Touring the Loire Valley, France

With its extravagant chateaux, landscaped gardens and historic towns, the Unesco-listed Loire Valley is made for touring. Pick up a car, or even better a bike, and castle-hop through the valley's beautiful wine-rich countryside. The chateaux, originally the country retreats of France's Renaissance royals and luxury-loving aristocrats, reveal spectacular architecture, from the fairy-tale chic of Château de Chenonceau to the classic proportions of Château de Cheverny and the Renaissance splendour of Château de Chambord.