Autumn is the perfect time of year to explore the Loire Valley, when the wine harvest is at its peak and the vibrant foliage surrounding the region’s famous chateaux is at its best. Along with the region’s current celebrations of the 500th Anniversary of the French Renaissance, a number of chateaux throughout the Loire Valley will also be hosting festive seasonal events in honor of the fall season. Below is a selection of some of the top autumnal events taking place this year:
Fall Events at Chateau-hotel de la Bourdaisière
In the fall, tomatoes and dahlias are the stars at Chateau-hotel de la Bourdaisière. Until October, the gardens are lit up by over 5,000 different types of dahlia bulbs. The chateau is also famous for its National Tomato Conservatory, boasting more than 650 varieties of tomatoes, which earned its owner the nickname of “the Gardener Prince.” The chateau’s annual Tomato Festival takes places from September 7-8 this year, celebrating the incredible number of tomatoes grown on the estate. Later in the fall, the chateau will host the “Festival of the Forest & Wood” from October 19-20, which will include wood-sculpting workshops and more for the whole family. Guests can also stay overnight in one of the chateau’s 29 rooms and apartments.
Pumpkin Feast & Autumn Festival at Chateau du Rivau
On September 8, the fairy-tale inspired Chateau du Rivau will host a Pumpkin Feast at which guests can revel in the chateau’s pumpkin gardens, sample pumpkin dishes, see incredible pumpkin sculptures, and enjoy entertainment by jugglers, acrobats, magicians and more. On October 26 and 27, the chateau will host an Autumn Festival, featuring a display of hundreds of stunning chrysanthemum flowers. Guests can now stay overnight in one of the chateau’s seven newly opened guest rooms.
Vegetable Garden Days at Chateau du Villandry
The Chateau du Villandry is thought of as a real gem of the Renaissance age thanks to its famous gardens with a distinctly French charm. On September 28 and 29, visitors can celebrate the local produce and plants during the chateau’s Vegetable Garden Days, which include regional products and local crafts. Even more, From September 14 through November 11 guests can view an exhibit of nature-inspired paintings by Marie-Laurence Gaudrat.
Autumn Splendors at the Regional Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire
Taking place from October 19 to November 23, The Autumn Splendors festival celebrates the fall season with incredible flower arrangements, collections of colorful squash, displays of seasonal vegetables and more. This is also the last opportunity for travelers to visit the International Garden Festival for the year.
Autumn Festival at Chateau du Cheverny
The second edition of Chateau du Cheverny’s Autumn Festival takes place on November 16 and 17, during which the Orangery will transform into a Magical Forest. Guests will be transported to an autumnal wonderland, including fall colors and crafts, as well as a soup-tasting bar, and an exhibition of sculptures and paintings. Also offered will be horse-drawn carriage rides and a pop-up miniature farm for kids. Even more, from October 18 through November 30, more than 2,500 chrysanthemums will be in bloom in the gardens.
Below are some of the many ongoing events happening in the Loire Valley this year in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the French Renaissance that shouldn’t be missed:
• Renaissance Sound and Light Show in Tours (until September 7)
• A spectacular sound and light show will feature the anniversary of the French Renaissance.
• Folies Mélodiques Exhibit at Chateau de Bouges (until September 29)
• Guests can visit Cécile Le Talec’s sculpture garden, which aims to represent 18th-century livestock farming through her artworks as well as recorded sounds that play throughout the exhibit.
• Dance to the Renaissance at Chateau de Langeais (until September 30)
• During the entire month of September, the Château de Langeais invites guests to explore 16th-century music and dance inside the castle’s two ‘Renaissance Rooms.’
• Rinascenza Exhibit at Chateau du Chateaudun (until October 13)
• An exceptional photography exhibit from French visual artist Sabine Pigalle, which brings together 30 photographs on display throughout the castle, inspired by works from the Renaissance and more.
• The Extended Concert at Noirlac Abbey (until October 15)
A unique virtual sound installation highlighting the relationship between space and sound, in which listeners will gently drift through a multi-sensory musical concert experience.