The Loire Valley is south west of Paris renowned for wonderful French cuisine, vineyards and its beautiful Châteaux. There are over 1000 Châteaux in the Loire region and of particular note are Château de Blois, Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, and some of the best known cities are Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chartres, Le Mans, Nantes, Orleans, Saumur and Tours. The Loire Valley is part of the Pays de Loire region of France encompassing ancient walled towns, forests, verdant river valleys, mild climate, and spectacular Châteaux, to what France is synonymous with for a lot of people, food, and wine. Considered to be one of the most beautiful wine regions it is home to well-known terroirs such as the dry white Pouilly-Fumé with its distinctive flavours, rich aromas and beguiling perfume. Sancerre dry white produced in the Eastern end of the Loire Valley; Touraine where the grape variety is largely centred on Chenin Blanc with the better known wines being Vouvray, Montelouis renowned for being fresh, fruity and smooth. Some of the best Loire red wine hales from this area Bourgueil and Chinon being two of the most popular. The Anjou-Saumur region next to Touraine produces a white wine Chenin Blanc which is relatively smooth and dry. Muscadet is known for its refreshingly dry white wine from the Muscadet grape. Food is an intrinsic part of any holiday in France and the Loire Valley is no exception. From its game, beef, pork and lamb to the abundance of seafood and shellfish to the many farms that supply in season vegetables and fruit in fact the Loire region produces 20% of the apple and pear harvest in France, the area is often referred to the as the Garden of France.
The house and gardens of Leonardo da Vinci at the Clos Lucé is a fascinating and enlightening experience. In 1515 François I invited Leonardo to come to France, the following year he arrived at the Château de Clos Lucé bringing with him three paintings, the Mona Lisa, Saint Joseph the Baptist and the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne after journeying across the Alps by mule.
Highlights of the region, gastronomy, leisure, art and culture www.westernfrancetouristboard.com
Leonardo da Vinci www.vinci-closluce.com
The Royal Château of Amboise www.chateau-amboise.com
Lists a lot of the historic monuments of France www.monuments-nationaux.fr
Château & Gardens at Beauregard www.beauregard-loire.com
Château of Blois www.chateaudeblois.fr
Château Chambord www.chambord.org
Château de Chenonceau www.chenonceau.com
Château de Cherverny www.chateau-cheverny.com
Château de Villandry www.chateauvillandry.com
The above Château links are but a few as there are more than 1000 in the Loire region of which 120 approximately are open to the public