A popular tourist destination, the Loire Valley is a region in the center of France, regarded for its spectacular scenery, splendid chateaux, picturesque vineyards and historic villages.
Covering an area of 310 square miles, the Loire Valley stretches 175 miles along the Loire River, twisting and turning through some of France’s most beautiful villages such as Amboise where Leonardo da Vinci lived the last few years of his life. Other historic villages in the region include Tours, Chinon, Anglers, Saumur and Orleans. The town of Blois is significant for its chateau where French kings and aristocrats often met.
The valley’s biggest attraction is its large number of chateaux scattered throughout the rolling green hills. Ranging from grand country manors to defense fortresses and luxurious palaces, these chateaux were built by French nobility. Some of the most famous chateaux include Chambord, Amboise, Rivau, Chinon and Chenonceau.
The Loire Valley is nicknamed the “Garden of France” because of its abundance of flower gardens, fruit orchards and vineyards all made lush and fertile by the nourishment of the Cher, Loiret, Eure and Loire rivers. The valley is home to many wineries that offer tours and wine tastings.
Additionally, the Loire Valley is home to a vast cave complex known as the Troglodyte Caves. These impressive caves house hotels, museums, restaurants and shops.
The Loire Valley can be explored by hiking, biking, trains, buses and ferries.