Discover the Loire Valley in Western France with TourFrance.com
Tour the beautiful Loire Valley in western France and see its many cultural monuments and charming historic towns. On TourFrance.com you'll get all the tourist information you need to plan your journey to France and all the technical assistance you need to make your trip absolutely perfect. From sightseeing tips to cheap flights, hotels and car rental - find it all online.
This green land of vineyard is sometimes referred to as "The Garden of France", and there is little wonder it has inspired many poets and artworks over the centuries. But on top of its exquisite natural beauty the area has great architectural, historical and cultural value. There are over a thousand chateaux in the Loire Valley and the contras between the ancient fortresses and the romantic green hills make the place's beauty almost irresistible and it is one of the France's main tourist attractions.
Travelling through the Loire Valley's authentic villages and historic towns can make a pleasurable trip that will move even the sworn cynics. Some of these locations like Chinon, Amboise, Tours, Blois and Saumur are quite famous, but even the less-known ones carry plentiful of charm.
The real assets of the area though are the massive castles that rise over the green hills. There are more than three hundred chateaux in the Loire Valley and touring them you will both enjoy their impressive strength and get a lesson in history. The ancient castles from the 10th century are a true example of practicality - full of fortifications built only to protect. The 15th century was the age of extravagance where exquisite architecture and lavish landscaping where used to demonstrate and maintain power. Over the years the area served both as a center of political power and, later on, as a summer home for those seeking a restful breaks from the hectic atmosphere of Paris. If you have the time, spend several days here and you too can absorb the calming and mind clearing effect of the place.
But before you rush to knock on any, or all of these great houses' doors, there are a few things you need to remember. First of all, even though many of the Chateaux in the beautiful Loire Valley are accessible, not all are open to the public. Some are privately owned and serve as real homes for local residences. In recent years some of these great castles were bought by the government and these are now opened for public view and serve as popular tourist attractions. Others were bought by private owners and they serve as hotels or guesthouses.
Make sure you know which of the castles is available and plan you trip and stay in the area accordingly. You can find some further information on WesternFranceTouristboard.com or other online tourism resources.
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