The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley, or Vallée de la Loire in French, is a stretch of 800 square kilometers surrounding Loire River in central France. This riverbank region boasts beauty for all the senses with its abundance of gorgeous chateaux, quaint villages, vineyards and fruit orchards, as well as outdoor activities for all seasons. The weather of the Loire Valley is favorable for most of the year, offering a moderate climate that balances between the rain of France’s north and the heat of its south.
The area is dotted with many historic towns (most notably Angers, Blois, Chinon, Orléans, and the largest city of the region, Tours) all within driving distance from Montgoger. A day trip to any of these locations provides a glimpse into the region’s urban life – a unique mixture of historical landmarks and modern-day French culture. From children to the elderly, the architect to the cycler, the musician to the gastronomist, the Loire Valley’s attractions are endless and can be tailored to all types of voyagers.
In the middle Ages, the Loire Valley was marked by continuous fights from the X to the XV. They first dealt with the succession for the crown of England, then the fights between Capetians and Plantagenets for the kingdom of France. The last chapter of those fights being the 100 years war, in which Joan of Arc played a big part, delivering Orleans on May 8th 1429.
The Renaissance sees the golden age of the Loire Valley, from Louis XI who made of Tours the French capital city in 1461 until Henry IV who took power back to Paris in 1594. The Valois kept on importing into the Loire Valley new aesthetics and a new lifestyle they had discovered in Italy, inviting artists and craftsmen, the most famous being Leonardo da Vinci. Then started the first French Renaissance, during which the royal castles of Amboise and Blois were renovated. Then were built les Chateaux de Court, such as Chambord, aimed at pleasure.
In the XVII and XVII, the region saw the increase of communication axis thanks to the creation of canals (canal de Briare, canal d’Orleans), which led to a very prosperous era for the Loire mariners. The French revolution did lot lead to severe turmoil in the region, except for the farmers riot in les Mauges in the south of Anjou. In the XIX the railway led to drastic changes in the landscape of the Loire Valley, creating the death of the Loire navigation, as a well as the end of all activities in the Loire harbours.
For more information on the Loire Valley and all that it has to offer, please visit its heritage site.