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Loire Valley

page pix Over 120 fairytale castles and mansions line the banks of the Loire, the longest river in France. This ‘Valley of the Kings” holds more medieval citadels and Renaissance palaces than anywhere else. Chambord, the former hunting lodge of Francois 1er, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau and Villandry are only a few of the most famous names among them. Other chateaux have become small hotels or even remain - occasionally - private dwellings.

Chenonceau - the most photographed of the Loire castles, with its graceful bridge mirrored in the river, described by Flaubert as “floating on air and water.” Built for a mistress, reclaimed by a queen, Chenonceau remains one of the most beautiful of the castles.
Villandry is best known around the world for its gardens, with over 250,000 flower and vegetable plants laid out precisely in geometric patterns, forming a series of green ‘parterres’. The designs are best viewed from the upper terraces of the gardens or from the top of the castle keep.

Rabelais named the Loire Valley the “Garden of France,” and indeed, the gentle landscape and rich soil produces a wide variety of fruits, flowers and vegetables, not to mention wines and some of the most beautiful chateau gardens in the country.

Loire Valley Programs


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