How to fly over the châteaux of the Loire Valley in a hot-air balloon?

Château de Chenonceau

Looking for an unusual way to visit the Châteaux de la Loire? Here’s our mini-guide to flying over them in a hot-air balloon!



Did you think visiting the Châteaux de la Loire was too cliché? Generation Voyage offers you an unusual way to see them: in a hot-air balloon! This unusual excursion offers you a unique experience, exploring the riches of French history from the air. Are you in the mood for adventure? Get ready to take to the skies with this mini-guide to flying over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon. Here’s everything you need to know about this unusual experience: history, tour tips, things to do, bookings, costs, timetables, access and accommodation!

History of the Châteaux de la Loire

Ballon survolant la Loire

Photo credit : Shutterstock – Meandering Trail Media

The Châteaux de la Loire are ancient fortresses built in the Middle Ages. They were the favorite residence of the kings of France during the Renaissance. The Loire Valley is also known as the « Garden of France ». It features a collection of buildings dating from the period when royal power was established on the banks of the Loire. This was in the 15th and 16th centuries, a hundred years before royal power moved to Fontainebleau and then Versailles. Because of their incredible state of preservation over the centuries, they have been classified as World Heritage Sites by Unesco. The most famous are Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau. There are some fifteen other not-to-be-missed castles.

Our tips for flying over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon

Time of visit

The first thing to consider when flying over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon is the time of day. If you love the beautiful colors that illuminate nature, take to the skies at dawn or dusk. At dawn or dusk, this unique historical and cultural heritage will be revealed in a thousand lights.

The weather

Rain, thunderstorms, fog or strong winds will prevent the gondola from taking off. Flights are postponed free of charge. Flight confirmations are sent out the day before the flight, to avoid extra costs for cancellations and accommodation. The flight season runs from April 1 to October 31. Summer is logically the best time to fly over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon.

Our equipment

For this unusual experience, you’ll need to adapt your clothing to the season and the humidity. You’ll need good walking or sports shoes, sunglasses and something to cover up. Temperatures can be cool, especially in early spring and autumn.

What to see and do when flying over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon?

Château de Chaumont

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alexandre Arocas

The tour lasts a total of 3 hours. It includes:

  • Reception of passengers,
  • Journey to the take-off site,
  • Balloon inflation,
  • Boarding,
  • The free flight, lasting about an hour,
  • Landing,
  • Folding the envelope,
  • Presentation of certificates of ascent (with a toast by the aeronaut),
  • Return trip to the terminal.

In the gondola, you’ll fly over the Châteaux de la Loire and see the most remarkable Renaissance châteaux from above. These include Chenonceau, Chambord, Amboise, Blois and Chaumont-sur-Loire. But hot-air ballooning over the Châteaux de la Loire doesn’t stop there. Visiting the Loire Valley from the air allows you to admire the landscapes and towns along the banks of the river. You’ll fly over vineyards and forests.

How much does it cost to fly over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon?

Château de Chambord

Photo credit : Shutterstock – Tsomchat

There are a number of different price offers from different providers. Prices also vary according to the many take-off points: Amboise, Beaugency, Blois, Chambord, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Chenonceau, Orléans, Saint-Aignan, Saumur, Angers and Tours. Group packages (maximum 16 people) including accommodation and tours are also available.

For a flight over the Châteaux de la Loire, you’ll need to pay between €150 and €195 per person, depending on the provider. If you wish to book a combined ticket with accommodation for two people, prices rise to over €300. For example, you can expect to pay around €500 for a night’s accommodation for two in a partner hotel and a hot-air balloon flight for two.

How do I book a ticket online for a hot-air balloon flight over the Châteaux de la Loire?

Booking a ticket online for a hot-air balloon flight over the Châteaux de la Loire is easy. There are around ten different providers, with departures from Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise or Orléans. Aeronauts include : Au gré des vents, France Montgolfières, Sport Découverte, Air Touraine, Aerocom Montgolfières, Les Ballons de la Loire, AdrenActive, Loire et Montgolfière and Montgolfière Sensation.

The booking process is simple. All you have to do is fill in your contact details and civil status on a booking form. You then choose your preferred flight times. Payment by credit card is not always possible. In this case, payment is made by cheque. You will then receive confirmation of your order by e-mail, together with your tickets, which are valid for one year from the date of issue.

Hot-air balloon flight schedules

Schedules for hot-air balloon flights over the Châteaux de la Loire vary from one provider to another. Generally, they vary according to availability, and are set in two phases: the morning flight and the evening flight. Between March and October, the morning flight takes place between 6 a.m. and 12.30 p.m., depending on the month. The evening flight is scheduled from 4pm to 11pm at the latest, depending on the month.

How do I get to the Châteaux de la Loire?

There are several ways to get to the Châteaux de la Loire region:

  • By train, the TGV serves the Tours and Orléans SNCF stations from Paris, Nantes or Bordeaux. By TER, the Orléans-Tours line serves stations near the Châteaux de la Loire.
  • By car: If you’re coming by car, there are parking lots close to the take-off sites.

After receiving confirmation of good weather conditions, the team will be waiting for you at the take-off site at the agreed time. After landing, you’ll be taken back to the departure point by 4×4.

Where to stay near the Châteaux de la Loire ?

To fully appreciate your flight over the Châteaux de la Loire in a hot-air balloon, it’s often best to take off at dawn or dusk. This is to take advantage of the best colors of the day. As a result, it will certainly be necessary to sleep close to the take-off sites.

To sleep near the Châteaux de la Loire, you can target the towns between Tours and Orléans, i.e. : Tours, Amboise, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Blois, Beaugency or Orléans. However, you’ll still need to find some form of transport to get to the meeting point an hour before take-off.

If you want to stay as close as possible to your meeting point, there are a number of accommodation options available. These include traditional establishments such as youth hostels and hotels. Hotel comparison services can be a useful ally.

B&Bs and homestays (via Airbnb in particular) are also a good option. You’ll need to define your accommodation requirements beforehand. The best thing is to find a place to stay within walking distance of the meeting point for take-off. In any case, the region is so touristy that rentals are plentiful in the Loire Valley.