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Centre Province of France

The Loire Valley and its Chateaux are in Centre province.

The Loire Valley is well known to many as the Garden of France, with the river and the beautiful countryside plus scenes of splendour when marvelling at the chateaux are more than enough to keep you occupied!

It is also a place for the quality of its architectural heritage, in its historic towns such as Orleans, Saumur, Tours, Blois, and many others but also for the world famous castles such as the Châteaux d'Amboise and the Château de Villandry which many tourists visit throughout the year.

Centre Province

- Travel Guide
- Facts on Alsace
- Chateaux in Loire

- Wines from Loire
- Wines from France

Loire Valley and its Chateaux

The remarkable landscape of the Loire Valley, with its chateaux and more particularly its many cultural monuments, illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance period.

The Loire Valley has a marvellous landscape of great beauty, containing historic towns and villages, great architectural monuments, many chateaux (over 300 in total), and, of course, what would a visit to France be without tasting one or two of those fine wines!

The chateaux represent a nation of builders which started with the necessary castle fortifications in the 10th century, following on to the magnificent chateaux that were built at least a thousand years later.

When the French kings began constructing their huge chateaux here, the nobility, not wanting to, or even daring to be far away from the seats of power, decided to followed suit and their presence in this lush green, fertile valley with its moderate climate, began attracting the very best landscape designers.

By the middle of the 16th century, King Francois I, had shifted the centre of power from the Loire in France back to the ancient capital Paris.  As he went, so did the great architects, but the Loire Valley continued to be the place where most of the French royalty preferred to spend most of their time.

The French Revolution saw an almost overnight impoverishment of nobility after at least one of the family members lost their head to the guillotine.  And, unfortunately, this meant that many chateaux were ransacked, with the treasures being stolen, and some were totally destroyed.

During World War I and World War II, some chateaux were commandeered as military headquarters and some never went back to the original heritage, yet have been taken over by the National Government and are now major tourist sites, which can attract many thousands of visitors each year.

Others chateaux today are privately owned and a few are willing to open their doors for tourist visits, while others are operated as hotels or bed and breakfasts, so you can always stay overnight!

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