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YOUR GUIDE TO THE LOIRE VALLEY

 

 

Front of country cottage for rent in the Loire Valley

Fruit and vegetables on market stall in the Loire Valley

 

display of Loire Valley wine bottles

Summer sunflowers against a blue sky

 

 

Our guide to Centre-Val de Loire will show you the diverse range of attractions on offer in this beautiful part of France and help you make the most of your stay by providing practical, helpful information on things to do and see. 

 

There are so many places to visit in the region that once you have sampled the experience you'll want to return time and time again. It's the perfect place for your holiday in France...and it's more than just chateaux.

 

Here the rich landscape offers great rivers, vibrant cities like Orleans and Tours, historical medieval towns such as Chinon and Loches, beautiful villages like Montresor, natural parks in La Brenne and Anjou, some of the best wines of France and a host of local delicacy's. There is a plethora of festivals throughout the year to give you a taste of the region's unique culture and heritage.

 

The area also has been touched by many historical figures from Richard the Lionheart to Joan of Arc and Leonardo de Vinci. It has also inspired poets and novelists for centuries, with some of its native sons, such as Rabelais and Balzac, using the area as a setting their works.

 

The Loire River (the longest in France) is the thread that binds this area together but its tributaries of the Cher, the Vienne, the Indre and other rivers in the region such as the Creuse and the Claise give an added dimension to the region by providing attractive valleys and landscapes to stimulate interest. You are in an area where you can be on a plateau with what seems like endless horizons, surrounded by sunflowers, in a deep valley, in dense forest, by a mighty river and always where your eye will be drawn to something of interest. You can be happy just driving the wonderful roads (where a lot of French taxpayers money must go!) stopping at any one of hundreds of pretty towns and villages that the region has to offer.
 

By sharing our knowledge of the Loire Valley (we live and work here) we will help you get the most out of your visit to what is popularly referred to as 'the garden of France'. We do of course include a list of the major chateau of the region, how could we not, including the gems that are Chenonceau, Chambord, Azay-le-Rideau, Blois and Villandry, plus the cities towns and villages of greatest interest - the region has 8 of the 'Les Beaux Villages de France' - the most beautiful villages in France within its boundaries.

 

Where exactly is the Val de Loire?

 

 

The term 'Loire Valley' if used correctly could refer to an area of over 1000km, as this is the length of the river from its source in the springs on the side of Mont Gerbier de Jonc in the southern Cevennes hills within the department of the Ardeche to its destination on the Atlantic coast at Nantes. This site concentrates on the stretch of the river as shown on the map below plus the additional departments (think counties or states) of Eure-et-Loir, Cher and Indre within the Centre/Val de Loire region. The department of Indre et Loire was the former province of Touraine and the area is still referred to, using this historical name, for marketing purposes through the local tourist boards. We have also included the department of Maine-et -Loire (Anjou) in Pays de Loire as it forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site.

 

map showing Loire Valley location within France

 

Chateaux map

 

How to get here?

 

As one of the most visited areas of France, the Loire Valley is easily accessible from Paris and indeed anywhere in Europe via the countries excellent road and rail networks plus it has its own airport in Tours which connects with the UK and Ireland, read more...

 

Best place to stay?

 

You are really spoilt for choice here as all of the departments of the Centre-Val-de-Loire region and Maine-et-Loire in the Pays de Loire region have something unique to offer. We think however a 'central' location is best, read more...

 

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"Author - Jim Craig"