If you’ve ticked off the big names like Amboise, Chenonceau and Chambord, try one of these lesser-known yet equally beautiful castles in the Loire Valley next
1. Château de la Bussière, Loiret
Nicknamed the Château des Pecheurs, or the Fishermen’s Castle, this stunning estate boasts an unusual collection dedicated to fishing paraphernalia. But you don’t have to be into la pêche to fall hook, line and sinker for the château’s charms; a visit offers something for all the family. Tour ten furnished rooms, explore the gardens, go berry-picking or enjoy a picnic in the park.
2. Château de Candé, Indre-et-Loire
Fans of UK royal history may well know of Candé as the location of the wedding of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson. Other famous visitors include the writer Honoré de Balzac. The château has been open to the public since 2000; highlights include spotting the signatures of Wallis and Edward etched in the library, plus a small collection of Simpson’s clothes.
3. Château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre, Loir-et-Cher
Dating from the late Middle Ages, this unpretentious yet imposing castle is quite unlike its fairy-tale Loire counterparts in looks, but equally worth a visit. Setting foot inside transports you back to the building’s heyday, while the garden outside is also deserving of a stroll.
4. Château de Troussay, Loir-et-Cher
The accolade of being the tiniest chateau in the Loire Valley goes to this small but perfectly formed manor. It’s located in Cheverny, where many visitors head to the town’s eponymous château but unknowingly skip this one. There’s a gorgeous English-style park to explore, a winemaking museum plus you can take a guided tour of the beautiful interior. You could even stay the night in the estate cottages or in one of the castle’s very own suites.
5. Château de Villesavin, Loir-et-Cher
Built by Francois I’s secretary of taxes, Jean le Breton, this authentic château has seemingly remained untouched for centuries. Jean le Breton oversaw the construction of the world-renowned Chateau de Chambord, and while this chateau may be on a lesser scale, it makes for a wonderful day out. Take part in the popular treasure hunt or visit the museums dedicated to weddings and carriages respectively.