Traveling Loire Valley with Kids

Loire Valley

I always try to plan some down time at the end of a trip. Usually, that involves some type of swimming for the boys, but that was not really possible in France in November – although our hotel did have a rustic barrel hot tub that we all enjoyed! This time around, we opted for two days in the French countryside to wind down after 3 non-stop days in Paris.  
The Loire Valley is famous for two things – châteaus and wine, and I enjoyed both! We actually stayed in the converted buildings behind the château and the ground floor of the château was a common area where we spent time. We did not just stick to our château, we visited others as well. Our resort had complimentary bikes that we were able to take from our château to nearby Château de Chaverny.

Unfortunately, it was a little drizzly during our ride which ruined my hair for all subsequent photos!

Now, you may think that a chateau visit may not be the most interesting thing for two young boys and normally, you’d be right. However, Chaverny is the exception because they had not only one, but two things my kids love – dogs AND Legos! Our entire playroom is full of Legos,  every week we watch Lego Masters, and all my kids want for Christmas is Legos! Even better, Château de Chaverny even had Lego dogs!

Actually, I probably should call them hounds. They are a cross between an English Foxhound and French Poitevin (French pointer) and are used for hunting. There are 140 of them on site. You can visit the hounds all day long but it’s their daily feeding, the Soupe des Chiens, that is quite a spectacle for both the French and travelers from around the world. Unfortunately, they do not do it every day during the off season and we were there on the wrong day to see it, but at least we saw some dogs! And of course, we had to buy these souvenirs …

We also visited another château, although we arrived at this one by car! Château du Clos Lucé was another perfect château for kids because it was the last home of Leonardo da Vinci. After seeing da Vinci at The Louvre, I knew it was a must. The French have turned his last home into a museum of his inventions. The boys have learned a lot about da Vinci in school so I was excited for them to see the models of his inventions. I wish I had realized that they could physically interact with his inventions in the gardens earlier in our visit because that was definitely the highlight of our time there. Da Vinci created more than I even realized and the fact that he had such a scientific mind coupled with a creative, artistic side is very intriguing to me since I have a analytical mind but I love creating itineraries and branding for my business. Here is a photo outside of Clos de Luce en route to the gardens.

After our visit here, we found a lovely craperie for lunch, then headed to our family friendly winery tour – yes, it is possible! Our guide even brought grape juice for the boys to try. He really did make it interesting for the boys, the right guide always makes a difference – especially with kids!

I highly recommend time in the Loire Valley for those taking a quick trip to Paris and want to get a taste for other areas of France. I am currently working on a trip for clients and proposing coupling Paris with Loire Valley or Normandy. I chose Loire Valley for my family, but each family is different so each trip I create is different. There is literally never a dull moment when you own a travel agency – whether it is planning a trip for myself, being on a trip, or creating for my clients, I am doing what I love!

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