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Art and Culture in the Loire Valley

Loire Valley Parks and Gardens: It only makes sense that the most beautiful parks and gardens reside within the region appropriately named "the garden France." Renaissance and medieval gardens and parks are scattered all over the Loire region and are open to visitors year round.

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Cities of Character: A trip to the Loire would not be complete without a visit to the region's finest cities, steeped in history, character, and culture. Stops in Blois, Tours, Chartres, Orleans, Amboise and Bourges are encouraged.

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World Heritage: The Loire Valley is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The Loire River is Europe's only wild river. The river is surrounded by rich landscapes, beautiful cities, fauna and flora, and of course, plenty of vineyards.

Historical Figures of the Loire Valley: As you meander through the stunning Châteaux and fabulous cities of the Loire Valley, think of those who you might have rubbed shoulders with throughout the centuries. Jacques Coeur, Catherine de Medicis, Diane de Poitiers, and Francois I were all historical figures residing in the Loire Valley. Also, Francois Rabelais, George Sand, and Leonardo DaVinci were a few artists who found inspiration in the Loire Valley.

Festivals: Liven up a trip to the Loire Valley by attending one of the hundreds of energetic and exciting festivals that occur during the year.

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Castles: Along the lush Loire River Valley, more than 1,000 châteaux bathe in their own beauty and stunning grandeur. In the past, these châteaux were home to royalty and historical figures but today, more than 120 are open to the public. Each château has its own history and its own unique characteristics, which makes seeing them even more exciting. Marvel at some of the grandest and most beautiful architectural structures in France. If you want to visit the castles of the Loire Valley click here for a great day trip from Paris.

Château d'Amboise: This royal château was built at the beginning of the Renaissance, mirroring the classic Italian style, and was home to Francois I during his childhood. Located nearby is the Manor of Clos Luce, where Leonardo DaVinci once lived and later died.

Château de Chenonceau: Located in Le Cher region of France, this châteaux was home to many famous French women. History books refer to this Château as Château des Dames, or Château of the Women. It was built in 1513 by Katherine Brinçonnet and later became home to Catherine des Medicis and Diane de Poitiers. A visit to this château would not be complete without a visit to the sprawling Renaissance gardens, which are sure to leave you breathless.

Château de Chambord: This stunning château is the largest in the Loire Valley and is composed of 440 rooms. It was built in the 1500's for and by Francois I, who actually only lived there for about 6 months. It is also surrounded by the Parc de Chambord which is 5440 hectares of trees, forest and wildlife. In the 16th century, Louis XIV would come visit Chambord in order to hunt.

Château d'Ussé: This château, built on top of a medieval fortress in the 15th and 16th century, was used as a model for Charles Perrault's classic 17th century story, Sleeping Beauty. The interior and exterior of this château will give you a true feeling of being in a fairy tale.

Cathedrale de Chartres: The intricate stained glass windows and fantastic stone façades at the famed Chartres cathedral are the epitome of early Gothic style. The attention to detail inside and out makes this cathedral a rare beauty. Of all the cathedrals to see in France, this should be at the very top of your list.

Château de Villandry: This was one of the last of the large châteaux to be built along the Loire River during the Renaissance era. At this French Classical styled château, you will find the impressive renaissance gardens which are one of the most fascinating in the whole world. Perhaps this château's extraordinary gardens are one of the reasons why the Loire Valley is called the "garden of France".

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Loire Valley Day Trip - One-day trip from Paris

We offer three one-day itineraries to the Loire Valley from Paris

Join us for a great excursion from Paris to the Loire Valley!