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Introducing The Loire Valley

In centuries past, the River Loire was a key strategic area, one step removed from the French capital and poised on the crucial frontier between northern and southern France. Kings, queens, dukes and nobles established their feudal strongholds, country seats and, later, their posh playhouses along the Loire, and the broad, flat fertile valley is sprinkled with many of the most extravagant castles and fortresses in France. From sky-topping turrets and glittering banquet halls to slate-crowned cupolas and crenellated towers, the hundreds of Loire Valley châteaux, and the villages, vineyards, and agriculture surrounding them – all an enormous Unesco World Heritage Site – comprise 1000 years of astonishingly rich architectural, artistic and agrarian treasures. If it’s pomp and splendour you’re looking for, the Loire Valley is the place to explore. And don’t forget: it’s also a modern-day wine region dotted with lively cosmopolitan cities like Orléans, Tours, Saumur and Angers.