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LOIRE VALLEY
Vacations and Sightseeing

Basic information
Official languageFrench
CapitalSaint-Étienne
Area4.781 km²
Population762,222  (2019)
Currencyeuro  (EUR)
Web.fr
Code.FRA
Tel.+33

Popular destinations FRANCE

AlsaceArdecheAuvergne
BrittanyBurgundyCevennes
CorsicaCote d'azurDordogne
JuraLanguedoc-roussillonLoire valley
LotNormandyPicardy
Provence

Vacations and Sightseeing

The Loire Valley is the third most visited tourist destination in France, after Paris and the Côte d'Azur. The old towns, famous castles and cathedrals, the unspoilt character of the Loire itself, the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the fame of the vineyards attract large numbers of visitors throughout the year. Here is a selection of the sights.

The Chateau de Chambord is an immense castle and one of the most recognisable because of its unique fusion of French Renaissance architecture that combines traditional medieval forms with classical Italian structures. The castle was built by King Francois I to serve as a hunting lodge. He maintained the royal residences nearby (Chateau d'Amboise and Chateau de Blois). Perhaps most famous in this castle is the double helix staircase, which is said to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci, and because of the richly decorated roofline, Francois wanted the castle to resemble the skyline of Constantinople.

The Chateau de Chenonceau has an iconic history that is as interesting as the castle is beautiful. It was built on the Cher River on the site of an old mill in the 11th century. The castle only got its current form when King Henry II gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers in 1547. It was Diane de Poitiers who built the arched bridge over the river, she also laid out the immense and impressive gardens. After the death of Henry II, his wife, Catherine de Medici, moved into Chenonceau Castle and made it her own favourite residence. She ordered the construction of the gallery over the bridge by the river, for which Chenonceau is known today. The castle and its extensive gardens are open to the public and, after Versailles, it is the most visited castle in France.

Tours, Orleans and especially Chartres are the famous places in this region. Chartres has perhaps the most beautiful gothic cathedral in Europe. The stained-glass windows on the inside of the cathedral are really a picture. More than 150 windows illustrate daily life in the 13th century. During both World Wars, the glass was painstakingly removed from the windows.


Sources

Zwijnenburg, Henk / Loiredal
ANWB

Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info