Beaches and Nature in Loire
The banks of the Loire River do provide some beaches, but are best left to the locals who are familiar with the strong currents. No matter where you stay in the Loire, you will be near a natural retreat whether it is a large nature preserve, such as Brenne National Park, or the manicured châteaux estate gardens of Chaumant-sur-Loire, Villandry, Chenonceau, Chamerolles, La Chatonniere, and Valencay. Not to be missed are the smaller village gardens in Descartes and the whimsical garden in Nohant created by author George Sand.
Cities in Loire
Due to the fine weather and proximity to Paris, the Loire Valley was a favourite locale of the French royalty and nobility to build their pleasure palaces. Some of the fine architecture still exist today in the towns of Orléans, Tours, Chinon, Blois, Saumur, and Amboise. Of particular interest, although gloomy, is the history of Amboise and its château. It started in 1434, when the French king seized the château from its rightful owner. Just over 60 years later, Charles VIII was killed when he struck his head on a door lintel. Sixty more years pass and a conspiracy was uncovered that resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Protestants.