Sunday, 7 April 2013

France: Chateaus and Wine in the Loire Valley

One of France's most appealing areas is the Loire Valley. It is rich in history, natural landscape, foods and wines. It truly embodies many of the attractive characteristics of France.

Author Touriste and image courtesy of - Chinon
The Loire commences around 1 hour south of Paris and meets the sea in the Nantes region. This convenient location makes it accessible to French, British, German and Southern European tourists. There are three main cities in the Loire Valley: Orleans, Tours and Nantes. Orleans was once the capital of France and possesses some wonderful historic buildings. Likewise, Tours is a larger city, but it also has a wonderful pedestrianised centre of the city. You should also be sure to visit some of the smaller towns, which are charming. Some of these towns include Blois, Chinon and Amboise.


Blois is a wealthy town situated between Orleans and Tours. It sits on the Loire and is accessible by train and major roads. It is a true delight. The central area is overlooked by an impressive chateau, which is on a raise area in the centre. Within the town there are cobbled old street that are full of character. There are great cafes, bars and restaurants. One recommended restaurant is Vinomania, which accompnaies excellent French food with wine tasting.

Author Michael Osmenda and image courtesy of wikipedia


From Blois it is easy to get to some of the most famous Chateaus in France. The elegant splendour of Chambord is only a short drive from the town centre. Another nearby Chateau that is worth a visit is Cheverny. This is more stately and modernised than Chambord, but again very elegant. Cheverny is in village that boasts some excellent eateries. Both Chateaus have their own wines.

If you fancy a more medieval fortress style of Chateau, you can visit Chinon. This is a little far from Blois, but is accessible from Tours.


The area is famous for great red, white, rose and sparkling wines. It is truly a wine lovers delight. Some towns with a special focus on wine include Vouvray , in the Tour region, Chinon, Amboise and Saumur. All of these towns have wine tastings and shops dedicated to the wine of their vineyards.

The Loire Valley is truly a great place to visit and offers so much to visitors, year round.