Loire Valley Guide – 7 Superb Highlights

By • Jun 19th, 2013 • Category: Loire Valley

Loire Valley Guide

Loire Valley guide

License: Wikipedia Commons

Want a holiday where you think you’ve died and gone to heaven? Then why not visit the wonderful Loire Valley in France. For plenty of good reasons, it is often referred to as the “Garden of France” for it is a beautiful area of flowers, vineyards and rolling hills which is proud of its numerous chateaux (castles).  The following Loire Valley guide can help holiday planners begin to understand the charm offered by this valley that has caused it to be sought by writers and poets.  Loire Valley is a step back in history and allows the visitor to enjoy some of France’s finest art works.

Guide to attractions in Loire Valley

1. Blois: Throughout the ages, the famous Castle of Blois has been linked to the Kings of France.  Each Wednesday, the Castle features a night Spectacle designed for the enjoyment of English speaking visitors.  Other places to visit in the area include the International Festival of Parks, held from June through October at Chaumont-sur Loire.  Visitors will not want to miss the chateaux of Beauregard.
2. Bourges at Night: Bourges is located in the geographical center of France and is a town rich in history with stone paved streets, medieval as well as Renaissance architecture, the hilltop Gothic Cathedral of St-Etienne and ancient ramparts. In the surrounding area,m places of interest include Norlac Abbey, the Nohant House of George Sand and château o’ Meillant.  Visitors will want to take time for Sancerre for some of its famous white wines.  The Illuminated Nights of Bourges make it an interesting place to stay in the summer.  During this time certain buildings and monuments in the town are brought to life with light and music.
3. Cathedral Chartres: The Cathederal of Chartes is world famous and the location called the Acropolis of France by Rodin.  This cathedral is a beautiful piece of medieval architecture.  Visitors will want to take time the sculptures, stain glassed dating to the 12th and 13th century and the amazing ancient musical instrument collection.
At the foot of the cathedral, visitors will find the Old Town, with cobbled streets, gabled homes and charming foot bridges dating to medieval times.  The Castles of Maintenon and Anet are other nearby places of interest.
4. Chateau de Chambord: This is the largest of all the castles in the Loire Valley.  It is a magnificent Renaissance castle built by Francois I and is surrounded by a large hunting preserve and park that visitors can admire from a horse drawn carriage.  Nearby the Chateau of Cheverny may be admired either from the ground or one of the captive balloons.
5. Chateau de Chenonceau Amboise/Chenonceaux:  Ambroise, located under the shadow of the royal castle is a beautiful town to visit.  The stone houses that comprise the city were built in the 15th century.  Nearby, visitors can spend time at Cbs Luce, once home to Leonardo da Vinci.  Nearby, the Ladies Castle, built by one of the great queens of France offers spectacular views of the Cher River.
6. Orleans France: At one time Orleans was the second largest city in France and is currently the vinegar capital of the country.  Joan of Arc liberated Orleans from the British in 1429.  Annually, in May, a celebration is held to commemorate her exploits.  Visitors can see the house in which she stayed for the ten-day siege of the city.  In addition, the city features Hotel Groslot, a Renaissance brick and stone mansion that has served as both the Town Hall and the St-Croix Gothic Cathedral.  In the surrounding area places of interest include Sully-sur-Loire and Chamerolles.
7. Tours France: Located at the junction of two rivers, Tours, a busy university town, is the traditional departure point from which visitors explore the Loire Valley.  It was one of Europe’s great pilgrimage sites during the Middle Ages.  Today, visitors can see wonderful mansions that span several ages, the famous Plumereau square, many museums and the Cathedral of St-Gatien.  Here visitors can see Usse, the original Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

There are many ways to enjoy your time in this wonderful area of France, and in terms of accommodation you can choose from hotels, gites or hire private villas or apartments. This depends on what style of accommodation you prefer.

Author Bio: The author, Grace, loves to travel to France whenever time and money allows. She decided to buy a holiday home there a year ago and now makes money from renting it out, but also uses it herself. She found a helpful site which has very specific information when it comes to holiday home insurance in France as this was new territory for her. This site also has lots of information about towns in France, holiday home rentals and cultural advice. If you need to learn more about France click on the link above for holiday home insurance in France.

Guide to Loire Valley Resources

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Video: Enjoy the Chateaux of the Loire Valley

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