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.

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.

Europ’Amazones: Side-saddling Horsewomen Bring Pageantry, Sport and Elegance to Lion d’Angers

Versailles’s got its royal stables, Chantilly’s got its noble horse museum and Saumur’s got its Cadre Noir, but for me as a horse-lover watching the horsewomen at the National Stud Farm at Le Lion d'Angers is paradise. By Justyna Gawąd

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.
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).
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.

Travel Beyond the Clichés While Looking Back In Angers

It was a slow news day in Angers, and probably too in the surrounding swath of the Loire Valley, when I arrived to speak...

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...

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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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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