Every where you read about the Loire Valley you will read of amazing towns with amazing chateaux – and indeed there are many mind blowingly beautiful chateaux to visit. First of all to clear up its official name is in fact Centre. However this is often joined to with Val de Loire to make Centre – Val de Loire, which is often in turn simply referred to as the Loire Valley. The Loire is the resplendent river that runs through it along which the largest towns of the region are perched.
Orleans is the capital of the region and has a rich and fascinating history. In the middle ages this city was oft where the intellectuals of France would air their ideas and became a Mecca for artists and creative thinkers. However it probably gained most of its modern day fame from the stories of Joan D’Arc a French heroine who united the people and drove out the English. The town has many tributes to her to this day in the form of statues and monuments not to mention in the stained glass of the Sainte-Croix Cathedral. If you are thinking of visiting this town perhaps a date to keep in your diary is May 08: Joan D’Arc Day.
But this area has other splendid cathedrals including a couple which are regarded as among the finest in France. One of these is in Bourges, the Cathedral St – Etienne that was built in the 12th century. The other major cathedral of the area is The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (Notre-Dame), which is considered, by some, to be one of the finest pieces of gothic architecture on the planet. However the Loire Valley is dotted with many cities, towns and villages offering insights into a way of life long left behind through their stunning architecture.
But obviously this region does have a life outside the urban areas. The Loire Valley itself has some really stunning scenery and encourages long, lazy walks and gentle cycle rides. Disappear down winding country lanes and pick the period you are travelling in. The Loire itself is a fantastic haven of adventure and offers scenic boat trips as well as many other opportunities to enjoy the water.
The region is also home to many famous wines, including Sancerre, and of course, being France, there is also the temptation of many fabulous restaurants!
This really is a region that has to be seen to be fully appreciated and makes for an ideal holiday or vacation rental!
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