One of the great privileges of visiting the Loire is that there are a variety of châteaux that accommodate visitors. The standards range enormously: at the top end of the market, you are guaranteed deluxe accommodation, with room service, all mod cons, excellent food and all the amenities you would expect from a top-class hotel; at the other end, you are effectively staying in a bed and breakfast in someone’s house, which can be pot luck. The following are the pick of the hotels in the Tours area:
Château D’Artigny Nr Montbazon (02 47 34 30 30). Stunning, beautifully restored château originally owned by the perfumier François Coty, and decorated in a Neoclassical style. The rooms are all large, lavishly appointed and very comfortable, and the excellent restaurant has sweeping views across the Loire valley. You can take cookery classes and enjoy wine tastings. If that all sounds too tiring, note that there’s a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna to relax in, along with spa treatments.
Domaine de Beauvois Nr Luynes (02 47 55 50 11). Much of the appeal of this beautiful sixteenth-century mansion comes from its peaceful seclusion, with long country walks and beautiful bike rides the order of the day. There are some lovely, quirky touches in the rooms, too, which have beamed ceilings and painted frescoes, and the restaurant offers excellent food.
Domaine de la Tortinière Nr Montbazon (02 47 34 35 00). Delightful family-run hotel, with friendly bilingual owners. Rooms range from the modestly comfortable to the spectacularly luxurious (such as the suites in the turrets, complete with circular bedrooms) and very good food is served in the dining room, overlooking an open-air swimming pool.