Known as the Garden of France, the Loire Valley lies in a lush pastoral landscape that has traditionally provided some of the agricultural treasures of France, from vineyard grapes to regional cheeses. Come here to explore the countryside and wander the narrow side streets of historic villages like Amboise, Nantes, Chinon and Orleans.
The Loire Valley is also known for its extraordinary architectural heritage, its cultural monuments, and its castles. There are over 300 preserved castles in this area, also called chateaux, dating back to the 10th century. Come here to tour some of these elegant structures and the formal gardens that surround them and learn more about the architecture, culture and history of this region.
Here are a few specific suggestions of things to do and see while in the Loire Valley:
- Visit the Chartres Cathedral: Admire the breathtaking stained glass windows and gothic architecture of this cathedral that has now been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Take scenic boat tour down the Loire River: This is a great way to see the chateaux and the gorgeous French countryside.
- Visit the Chateau de Chenonceau: This historic chateau was originally constructed in 1435. It was torn down and then rebuilt on its original foundations in 1522. Come here to explore the turrets and formal gardens of this magnificent palace.
- Explore the Fontevraud Abbey: Wander the grounds of this beautiful 12th century monastery. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart are buried here, among other famous names.
- See the Chateau Royal de Blois: This chateau was originally built in the 15th century and had wings added later by both Louis XII and Francois I. This is one of the best places to see fully decorated interiors, since many of its rooms possess an impressive collection of furniture and other artifacts.
- Explore the Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau: Unlike the other castles in the area, this one is surrounded by a lake and can only be entered by passing over a restored bridge.
You'll easily find the perfect vacation rental in the villages and towns along the Loire Valley. Stay in a chateau of your own or find a charming condo that meets every one of your needs. While you're here, explore the elegant old village of Angers, the stately countryside surrounding Blois, and the historic heart of Orleans and Nantes.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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