Loire Valley Castles
The castles, or chateaux, of the Loire Valley are indubitably the most well known aspects of this region’s tourism. Filled with history, art, and often surrounded by luscious gardens, the castles of the Loire Valley are truly incredible sites that can interest tourists of all kinds. Here is a list of some of the most famous castles of the region (a full listing of the castles open to visitors can be found here).
The Loire Valley is carpeted with fertile fields, crisscrossed by rivers, and studded with hundreds of châteaux in all shapes and sizes. Medieval castles are here because the Loire was strategically important during the Hundred Years’ War (when France and England battled through the 14th and 15th centuries). During the Renaissance, fortified castles were replaced by pleasure palaces as the Loire became fashionable among the Parisian rich and royal.
The Valley of a Thousand Châteaux is also the home to many good wines. As you travel through the Loire, look for dégustation (tasting) signs. Inquire at tourist centers for winery tour and tasting information. The towns of Vouvray and Chinon have many proud and hospitable family wineries
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