Guide to Food & Culture in the Loire Valley

Fora travel agent Jenna Atkins sitting at table
Curated By

Jenna Atkins

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  • France

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Slow Travel

  • Castles

  • Cultural Immersion

  • Vineyards

Vineyard in the foreground with a white castle in the background on a cloudy day
Curator’s statement

France is always a good idea, especially getting out of Paris and seeing the calm that surrounds it. History, food, wine, scenery and so much more are waiting in the Loire Valley, located just an easy jaunt from the capital city!

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Where to stay in the Loire Valley, France

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Les Sources de Cheverny

Forest chateau in Loire Valley featuring a hamlet of elegant cabins, a lake surrounded by gorse and vineyards.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Relais de Chambord

The only hotel at the Domain de Chambord — this hotel offers regal style, bike and balloon rides and nature exploration in its lush forests.

Fora Perks
  • A welcome gift of local specialities on arrival.

Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé

Royal chateau accommodation with attention to detail ranging from its spacious suites to top service and activities.

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Things to do in the Loire Valley, France

Green foliage in the foreground with large white castle in the distance on a sunny day

Castles and Chateaus in the Loire Valley

There are so many in the area! It's a great idea to choose two to three in the area so as not to get castle fatigue, and to be able to appreciate how special these pieces of history are. I would absolutely recommend Chambord as one of them. This hunting lodge, that is the largest walled and enclosed property and park in Europe, is a must-see.

Another great option that is fun to drive to along the river is Chateau de Chenonceau. This smaller building, that was the luxury home for the elite of the past, is chock-full of beauty and detail in every inch. Coco Chanel loved it so much, it became the inspiration behind the now iconic logo that is recognized worldwide as luxury at its finest (it was used as the backdrop for a runway collection in 2020). 

Loire Valley Wine Tours

It goes without saying that Loire is well-known for its wine. It almost becomes overwhelming trying to narrow down which vineyards to visit when you can literally stop on the side of the road and find one. Or find a cave that a family has owned for generations that happens to have vines as well! From Rosé and Sancerre to Vouvray (versions found mostly in the US but in its home location a delightful sparkling variety is available). A few other great spots are Domain Huet, La Grange Tiphaine and Domaine Delaporte.

Explore the Small Towns in the Loire Valley

If you’re anything like me and grew up on Disney, Beauty and the Beast will be stuck in your head every small town and bakery you pass by. Hop out of the car and immerse yourself in the ones that strike you most... you won't be sorry. 

Go for a walk or bike ride in the Loire Valley Countryside

I would definitely take an afternoon to enjoy and soak in the peace of the area and either walk on your hotel property (like at Sources de Cheverny) or hop on a bike (most towns and hotels offer them). By taking the time to “flaneur” (to idle or lounge) the French country way, you really get the feel and spirit of the area.

Places to eat & drink in the Loire Valley, France

Pastry with yellow custard with white and black topping on a black slate plate with a silver spoon

Le Favori: Fine dining at its best in the country. Set in a sophisticated space, this farm to table Michelin spot will not disappoint.

L’Auberge: This inviting spot with some great local cuisine is a must. With its roaring wood-burning oven facing the dining room and the chef watching, it is the best the Loire Valley has to offer. The bar is a delight and dessert is a must.

Le Petit Honfluer: Paris is synonymous with young experimental restaurants, yet you wouldn’t expect to find just that in the beautiful town of Blois as well. I was stunned to have a completely vegetarian meal (by choice, there are other options for the carnivores) that was not only satisfying but also offered some of the most unique tastes my whole trip. Plus: these guys know their wine!

Le Bistrot Du Cuisinier: Yet another Loire Valley menu at its finest. The cote de beouf is a must and definitely able to share with another or maybe even 2 depending on your appetite!

Fora travel agent Jenna Atkins sitting at table

Travel Advisor

Jenna Atkins

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