Loire Valley is
renowned for its beautiful landscapes, historic towns and ancient architecture.
Loire is so impressive that it is often referred to as the Garden of France.
While you may already be aware of the picturesque scenery and peaceful
atmosphere, there is a lot more to be experienced when visiting this part of
the world. Here are five things you probably don’t know about Loire Valley.
Castles and Architecture
You may be aware
of some of the famous castles found here, but what you probably didn’t realise
is how many of these incredible structures are located there; Loire Valley
boasts 300 of them! The most well-known castles include Château de Chambord,
Château d’Ussé, Châteaux d’Amboise, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau. The
Château de Chambord is particularly popular as it is the largest and most
recognisable. Unlike some of its nearby company, it is not actually considered
to be an architectural masterpiece but rather a miss-match of designs. However,
the Château de Cheverny has been beautifully constructed, and is a fine example
of classical Renaissance architecture.
Prior to the 15th
century, a château was almost identical to an English castle. These buildings
were built as fortresses and were designed to withstand an attack or siege.
They were often placed strategically on hilltops or in other important
locations. These châteaux were the administrative centre for the nobleman of
the region and contained a home, barracks, prison, armoury, storehouse and
treasury. If you wish to stay and enjoy a traditional French château
holiday, we have a beautiful range which are perfect for large parties and
When you think
about Loire, you immediately think of the rolling green hills, but what people
tend to forget about is the beautiful bodies of water which flow through this
region, and adds to its fairytale-like scenery. The most prominent river is the
Loire River, which is actually the longest river in all of France. It has over
20 main tributaries, including Cher and Indre, and it joins the Atlantic Ocean
in Saint Nazaire. Unfortunately, because the shallowness and significant
fluctuations in volume, it makes it difficult to use as a means of transport,
however it is a great place to bike along.
definitely contributes to some of the best wine in world. What many people
don’t realise is that Loire Valley has some of the most sought after wine
grapes, the majority of which are white wine varieties. Chenin Blanc, Cabernet
Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are all produced in the Loire Valley region, along
with the rarer Melon de Bourgogne and Pineau d’Aunis grapes, which are grown
there exclusively. Altogether the region has an incredible 87 appellations, so
if you are a wine enthusiast, Loire Valley should be one place you must visit.
An underground city
There is a multitude of
castles scattered throughout the landscape, so it is probably a shock that
there is as much going on underground. The region does in fact have its very
own underground villages complete with homes, chapel and wine cellars. Carved
out of cliff faces and tunnelled underground, these dwellings are inexpensive,
provide safety and shelter from both hot and cold weather and are still
inhabited to this day.
You can find them
all over the region, and can often be recognised from the sight of smoke
emerging from underground chimneys. Visitors even have the opportunity to view
some of these unique homes and this is an experience which will be
Joan of Arc
Many of us know
who Joan of Arc is as she led the French army to a number of victories during
the Hundred Years’ War and was later named a Catholic saint. What you may not
have known is that she was often referred to as “The Maid of Orleans” because of
her first major victory at the siege of Orleans which ultimately caused the
collapse of the English control. Aged only 19, Joan was captured and burnt at
the stake, however her legacy lives on, and you can see many monuments and art
in Loire Valley dedicated to her.