The Loire Valley
If it's French splendour, style and gastronomy you seek, the Loire Valley will exceed your expectations, no matter how great. Poised on the crucial frontier between northern and southern France, and just a short train or autoroute ride from Paris, the region was once of immense strategic importance. Kings, queens, dukes and nobles came here to establish feudal castles and, later on, sumptuous pleasure palaces – that's why this fertile river valley is sprinkled with hundreds of France's most opulent aristocratic estates. With crenellated towers, soaring cupolas and glittering banquet halls, the region's châteaux, and the villages and vineyards that surround them, attest to over a thousand years of rich architectural and artistic creativity. The Loire Valley is also known for its outstanding wines (red, white, rosé and sparkling) and lively, sophisticated cities, including Orléans, Blois, Tours and Angers – yet more reasons why the entire area is an enormous Unesco World Heritage Site.
Must-see attractions for your itinerary
Spanning the languid Cher River atop a graceful arched bridge, Chenonceau is one of France's most elegant châteaux. It's hard not to be moved and…
The Loire Valley
If you only have time to visit one château in the Loire, you might as well make it the grandest – and Chambord is the most lavish of them all, and the…
Villandry's six glorious landscaped gardens à la française are some of France's finest, with more than 6 hectares of kitchen gardens, cascading flowers,…
Seven French kings lived in Blois' royal château, whose four grand wings were built during four distinct periods in French architecture: Gothic (13th…
This extraordinary museum – an absolute gem! – spotlights France's renowned compagnonnages, guild organisations of skilled craftspeople who have created…
Romantic, moat-ringed Azay-le-Rideau is celebrated for its elegant turrets, perfectly proportioned windows, delicate stonework and steep slate roofs…
The most medieval of the Loire châteaux, Langeais – built in the 1460s – looks much as it did at the tail end of the Middle Ages, with crenellated…
Surrounded by massive walls, this hilltop castle – offering fabulous views across town, river and countryside – is split into three sections separated by…
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- Activities8 of the best things to do in France's Loire Valley
Apr 2, 2023 • 7 min readFoodAsk LP: What's a good destination in France that offers an escape from the crowds?
Jan 15, 2021 • 4 min readWildlife & NatureA tour of the Loire Valley châteaux
Jul 13, 2010 • 3 min read
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