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Loire Valley

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Loire Valley and its chateaux

intro page

General information on the Loire valley

 
 

Tours

 

Chambord

 

Blois

 

Amboise

 

Chenonceau

 

Azay le Rideau

 

When I advise somebody to include a visit to the chateaux de la Loire in their France visit, I get often the same reply: “ Will all these chateaux not be boring at last? “ No, no, I repeat with conviction, despite I can understand the fear of the people.
A voyage along the Loire and its affluents is a confrontation of a long necklace where one pearl after the other is added, sometimes in high tempo. Just recovering from a groovy Renaissance castle, you are overwhelmed by another robust medieval stronghold. And this can go on the whole day, with the risk that after a few you have the feeling: “I’ve have had it!” But this is not the way I experienced it.

Chateau de Blois

A part from the fact that each time other aspects, anecdotes and architectural differences play an important role, looking at chateaux is letting your fantasy go unbridled. How a prince organized a Burgundian gala dinner in one of the halls, where the nobility tried to come the nearest possible to the queen and what the adulterine mistress had to undergo to let her lover in her bed!
Gustave Flaubert write once in his book: “Along the Loire” Among the amusing artefacts that you can find in Chenonceau, is the bed of Diane de Poitiers, a canopy bed from the royal concubine, covered with white and red damask. If it was mine, I would not resist lying down once in a while. To sleep in the bed of Diane de Poitiers, even empty, is much more exciting than sleeping in other bed with much more touchable realities. Imagine, if you are part of those who have imagination, the incredible, historical and 16th century voluptuousness, to put your head on the pillow and the mattress of the concubine of Henri II. . Oh! How would I like to exchange all the women in the world against the mummy of Cleopatra!”

Chateau de Chambord

Without going that far ;-), the question of the excess of Loire chateaux would not be boring at last, conforms the false idea people have about the Loire valley country. As if it was only a region with a river and castles. The region has so much more to offer. You have the soft escarped landscapes of BEAUCE where waving wheat fields are punctured with vivid yellow sunflowers. You have SOLOGNE forming with its pools and bushes and genuine paradise for game hunters. And then there is the TOURAINE, called the garden of France by Rabelais, since it was overloaded with fruit, vegetables and flowers. Let’s not forget the reputed vineyards changing the face of the landscapes every year and idea for a wine–tour. From the reputed pouilly-fume in the east to a full bodied bourgeuil and sparkling Anjou to the west.
The Loire, practically not navigable, has a lot of side rivers like the Indre, Loir and Cher, giving good possibilities for a relaxed holiday in and along the water. In several village you can hire canoes, water bikes, windsurf boards, sail boats etc….  

 

Chinon

 

Villandry

 

Langeais

 

Cheverny

 

Loches

 

Ussé