Learn more about the Loire...
- Peaceful countryside
- Chartres Cathedral
- Château Chambord
- 300 châteaux
The Loire Valley is renowned for storybook villages and historic architecture. Take your family on the camping holiday of their lives in the scenic Loire Valley.
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.
In the 15th Century, François I created Chambord Château as a hunting lodge. Although François I only spent a total of 7 weeks there, each hunting trip involved an entourage of at least 2,000 people. On a much smaller scale, the troglodyte homes are also interesting. From the 11th Century, tuffeau was quarried along the banks of the Loire eventually creating a network of caves.
Whole villages transformed the caves into dwellings. Some troglodyte homes are still occupied and can be identified on the cliffs by their brightly-painted doors and windows with flower boxes.
Food, Drink and Culture
The Loire Valley is known as the Garden of France because fruit orchards, and artichoke and asparagus fields, flourish in the soil. The Loire Valley is also one of the world’s finest wine growing areas and produces wine with a characteristic fresh, crisp flavour. There are many wine festivals during the season and small vineyard owners sometimes will personally give visitors a tour of their caves.
Weather and Climate
The Loire summers are hot and dry with an average daytime of 26° C and 9 to 10 hours of sunshine daily. The summer heat is mitigated by cool breezes coming off the Atlantic. The fall and spring are mild and average around 22 ° C and 20° C respectively. Winter temperatures drop to an average of 9° C, but the valley still has 3 to 5 hours of daily sun.