chateau has become synonymous with
the Loire Valley from the time it was embraced by French Royalty as a safe haven
away from the political back-stabbing of Paris and then as a rich cultural playground. What they and their noble followers created is here for us all to see today, preserved in a way perhaps only the French can -- even to the extent of rebuilding, such as the fortress at Chinon.
The Loire Valley castles are as diverse as they are numerous (over 300), from
Chenonceau spanning the river Cher,
Chambord with its outrageous and unnecessary scale,
Azay-le Rideau seemingly floating on the river Indre, Amboise with its Leonardo de Vinci connection,
Cande where Edward Prince of Wales married Wallis Simpson plus many with beautiful gardens such as at
Chaumont-sur-Loire and a few, like
Le Grand Pressigny
Oiron housing museums and galleries - definitely something for everyone!
Their influence and the areas natural beauty made UNESCO designate a large
stretch of the river Loire, which includes many of the best chateau, a world heritage site. Listed are many of the more famous
Loire chateau -- you will have to decide yourself on which ones to visit. They
accessible from anywhere within the region and also France's capital city, Paris.