The Official Guide

Most Beautiful Villages in France book

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Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France

The Official Guide

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Loire Valley – Unesco World Heritage SIte

Chateau de ChambordSomehow I am accustomed to finding historic or spectacular sights classed as “World Heritage UNESCO logoSites” but the inclusion of a 200 mile stretch of the Loire Valley in Unesco’s list is quite something – but then when you put together all the elements of geography, history architecture and culture you start to understand just how rich and treasured this area really is.
“The Loire Valley is an outstanding cultural landscape of great beauty, containing historic towns and villages, great architectural monuments (the châteaux), and cultivated lands formed by many centuries of interaction between their population and the physical environment, primarily the river Loire itself.” It features historic towns such as Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, but in particular in its world-famous castles, such as the Château de Chambord.”
Of course, this stretch is only a small proportion of the river’s length – about 200 of the total length of over 600 milews from the Massif Central down to the Atlantic near Nantes – so does not include the wine regions of Sancerre or Muscadet.
However the area does include the better-known wine regions of Touraine, Chinon, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou, a number of stunning chateaux, interesting towns and pleasant, if undramatic landscapes.
The Loire is France’s 3rd largest wine region, 2nd largest producer of sparkling wines, and apparently, the number one region for wines ordered at restaurants in France!
For Brits of course, this is an ideal short-stay destination with numerous budget airlines serving the region (see www.frenchduck.com) and now more accessible by ferry and car with the recent opening of the A28 and other autoroutes offering faster access from the Channel ports

For more info on the World Heritage Site see www.valdeloire.org/

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