What’s the Loire Valley like?
The Loire Valley boasts a temperate climate – hot, sunny summers with short, mild winters. The landscape is similarly appealing with country lanes meandering through rolling hills, lush valleys and vineyards.
The ‘valley of the kings’, rightly famous for its hundreds of magnificent chateaux, makes the area culturally fascinating and of deep historical importance, though it is similarly famous for its rivers - the Loire itself and its tributaries. The area is popular too for its gourmet traditions - world-renowned wines and mouth-watering food.
A region with so many great places, so much to do and where the people are as warm as the climate - what a great place for a holiday!
The map below shows just how close we are to a wide variety of famous attractions in the Loire Valley. Click on any of the buttons to find out more about what you can see and do.
We are lucky in this part of the Loire Valley to be protected to the north and south by forests, which keep away much of the extremes of weather - rain and wind. So the climate is gentle - hot (but not too hot) and sunny in the summer and mild and dry in the winter. The landscape gets its lush green colour from the many rivers that criss-cross the land, and not from lots of rainfall.
Tthe weather must be good, or the vines wouldn't flourish and produce such great wines! So, whilst we can't guarantee the weather during your holiday, we are confident that you will have an enjoyable time, whenever you visit.
Yes, we have plenty of châteaux (after all, the area is famous for them). These days, a visit to a chateau isn't just for history and architecture; many have great interactive displays, activities or play areas to interest all ages. A few of the chateaux within easy reach of our base are Saumur, perched on the hillside overlooking the river, Chinon, where Joan of Arc persuaded the Dauphin to rise up against the English army, Rigny Ussé, inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty story, and Montsoreau, with its excellent displays explaining the importance of the river to the area. Other chateaux worth a look include Langeais, Gizeux, Villandry, Azay le Rideau and Brézé.
> Other places of interest
There are plenty of other interesting sights besides chateaux. These include the Abbey at Fontevraud - where Richard the Lionheart is buried; the fascinating miniature village at Saumur - which re-creates many local landmarks in tuffeau stone; or you could learn more about rural life in the past at the Ecomusée near Chinon. You could also take a restful boat ride along the river in a traditional flat-bottomed boat. Other possible visits are the troglodyte village at Azay le Rideau, an excellent zoo at Doué La Fontaine, the Abbey at Bourgueil, a wine museum in Chinon and the Musee des Marinieres in Chouzé sur Loire.
After the chateaux, probably the area's most famous "draw" is the wine. From St Nicolas de Bourgueil, no visit is without at least part of the day spent passing through the vines. This also means plenty of opportunities to visit local wine-producers. We can point out our favourites - Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur Champigny and sparkling Saumur - or leave you to search out your own.
If wine isn't your thing (or even if it is!) there are plenty of other opportunities to sample local specialties, including goats cheese at La Roche Clermault, pommes tapées (oven-dried apples) in Turquant, a mushroom producer at Montsoreau, Combier liqueur production in Saumur, and fouées (a delicious flat bread filled with a variety of goodies).
> Sporting Activities
You might want to try out some sporting activities during your stay. If so, we have plenty of choice from the relatively gentle to the most extreme. As a few examples, we can arrange for you to canoe along the Vienne or Indre rivers, enjoy a horse ride through the local countryside, go swimming in a local pool, lake or river, or get the adreneline really flowing at a forest adventure park. Other options include walking, ice skating, crazy golf and disc golf.
> Fairs, Festivals and Markets
As well as the excellent weekly markets in most towns and villages, there are plenty of annual fairs and festivals throughout the area. If your holiday coincides with one, or more, of these, we will of course let you know and try to arrange for you to experience these as part of your holiday. Well worth a visit are the gourmet night markets, wine fairs, special events at the chateaux and medieval fairs.
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