How on earth we pack everything into our France travel guide is beyond me however, pack it all in we do and if you’re looking for what we rate & what we don’t as well as Responsible Travel’s best & worst high and low lights then read on to discover France like a local, cuisses de grenouilles and all.
Best time to go to the Loire Valley
People are a little like white wine: we flourish in the Loire Valley climate.
The Loire Valley really feels its seasons. It sits right in the center of France, dividing north and south, so it gets relatively hot in summer (July average high of 25°C) and cold in winter (it has an average high of 7°C degrees in January). The Loire River and an Atlantic breeze keep the climate perfect for viticulture. Expect more rain and cooler temperatures in winter – and some chateaux only partially open whilst they do some renovations. In the summer it can get hot and busy – climate change means it is getting noticeably hotter every year. Meanwhile spring and autumn are lovely, temperate times of year, and perfect for walking and cycling.
Our Loire Valley Vacations
Tours Weather Chart
The Loire Valley, month by month
Responsible Travel recommends
Harvey Downard, from our specialist cycling company, Cycling for Softies, on the best time to visit: In France everyone basically takes their vacation in July and August – even hoteliers and restaurant owners – which is quite challenging for us! I would advise against traveling in these months. At this time of year you do have an overtourism problem particularly with some of the big chateaux – Villandry for example. It’s normally low 30s in most of France at this time, which is still a bit warm, really. For cycling you don’t want it to be too hot. June is probably the best balance and September too is quite nice – and there are our most popular times to go. And I wouldn’t recommend cycling in winter, it can get very cold.
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Festivals and events in the Loire Valley
Wine festivalsEvery autumn, when the grapes are harvested, many towns in the Loire Valley hold wine festivals. It’s a time for guided vineyards walks, wine tastings and plenty of indulgence. The best thing about tasting wine might be the local nibbles you get served alongside your glass – and you don’t have to use the spittoon. Look in Saumur for Festivini in September, which culminates in banqueting at Fontevraud Abbey.
Things to do in the Loire Valley
Things to do in the Loire Valley
Things not to do in the Loire Valley
More about Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is one of the highlights of France. Along the valley of the country’s longest river lies a rich seam of spectacular castles, wizened vineyards and pretty towns that date back hundreds and hundreds of years. Read our Loire Valley travel guide.
Follow the Loire River from east to west and you’ll reach its UNESCO-listed Loire Valley region about halfway along. Extraordinarily, there are over 300 chateaux in the area.
A sleeping beauty, an inventor who wrote backwards, a deadly queen, and a peasant girl who defeated an army: the Loire Valley has centuries of bedtime stories in store.
Less of an athletic endeavour, more a gentle way to explore the châteaux, vineyards and cuisine of France’s Valley of the Kings, Loire Valley cycling vacations are the epitome of active relaxation.
"A well spent day brings happy sleep” is written on the wall at Chateau du Clos Lucé. You’re going to make the most of every day on your Loire Valley walking vacation.
The Loire Valley is chateau central. The accident of geography, battles between armies and the patronage of royal families brought fantastic castles into the area.
The Loire Valley is well used to being admired by travelers, and doesn’t present many challenges to its visitors. It’s easy to reach, easy to get around, and has plenty of splendid hospitality.
Everyone’s here to enjoy the Loire Valley: from the region’s glorious castles to its lovely vineyards, its medieval towns and its pretty countryside.