What to see in France
Tourist attractions Loire Valley
Known as the ‘Garden of France’, the Loire Valley covers a whopping 800 square kilometres of central France, situated around the Loire River. Stretching from the outskirts of Paris to the Atlantic Coast, the Loire Valley is famed for its vineyards, orchards and idyllic chateaux, of which there are more than 300 in the region alone! If you travel to the Loire Valley you’ll also find a number of charming historic towns, such as Tours, Amboise, Angers, Blois and Chinon, among others. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Loire Valley is a dream travel destination for lovers of wine, art, architecture and French culture.
As one of the world’s best-known and well-revered wine-producing regions, a trip to the Loire Valley is sure to include numerous vineyard tours and wine tastings. The Loire River gives the region a unique microclimate, with temperate year-round weather, perfect for producing the fruity, delicate wines that the region is known for. Many of the vineyards are overlooked by elegant chateaux, another of the highlights of a holiday to the Loire Valley. The chateaux of the Loire Valley were constructed by French kings and nobility as feudal castles over the course of the last millennia, so you can expect to find these historic mansions in all shapes and sizes.
Home to 1000 years of culture and architecture, the sweeping Loire Valley is a favourite destination for cyclists, thanks to its 900 kilometres of cycling paths. Cycling is the best way to experience the natural beauty of the region and if you travel to the Loire Valley we recommend hiring a bicycle to enjoy the endless vineyards and countryside as you travel between charming chateaux and historic towns.
What to see in the Loire Valley
Depending on your own tastes, there are limitless things to see and do in the Loire Valley. If you enjoy the great outdoors, you cannot travel to the Loire Valley without taking a cycling tour. The Loire a Velo Cycle Path follows the path of the Loire River for more than 900 kilometres, but you can also enjoy much shorter sections of the path, for example, through the cosmopolitan city of Orleans, known for its restored historic centre.
If you’d prefer to spend your Loire Valley holiday is a less energetic manner, the vineyards of the Loire Valley are sure to tempt you with their long history, fabulous wines and awe-inspiring scenery. There are more than 1000 vineyards open to the public in the region, so you’re never far away from your next tipple when visiting the Loire Valley. Some of the most notable vineyards and wine cellars include Bouvet-Ladubay, home to 10 miles of wine cellars and known for its sparkling varieties, and the impressive Plou et Fils, in the shadow of Chateau d’Amboise on the banks of the Loire River. If you have the chance, there’s also plenty of underground cave cellars to explore, such as the Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray, where you can savour the delicious flavours of French wine in an unforgettable setting!
Of course, a tour of the Loire Valley would be incomplete without visiting some of its most prestigious chateaux. Although each of the chateaux of the Loire Valley is unique and beautiful, there are a few which really stand out and are considered to be unmissable sights on a tour of the Loire Valley. The Chateau de Chambord, just a few kilometres outside of the town of Blois, is one of the most magnificent in the entire Loire Valley. This opulent 16th-century chateau, constructed by Francois I, is a fine example of French Renaissance architecture and is the most visited chateau in the whole region. The sheer size of this palatial building is sure to leave you speechless. Home to more than 426 rooms and vast formal gardens, you’ll also find, vegetable gardens, stables and vineyards within this extensive and fascinating complex.
For something a little different, the Chateau de Chenonceau stands out from the rest as it is built upon the Cher River, part bridge, part elegant chateau! Constructed in the early 16th-century, this romantic river-spanning chateau oozes faded elegance and was once a centre of French fashionable society under saloniste Madame Dupin in the 18th-century. With an amazing natural setting on the Loire River, it’s crisp white facade is completed by fairytale turrets. The interior is just as impressive as the outside, home to an amazing art collection including works from masters such as Van Dyck and Rubens. Chateau de Chenonceau is a must-visit during a trip to the Loire Valley.
Finally, if you travel to the Loire Valley, be sure to explore the town of Angers, situated at the edge of the Loire Valley region. This historic city is home to the wow-factor Chateau d'Angers, an imposing fortress, complete with seventeen huge towers, and home to the world’s largest medieval tapestry. A haven of cultural tourism, Angers was once the seat of the famous Plantagenet dynasty and its half-timbered houses are sure to transport you back to the days of medieval France.