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Festivals, exhibitions, concerts and major events... On France.fr and everywhere in France, there's always something going on.

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Visit outstanding cultural attractions or take a hike amongst the peaks? A romantic tour of the wine route or a family cruise? What will this year's
French holiday bring?

Discover must-see sites in the Loire Valley

The « Châteaux de la Loire » :The Châteaux are dotted throughout the Loire Valley, but only 21 qualify as "Great Sites of the Loire Valley (External link)". To mention just a few, these include the famous châteaux of Chenonceau, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Chambord, Azay-le-Rideau, Amboise, Sully-sur-Loire, Blois... Great protagonists of the history of France have passed through their doors: Francis I, Catherine de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Joan of Arc and many others. These jewels of the Renaissance contribute to the fame of the Val de Loire, 280 km of which has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Celebrate Christmas in the Loire Valley! Following in the footsteps of the Château of Chenonceau and Château of Amboise, a number of the great LoireValley châteaux have joined forces to provide an offer for the holiday season. The idea is to combine the festiveatmosphere of Advent with that of places with exceptional heritage. From December through to the beginning ofJanuary, facilities and events are organised in the châteaux offering visitors the opportunity to delve everyday into the enchanting world of the end of year festivities, with frost on the windows and fires in the fireplaces.

City breaks in Tours / Blois / Orléans :

Tours (External link) is the main getaways: 1 hour by TGV train from Paris, 1h40 from Roissy CDG. It is a student-heavy, friendly, gourmet and creative city, with other qualities still. The rapidly changing historic capital of the Loire Valley is an ideal stopover for a super city break. The opening in March 2017 of the brand new Olivier Debré Contemporary Creation Centre (CCCOD) (External link), designed by Portuguese architects Francisco-Xavier and Manuel-Roca Mateus, will be a perfect pretext to come and visit the city.

Suggested accommodation: Château Belmont 4* (External link) or Hôtel Oceania L’Univers 4* (External link)

Orléans (External link), the regional capital : from Paris,1 hour by train & 1h30 by car Royal Orléans has an exceptional heritage for which it has been certified as a “City of Art and History”. A city of infinite attraction and appeal, with the charm of its past tightly interwoven with its present and alive more than ever in the beating heart of its old district which has been beautifully redeveloped, in the monuments which tell its two-thousand-year history, in the ever faithful recollection of its heroine Joan of Arc, in its quays which are put to magnificent use, where the Loire never fails to provide a great show, and in its gardens and outstanding parks.

Suggested accommodation: Empreinte Hôtel 4* (External link) or Escale Oceania Orléans 3* (External link)

Blois (External link), an enchanting royal city laid out around its Royal Château, can be visited day or at night : a fresh perspective on this city, once the high seat of the royal court :

* Visit of the city and its historic districts in a horse-drawn carriage (External link)

* Behind the door visits of the château (External link): take a look behind the doors of the Château that are normally closed to the public: roof spaces, fortifications, some of the apartments...

* Night-time visits (External link) of the city: by lantern light, visitors can push open the doors to town houses and climb the many staircases in the city’s historic districts.

Bonus : Sound & Light show (External link) at the château every evening from April to September (available in English)

La Loire à Vélo cycling trail
Extensive and particular at the same time, La Loire à Vélo itinerary (External link) offers a unique outdoor holiday to enjoy with family or friends. Nearly 1 million tourists cycle along the route every year. Its eco-responsible reputation, links with other cycle routes and exceptional itinerary attract cyclists from all over Europe as well as Canada, the USA and even Australia.

In 2012 La Loire à Vélo was declared the “Best European Tourism Project” by the British Guild of Travel Writers, who described it as “the longest and most ambitious eco-tourism project of the decade."

The Loire vineyards (External link)
Red, rosé, white, sparkling, half-dry, sweet or liquoreux: so many wonderful wines to taste in the Loire Valley; so many wine pairings with fine food; so many memorable convivial moments. The Loire Valley is France's third most important winemaking region. It represents the balance point between South and North, sweetness and freshness, art and literature, tradition and modernity. It is from these harmonious combinations, enhanced by a temperate climate and rich terroirs, that a highly vibrant diversity of wines (about 85 appellations) is born.

Three ideas for visits:
- An invitation from Myriam to “Meet in the Vineyard” (External link)- Guided walking tours in the vineyard at dusk, commentated tasting and lunch among the vines, pruning workshops, grape harvest themed day, etc. (visits available in English).
- Also near Vouvray, try the wines of the American wine maker Peter Hahn at Le Clos de la Meslerie (External link)
- "House of Wines" in Cheverny and Chambord (External link) – An original and unique self-service tasting experience provided through a glass with an electronic chip. Chambord's location just opened in 2015. Visitors are immersed in a clean, modern environment, walking on glass floor panels, below which bottles are stored.

Find Loire Valley online:

Twitter: @loirevalleypr (External link)

Instagram: @loirechateaux (External link)

Facebook: Loire Chateaux (External link)

www.valdeloire-france.co.uk (External link) / www.loire-chateaux.co.uk (External link) / www.cycling-loire.com (External link)