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.

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.
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).

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.

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.

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...

“New Wine From France”: Documentary By American Jeanne Bernard Examines Biodynamic Vineyards in the...

An interview with Jeanne Bernard, an American from Louisiana living in Paris, author of “New Wine From France,” a documentary about biodynamic wine in France.

Great Encounters: Blois

Even without knowing much of the historical bla-bla about Blois, this Loire Valley town is a place of fascinating, magical, entertaining and tasty encounters. So before describing why Blois is considered the linchpin of understanding the history and architecture of the Loire Valley I’d like to introduce you to some of the people and characters that I encountered during a day of research throughout the town.

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.

Equitation in the French Tradition Joins List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage has inscribed equitation in the French tradition, with specific reference to the Cadre Noir of...

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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