Majestic châteaux, steeped in history and overflowing with treasures, vividly illustrate the long and colourful past of the Loire. These splendid buildings, frequented by France’s nobility for centuries, are set beside the mighty River Loire and provided the inspiration for the fairytale castles in Sleeping Beauty and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Known as the Garden of France, the region is fertile, characterised by soft green valleys and lush vineyards producing Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc among other varietals.
But there’s much more to the Loire than castles and wine – Romanesque churches, Gothic abbeys and troglodyte caves are among the region’s other attractions. The exploring can be tempered by leisurely breaks in local cafés, where an hour over coffee or a light lunch can fly by; indeed, a visit here is incomplete without a taste of Fromage de Chèvre Fermier, the exquisite, locally produced goats cheese, or a refreshing glass of Sancerre.
The undemanding landscape and array of sights and sounds make the Loire a fabulous place to walk or cycle through. Its many attractions mean visitors can take each day at their own pace with plenty of time to soak up the surroundings.