids

  12. The Loire has so many amazing chateau’s. Fantastic to see that some are possible to visit and keep the kids entertained. Love the lego idea #CulturedKids

    • TraveLynn Family

      Isn’t the LEGO fantastic! It certainly made the interior tour a lot more interesting for the boys.

  13. These all sounds like great places to stay, and it’s amazing how easy the Loire is to get to from the UK.

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