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What to see in Loire Valley

Loire Valley Attractions


The Loire Valley is chateaux country, a land of aristocratic pleasures where you could easily spend a fantastic holiday doing nothing but exploring castles, mansions and fortresses. The region is enduringly popular and there are many attractions in the Loire Valley which also has some great museums and cathedrals, not to mention lovely gardens.

Topping the list of things to see and do in the Loire Valley are the chateaux and there are many to choose from. Some of the best and most popular are the Chateau d'Angers, with its famous Tapestry of the Apocalypse, the Chateau d'Usse, which inspired the Disney palace, the Chateau de Langeais, the Chateau de Chambord, which is the biggest chateau in the Loire Valley, the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River, the Chateau de Cheverny, and the magnificent Chateau de Chenonceau, possibly the most celebrated of them all. One of the most delightful chateaux is to be found in the little village of Villandry but it is not the building so much as the astoundingly creative gardens that draw so many visitors.

The Loire Valley is blessed with plenty of impressive architecture and the cities and villages do not disappoint, even though some of them, like Tours, were damaged in the war. Amboise is a Renaissance town, once the favorite residence of Leonardo de Vinci, which has preserved its old-world charm despite its enormous popularity with tourists; and Blois has compromised fairly well between modernisation and the maintenance of its medieval appeal. Angers and Tours are both good bases from which to explore the Loire Valley region. The city of Orleans, which still celebrates its liberation from the English by Joan of Arc, remains a picturesque and interesting place to stay. The lesser known city of Chartres is worth visiting just for its magnificent Gothic cathedral, which has world-renowned stained glass windows and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Amboise

On the banks of the Loire, 20 miles (32km) east of Tours, is the Renaissance town of Amboise, a popular holiday destination.…

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Angers

The holiday destination of Angers straddles the Maine River, towards the west of the Loire Valley, and is a popular base…

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Blois

Much of the historic ambience of medieval Blois remains preserved in its white-washed houses and narrow cobbled alleys,…

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Château d'Angers

A kilometre-long wall, studded with 17 circular towers, surrounds this vast medieval fortress, which was never conquered…

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Château d'Ussé

The magnificent Château d'Ussé overlooks the Indre River, and was built by Charles VII in the mid-15th century.…

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Château de Chambord

Eleven miles (18km) east of Blois, the vast Château de Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley.…

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Château de Chenonceau

Only a few miles outside Tours, on the River Cher, the Château de Chenonceau is probably the most celebrated of…

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Fontevraud Abbey

Built in the 12th century, Fontevraud Abbey is thought to be the site of the graves of King Henry II of England, his…

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Orléans

There was a time when Orleans was the second most important city in France after Paris; today it is a modest and attractive…

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Puy du Fou

Puy du Fou is a historical themepark in western France which attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year, making it the…

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Saumur

Saumur is located at the confluence of the Loire and Thouet rivers in the Loire Valley. The region is known for producing…

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Tours

Located at the junction of the Loire and the Cher Rivers, the holiday destination of Tours is a great base for exploring…

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Villandry

Five miles (8km) outside of Tours is the tiny village of Villandry and its wonderful château. The chateau is impressive,…

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