Feel Loire Valley: Regal Riverside Splendor & Gastronomy

South of Brittany and Normandy and just a short drive or train journey from Paris, the Loire Valley straddles the frontier between northern and southern France and is synonymous with majestic châteaux. Kings, queens and noblemen initially built important feudal structures here before turning their attention to palaces for leisure and pleasure – and now the valley is home to hundreds of France’s most extravagant architectural gems, and is the largest area in the country to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. If you love history and architecture, there are as many crenellated towers, spiral staircases and glittering banquet halls as your heart could ever desire in the Loire Valley. Read more at:

 

The Loire river and estuary are the lifeblood of this unique part of France, providing opportunities for canoeing, fishing and boat trips along its serene waters – or you can choose to soak up the scenery by bike. There are sleepy villages and vibrant, sophisticated towns to discover, including Tours, Angers, Orléans, Saumur, Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, as well as breathtaking gardens such as those at the Château de Villandry. The Loire Valley also moves to the beat of its many music festivals, the most popular being Printemps de Bourges and the Folle Journée in Nantes, while jazz plays an important role and is showcased at Jazz en Touraine and Jazz en Val de Cher. 

 

Celebrated by Rabelais and venerated by Gargantua, the cuisine of the Loire Valley – and the old provinces of Touraine and Berry – is an institution in itself. Among the numerous specialities are delicate freshwater fish, goats’ cheese and golden, oozing tarte Tatin. The Loire Valley’s fertile soil also provides ideal conditions for orchards and vineyards to thrive, and its wines (Bourgueil, Chinon, Vouvray, Cheverny, Anjou, Saumur, Sancerre and Muscadet to name a few) are renowned the world over.

 

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Click on the senses below to feel the Loire Valley

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