Highlights of the Loire Region
The Loire is a land of Kings, Queens, castles, chateaux, rivers and valleys, vineyards and wine, people and places - so much to see, experience and enjoy that you will be spoilt for choice.
Wine Villages and Vineyards
As a wine tourist you will be impressed by the emphasis on vineyards and grapes in the Loire. Throughout the region you will find highway roundabouts with often colourful and innovative landscaping used to delineate the various wine appellations. The one shown is in the Bourgueil appellation.
The Abbey of Fontevraud
The Abbey of Fontevraud is the ancient burial place of the Plantagenets who were the Counts of Anjou, Ducs of Normandie and Aquitaine and then for over three hundred years Kings of England. The Abbey was founded at the end of the eleventh century and rapidly grew in power under the Plantagenets with influence in throughout France and also Spain and England. An impressive and interesting visit.
Chinon is an attractive old fortified town with cobbled streets and pleasant restaurants. It is dominated by the Chateau of Chinon, a medieval fortress, that was built high above the River Vienne to protect the valley. History tells that it was here, in the Great Hall, that Joan of Arc recognised the Dauphin. It was also here that Richard the Lionheart came when fatally wounded. Worth a visit and a great place to enjoy the famous Chinon red wines.
Food and Cuisine
Village markets are as colourful and well-stocked as any other part of France with excellent displays of fresh produce. Fish is always especially good - look at those salmon! Being a tourist destination, the Loire has an abundance of excellent restaurants ranging from the cheap "truckie" roadside stops to sophisticated fine dining with an emphasis on regional cuisine.
Clisson is an old but delightful town in a valley between the Sevre and the Maine rivers in the Nantes wine district. The Wars of the Vendée, at the end of the 18th century, left the town in ruins, however the arrival of three artists who were infatuated with Italy marked the beginning of a veritable renaissance . Today the town reflects the architecture of an Italian town. Delightful and a very pleasant visit.
GRAND CHATEAUX of the LOIRE
There are over 300 chateaux in the Loire Valley including famous and grand structures like Beaufort, Cheverny, Amboise, Château de Chaumont, Chambord, Blois, Sully-sur-Loire and Château de Chenonceau.
Château de Chenonceau
Of all the romantic "fairytale" chateaux in the Loire this is a favourite of ours and thousands of other visitors. The Château de Chenonceau is near the small village of Chenonceaux, and was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher. The current castle was constructed between 1515 and 1521. This is a very impressive visit with the entire castle open for inspection. Each room is exquisitely furnished and tapestries adorn the walls. The gardens are very attractive (the photograph shows the Diane de Poitiers' garden and fountain).