Confused where to go with France’s teeming tourist locations? I highly recommend visiting Loire Valley which is also known as the “Garden of France” and here’s some fun facts why it’s really worth your time to drop by:
1. Live Like Royalty in France
More than 300 chateaux are scattered all over Loire Valley. Although most are privately owned, some of these luxurious structures have been converted into historic museums and plush hotels in one so that tourists can experience and re-live the lavish lifestyle of French Monarchs.
2. Meet Leonardo Da Vinci
Well, not really. But get to know why the “Renaissance man” is the well-known genius that he is. Visit the Château Royal d’Amboise near Clos Lucé where he devoted the last three years of his life dreaming, thinking, and working. DaVinci’s Machine inventions way too ahead for his time are displayed for viewing in Clos Lucé.
3. Experience Japan in France
Right along the edge of Loire Region is the Maulévrier Japanese gardens, the biggest oriental garden in Europe. Don’t be surprised and confused to see Japanese bridges, tall Pagodas, and Japanese plants, you’re still in France!
4. Man-made Machines from the Past
Loire Valley is not all about lush green gardens, good food, great-tasting wines, and extravagant chateaux; pay a visit at the Museum of Maurice Dufresne to see a huge exhibit of vintage cars, airplanes, guns, agricultural machineries, and even a guillotine from the French Revolution! If you get hungry and cold from viewing the displays, there’s a café to fill-up and warm yourself nearby.
5. Visit an Underground City
The Troglodyte caves along the Loire River are made out of soft Tuffeau limestone. This made it easier for artisans and quarrymen in the middle ages to dig and carve using simple tools. At present, the 2000 kilometer cave complex houses restaurants, hotels, shops, museums, and even dwelling places! Why Troglodyte? Troglodyte literally means “cave-dwellers.”
Top 10 Chateau Hotels in the Loire Valley, France:
- Hotel Chateau de l’Aubrière – La Membrolle-sur-Choisille (Tours) – Double from €120
- Bed & Breakfast Chateu de Terney – Terney – Double from €100
- Hotel Chateau d’Esclimont – Saint-Symphorien-le-Château (Chartres) – Double from €160
- Hotel Chateau de Marçay – Marçay (Chinon) – Double from €295
- Hotel Chateau de la Bourdaisière – Montlouis-sur-Loire (Tours) – Double from €135
- Hotel Chateau de Noizay – Noizay (Amboise) – Double from €150
- Hotel Chateau des Tertres – Onzain – Double from €105
- Guest House Chateau de la Barre – Conflans-sur-Anille (Saint-Calais) – Double from €180
- Hotel Le Chateau du Breuil – Cheverny – Double from €140
- Hotel Chateau des Muids - La-Ferté-Saint-Aubain – Double from €95
Photo of the garden of Chateau de Villandry, Loire Valley, France, by Caspermoller