The Loire Valley & Surroundings

And what a rich and stunning valley it is! The Loire Valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the quality of its noble and royal architecture (the numerous chateaux), its historic towns (Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Blois, Tours, Chinon, Saumur, Angers) and the "harmonious development of interactions between human beings and their environment [e.g. vineyards, gardens] over two millennia." The Loire as explored here flows through two administration regions, Center-Loire Valley and Western Loire (Pays de la Loire). There’s much else to discover in these two regions: the cathedral towns of Chartres to the north and Bourges to the south, Le Mans in the rural department of Sarthe, the upbeat city of Nantes, and a portion of France’s Atlantic coast with the resort towns of La Baule and Les Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée) and the islands of Noirmoutier and Yeu.

Auberge du Templiers

Auberge des Templiers: Where the Relais & Châteaux Dream Began

Today’s Relais & Châteaux spans the globe from A(rgentina) to Z(ambia), with 544 resort/restaurant “members.” Of course, all this glamor had to start somewhere and “somewhere” turns out to be roughly 80 miles south of Paris, between Burgundy and the Loire Valley, at a quiet, family-run inn called the Auberge des Templiers.
Villandry

Loire Valley: Where There’s a Château There’s a Garden Waiting to Be Discovered

The chateaux of the Loire Valley each tell a story, many stories in fact, mostly told in limestone and slate. But not all of its stories are written in stone. Some are also told in vegetation (gardens, parks, woods and forests) and water (rivers, streams, canals and basins).
A glimpse of the chateau of Chaumont from the domain's International Garden Festival. Photo GLK.

Chaumont Playfully Imagines Gardens of the Future

Corinne LaBalme reports on the International Garden Festival at Chaumont, one of the most delightful castle ground strolls in the Loire Valley. With “Gardens from the Coming Century” as its theme for 2016, the festival presents the brave new world of flower beds, hydroponics and botanical fantasies. Castle-hoppers exploring the valley and day-trippers from Paris take note.

A Little Loop in the Loire Valley: A 2-day Cycling Route from Blois

There are those big biking trips that you spend months preparing. Then there are those short trips that begin with “Hey, it’s going to be nice out this weekend—let’s go biking… in the Loire Valley!” This little Loire loop—three days, two nights, including two days of biking—is of the latter kind. Beginning and ending in Blois...

Blois Castle: The Key to the Loire Valley

To Blois or not to Blois, that is the question that travelers ask when planning their itinerary of Loire Valley chateaux. Though not as photogenic as some the other stars of the valley, Blois, easily accessible from Paris, is in many ways the key to understanding royal history and architecture all along the Loire. This illustrated article examines the men and women who made Blois, followed by information about hotels, B&Bs and restaurants in Blois and in the surrounding area.

The Marquis, the Hounds and Château de Cheverny

The elegant Château de Cheverny is "chez moi" for Charles-Antoine de Vibraye and his family. Call him "marquis" if you like. His ancestors have resided on the premises for the better part of 600 years. Cheverny was one of the first private French estates to open its gates to the public, and de Vibraye welcomes on average 350,000 guests per year to his castle-sweet-castle.

Château de Beauregard: A Castle Road Less Taken

Tourists in the Loire Valley generally head only for the A-list castles. But for sightseers who dislike crowds and relish the possibility of running into a congenial chateau owner, quieter slices of 16th-century splendor are a few minutes away at the Chateau de Beauregard, 3 miles southeast of Blois.

Chambord, the Loire Valley’s XXL Château, Gets a Tourist Makeover

When you can't get any bigger, you just have to get better. Chambord, the massive chateau in the Loire Valley, 9 miles east of Blois, is in the midst of a major development plan (€4.5 million invested in 2014) to make the castle more user-friendly and, ultimately, self-financing.

Blond Girl in Saumur: When Our Eyes Met for the Second Time

A photo/video-log from the Saumur area of the Loire Valley in which Gary Lee Kraut remembers when travel was less about fooding and more about flirting, less about getting reservations and more about losing inhibitions, less about looking for recommendations and more about following your own nose.

Private Paris & France Tours

Award-winning travel writer and editor Gary Lee Kraut is the go-to guy for individuals and agencies seeking personalized tours, events and advice in Paris and throughout France.

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Sign up for the France Revisited Newsletter.

The France Revisited Newsletter is sent out periodically so as to keep you informed about the 4-6 new articles that we post each month along with information about festivals, events and touring opportunities.

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