Named "Centre" for its location in the heart of France, this remarkable region is dominated by the legendary Loire Valley. It is easily accessible from Paris, thanks to numerous highways and the TGV high-speed train (which makes its Paris-to-Tours run in only 55 minutes!). From early spring to late autumn, natural splendors abound in the valleys of the Loire and its eastern tributaries, the rivers Indre, Cher, Beuvron, Sauldre, and Allier. For information about the major towns in the Loire Valley, visit: Loire Valley cities information.
The history of the Loire Valley is written in its architecture. For centuries the halls, turrets, and gardens of a thousand châteaux have been the setting for romance, politics, and intrigue. Among the best-known châteaux, or castles, are Chambord, Chenonceau, Blois, and Villandry. Enchantment also awaits in lesser-known examples such as: Chaumont-sur-Loire, Talcy, Château de Beauregard, Château de Chamerolles. In Ussé you can find the inspiration for the castle of Sleeping Beauty.
The Loire Valley is also home to two of France's great cathedrals, at Bourges and Chartres. The latter contains some of the best examples of stained glass in France, fashioned by the same master craftsmen who later constructed the magnificent windows of King Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
The valley of the Loire produces 22 fine wines, including Bourgueil, Sancerre, Valençay, Vouvray, Montlouis, and Menetou-Salon. Among the region's excellent cheeses are Crottin de Chavignol, Selles-sur-Cher, and Sainte-Maure de Touraine.
Note: We offer a one day trip to the Loire Valley from Paris. A perfect way to sample the magic of the Loire Valley in one great day.
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