There were older fortresses along the line of one of France's greatest rivers, the Loire, but the real scramble started when French King Francois I built himself a chateau here and all his courtiers rushed to join in.
Altogether, there are over 300 chateaux in the Loire Valley along with many other fabulous monuments from monasteries to gardens, museums, churches and cathedrals, villages and vineyards. The whole river valley is wonderful but a central stretch of 280 kms, including 20 of the finest chateaux and other monuments, including the Abbaie de Fontevraud and Chateaux of Chenoncaux, Villandry, Blois, and Chinon, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site as a living cultural landscape.
There is a guided cycle and hiking path, Loire a Velo, running its full length, complete with cycle hire facilities at regular intervals. It offers an excellent alternative way to explore the magical scenery, wildlife and heritage of France's own 'Valley of the Kings' and work up an appetite for some of the world's most mouthwatering food.
Where is it?
In mid-France, west of Paris. The UNESCO World Heritage site covers an area of the Loire valley from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire, a distance of 280 km (174 miles).
What is it?
A river, several towns and cities, 20 of the world's finest chateaux and hundreds of other monuments and museums, great vineyards, fine wine, fabulous food, wonderful scenery and even some wildlife. France at its finest.
Best time to visit?
The area is beautiful at any time of year, but many smaller sites close in winter and, being Europe, the weather is infinitely better in summer, so go between May and September. High summer can be very crowded.
Doing all 20 chateaux would probably be overkill, so do some homework, make a selection, add in some gardens, vineyards, a bike ride and other sights.
Need more advice before deciding which tour might suit you best and with whom to travel? Our Phonethrough feature allows you to talk directly to an expert holiday advisor from each of the leading specialist operators who organise tours to the destinations featured.
Our aim is to introduce and match holiday planning consumers with specialist escorted tour holiday operators & organisers. Please note that any booking you make is made directly with the tour operator, travel organiser or provider as Somewhere Special.travel does not act in any agent or booking capacity.
This website uses Third Party Cookies from Google Analytics to track statistics and First Party Cookies to maintain your Wishlist if you create one. Use of this website implies your consent to us placing these cookies on your computer. Click here for more details.
We’re a tours comparison website promoting destination ideas & inspiration for small group escorted and private tailor-made tours to special places, organised by leading ‘tours’ tour operators.
Our aim is to make planning a tours holiday easier as we compare thousands of tours to hundreds of destinations from the experts who can take you there. Choice, convenience, comparison and information - all in the one site!
Tours in South America |
Tours in North America |
Tours in South Africa |
Tours in Asia |
Tours in Vietnam |
Tours in India |
Tours in Thailand |
Tours in China |
Tours in Japan |
Tours in Nepal |
Tours in Cambodia |
Tour Search |