If one finds themselves in central France in the region known locally as the Vallee de la Loire, perhaps somewhere along the picturesque Loire River, they will not be lacking for things to do.
Chances are, they already have some sort of itinerary in mind, but if not, that is not a problem. One does not have to wander far to find a site – a vineyard, some gardens, a chateau straight out of your childhood imagination – all worthy of your admiration and time.
Such is the majesty of the place, and especially the main attraction of the magnificent chateaux, that simply following the River Loire by car, one comes across breath-taking vista after breath-taking vista.
Whether you’re interested in cycling across a smaller section of the region, paying a visit to the multitude of gardens and parks in the area, or going on a treasure hunting expedition, it would be difficult to come up short on a list of culturally exhilarating activities to partake in.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some activities worth your attention.
Tour the chateaux of the Loire Valley
The most obvious reason people come to the Loire Valley is to soak in the historical marvels of architecture that are the magical chateaux here. Such is the majesty of these buildings that they have inspired generations of artistic work, from landscapes to postcards, and even online tributes such as this Chateaux guide from Belle France. Leonardo da Vinci himself is buried in the chapel of Chateau-Amboise!
Whether it’s the gothic steeples of the Chateau de Sully-sur-Loire, surrounded by a 16th century moat, or the picturesque Chateau de Chambord with its trademark Renaissance style, you will undoubtedly leave amazed.
A Wine Tour
With its temperate climate most of the year round, this part of central France lends itself to growing some of the finest grape varieties, and where there are plump grapes, there are usually scintillating wines.
Perhaps less famous than its Bordeaux or Burgundy counterparts, most will already be familiar with some of the Loire region’s appellations including Vouvray, Chenin Blanc, St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Chinon, and Bourgueil. Indeed, those of you more versed in Loire wine may have come across some of the more renowned and expensive reds such as Bourgueil, made from Cabernet France grapes, or the lighter Pinot Noir.
With such a reputation for diverse wine growing, tours are available all around the valley. Sample the wines along the Maisons des Vins de Loire route or Saumur tour, a commune that fringes the Loire river.
Gastronomy along the Loire
If you’re on a mission to find the best in French classic cooking you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place than the Loire with its decadent cheeses, rich flavours and fine meats.
Freshly caught pike served in white wine butter sauce or locally bred game with Mogetee beans are just two of the specialities you’ll find amongst the many small medieval villages and towns. Goat’s cheese is particular favourite amongst the locals – Sainte-Maure de Touraine, a 10-day -old cylindrical cheese, is one such example that is traditionally served with a crisp dry white wine, perfect for a lazy summers afternoon.
And if you’re still not satisfied, the many fruits that are cultivated here make a great after meal desert. The classic Tarte Tartin or Angers plum pie, made from locally sourced Reine-Claude plums, are a delight.
Copyright © 2016 John McGill