Located just two hours drive from Paris, the Loire Valley is the most historic region in France. This area of the country has a cultural landscape of great beauty containing cities and towns rich in history (Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours), and above all great architectural monuments such as its famous castles (châteaux). As for agriculture, the Loire Valley is among the most famous and well-known wine regions of France. In this area, in fact, famous and fine white wines are produced, for their production Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc grapes are used. In 2000 UNESCO declared the Loire Valley and its castles a world heritage site.
The Castles of the Loire were built from the 10th century to the 18th century by the aristocracy and the kings of France as their summer homes. They represent one of the most famous testimonies of the French Renaissance. In fact most were built between the 15th and 16th centuries, this was the golden age of the Loire castles. Many castles can be visited, they are all dwellings of magnificent workmanship and great architectural beauty characterized by a great diffusion of architectural decorations.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: WHAT TO VISIT IN THE LOIRE VALLEY
The Loire Valley area is rich in over 300 castles. The most famous castles are located along the valleys of the Loire, Loir, Indre, Cher and Vienne rivers.
THE CASTLES OF THE LOIRA RIVER VALLEY
Most of the castles are located along the course of the Loire river: among these we can mention the Castle of Briare, the Castle of Saint-Brisson, the Castle of Gien, Castle of Sully-sur-Loire, the Castle of Châteauneuf-sur- Loire, Ardon Castle, Meung-sur-Loire Castle, Ménars Castle, Talcy Castle, Chambord Castle, Blois Castle, Villesavin Castle, Cheverny Castle, Beauregard Castle, Chaumont Castle, Castle of Amboise, Castle of la Bourdaisière, Castle of Clos-Lucé, Castle of Langeais, Castle of Gizeux, Castle of Les Réaux, Castle of Montsoreau, Castle of Montreuil-Bellay, Castle of Saumur, Castle of Boumois, Castle of Brissac , Montgeoffroy Castle, Angers Castle, Serrant Castle, Plessis-Bourré Castle.
THE CASTLES OF THE LOIR RIVER VALLEY
Other castles are also found along the course of the River Loir: Châteaudun Castle, Montigny Castle, Vendôme Castle, Lavardin Castle, Lude Castle, Baugé Castle.
THE CASTLES OF THE INDRE RIVER VALLEY
But also the valley of the Indre river has beautiful castles: Loches Castle, Azay-le-Rideau Castle, Saché Castle, Ussé Castle.
THE CASTLES OF THE CHER RIVER VALLEY
Along the river Cher there are other beautiful castles: Selles-sur-Cher Castle, Valençay Castle, Saint-Aignan Castle, Gué-Péan Castle, Montrichard Castle, Chissay Castle, Chenonceau Castle, Château de Villandry.
THE CASTLES OF THE VIENNE RIVER VALLEY
Along the course of the Vienne river are: the Castle of Le Rivau and the Castle of Chinon. Other castles are also: Apremont Castle, Azay-le-Ferron Castle, Bouges Castle, Craon Castle, Oiron Castle, Fougères-sur-Bievre Castle, and Montpoupon Castle.
In 2000 UNESCO declared the Loire Valley a world heritage site. The Loire Valley represents the largest French site included in the UNESCO list. In fact, it extends for 280 km between Sully-sur-Loire and Maine, in the departments of Indre-et-Loire, Loiret, Loire-et-Cher (Central Region) and Maine-et-Loire (Pays de Loire Region). In total, 159 municipalities in the Loire Valley are included on the UNESCO list.
Among the most interesting castles to visit, and unfortunately also among the most crowded by tourists, we can mention the castles of Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceaux, Azay le Rideau, Ussè, Valençay, Villandry, Chaumont and Langeais. For reasons of historical, artistic interest, combined with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire region, we recommend a visit to Fontevraud Abbey, a complex of monastic buildings with a beautiful Romanesque church.