The Loire Valley: what to do, what to see…

This region of France does things on the large scale, 280 kms of natural landscapes of classified UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As a backdrop backdrop, the Europe’s longest river, the Loire, which flows past some 20 castles to visit and just as many stories and histories to be rediscovered, fragrant gardens to inhale, forest to explore and wines to taste... Go on a journey of discovery of the Loire Valley, which is ready and waiting to offer you all its jewel-like heritage. 

Not to miss

The castle of Chambord

He’s kind of the star of the Loire Valley castles! As early as 1519, Francis Ist wanted to make this hunting palace the symbol of his power, and it was successful.The plan of the monumental castle is designed around the famous staircase with double revolutions, influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. Inside, one can visit 60 rooms that house a rich collection of Its more than 5,000 hectare forest park is a hunting reserve populated by deer, deer and wild boar.

Castles, large or small

There are 22 castles, scattered along the Loire and its tributaries, to tell a part of the History of France. Many were built during the Renaissance, in the 15th and 16th century, when the court of the kings of France settled in Val de Loire, a territory now inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether they have been inhabited by sovereigns or nobles, these castles are majestic and moving, hide treasures, and embark you on a wonderful journey through time and water.

• Château de Chenonceau
Renaissance architecture in all its delicacy! The galleries of Chenonceau span the Cher with grace, and its art collections are priceless. It pleased the leading women like Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Louise de Lorraine, Louise Dupin, who each brought their own touch to the layout of the building, the furniture, the gardens.

• Le château royal d’Amboise et le Clos-Lucé
Charles VIII et François Ier ont élu domicile dans cette forteresse médiévale au-dessus de la Loire. Le premier l’a transformée en palais gothique ; le second lui a donné un air italien, et surtout, y a convié Léonard de Vinci (which is buried there). An underground gallery then connected the castle to the Clos-Lucé, a nearby marina, where the Italian genius lived for three years, leaving his workshop, sketches, models, inventions…

The castle and gardens of Villandry
The castle was built in 1532 on the site of a fortress, and it is to a Spanish-American couple, at the beginning of the 20th century, that we owe its restoration. In addition to the interior decoration, the beautiful theme gardens, including a green maze and a decorative vegetable garden, will amaze you.

• Château d'Azay-le-Rideau
Built in the 16th century on an island in the middle of the Indre, like on a water mirror, the Renaissance castle is a gem of tuffeau stone, a masterpiece of harmony.Today, the living room of the Marquis of Biencourt has regained its splendour, with more than 80 furniture and art objects, typical of the 19th century.

• The Royal Castle of Blois
No less than 17 kings and queens inhabited it, between the 13th and 17th centuries! Through its royal apartments and the Museum of Fine Arts, housed in one of its wings, the Château de Blois delivers the secrets of 400 years of French history…

• Downtown Tours and Saint Gatien Cathedral
The old Towers have something to seduce lovers of heritage… and terraces! Go to Plumereau square (Plum'for the initiates), bordered by 15th century half-timbered houses, where the numerous cafes-bars are lively at all hours. We also love Saint-Gatien Cathedral, built from the 12th century, and its superb 13th century stained glass windows.

Nantes
In Nantes, we go from one effervescence to the other. We visit the medieval castle of the Dukes of Brittany, we walk the shopping galleries of the Pommeraye Passage, we embark for a poetic journey in the carousel from the marine worlds and the machinery gallery, we are immersed in culture at the arts museum, which exhibits 12,000 works over 7 centuries… A whole program!

• Towers
Recently opened in the historic centre of Tours, the CCC OD puts a spotlight on contemporary artists, as well as on the works of Olivier Debré, master of abstraction. After the culture, the nature: we go for a walk in the Parc de la gloriette, a green lung of nearly 200 hectares south of the city.

• The cellars of Sancerre
Among the wines of the Loire, the Sancerre occupies 3,000 hectares of vineyards, on the left bank of the river, in the Cher. Vineyards have been awarded the label «Vineyards and Discoveries», a guarantee of quality hospitality in wine tourism. It is up to you to choose among the fifteen or so winemakers who particularly love to share their passion, from generation to generation. They will make you taste subtle whites, amazing reds and fruity rosés.

• The Château de Chenonceau
• The Royal Châteaux of Amboise and Clos-Lucé
• The Château de Villandry and its gardens 
• The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau
• The Château de Chambord 
• Tours city centre and the Cathedral of Saint-Gatien
• Nantes
• The Olivier Debré contemporary arts centre in Tours
• The cellars of Sancerrre
• The Royal Château de Blois

WHAT TO DO

• Conquer the Royal Fortress of Chinon
• Marvel at the technical prowess of the Scénoféerie historical reenactment performances at Semblançay
• Spend an afternoon with a good book in the Parc de la Gloriette in Tours
• Hit the wine trail on your quest for some of the world’s best wines 
• Stroll around the historic heart of Tours
• Follow in the footsteps of Leonardo de Vinci at Amboise
• Cool off in Lake Malagué
• Linger in the Terra Botanica garden in Angers
• Inhale the fragrance of each flower at the Chaumont-sur-Loire Garden Festival 
• Follow the curves of the Loire by bike  

Getting to the Loire Valley 

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