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LOIRE VALLEY GUIDE


loire valley - chateau de chambord
Chateau de Chambord

Loire Valley - The Valley of the Chateaux

Discover the length and breadth of the Loire Valley, from the beautiful Atlantic coastline, to magnificent chateaux near Orleans and Tours, to the grand canal near Briare, and to its source surprisingly close to the Cevennes and the Mediterranean.

LOIRE BOAT HIRE



Burgundy Loire Nivernais
Boat Rentals France

Beautiful boat cruising

PLACES TO VISIT

St Nazaire

Nantes

Saumur

Blois

Orleans

Nevers


atlantic coastline
Atlantic coastline near Saint Nazaire

saumur
Saumur Castle with its Museum of the Horse


  St Nazaire

From the glorious rugged coastline of the Atlantic, the Loire surprises and entrances. St Nazaire, was the birthplace of "Le France" the greatest luxury liner of all time later to be known as "The Norway". Here too you can visit one of the remains of WW2 - the Espadon submarine that is housed in one the once ominous underground locks built by the Germans. For really ancient history, visit 2 of the most stunning dolmens in France (two chamber tumulus) dating back 6000 years

Nantes

Surpringly Nantes was once the capital of Brittany, so here you can see the magnificent castle of the Dukes of Brittany, which now houses 3 museums, including the Salorges Museum, which tells Nantes history (including shipbuilding, and the slave trade which paid for some of the magnificent buildings in the city). Visit the 19th century shopping mall of Passage Pommeraye, with glass ceiling and cherub statues. Also do not miss the Gothic St Pierre cathedral - which is lit up impressively at night. Nantes is a city of adventure - as it was here that Jules Verne was born.

  Saumur

With its four powerful towers Saumur castle, bristles the sky with its presence. It is also home to 2 museums - the Decorative Arts Museum with a beautiful collection of objets d'art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, and the Museum of the Horse - with the history of the horse throughou the world. It is in Saumur that there is the famous Cadre Noir cavalry school where french officers were trained, and close by is now the National Riding School. Also visit the Musee de Blindes (a tank museum with over 150 vehicles on display.


Blois

Surrounded by forests, Blois was named after the celtic name for wolf, but now between the white stone and the slate rooves, the town is known for corn, wine, strawberries, asparagus, and chocolate (The Poulain chocolate factory). Discover the grandeur of the Chateau, with Fine Arts Museum, archaeology museum, and the grand staircase leading to Queen's apartments with Catherine de Medici's renaissance furniture and tapestries. Visit too the Saint Louis Cathedral, rebuilt in Gothic style after the hurricane of 1678, and walk in the pretty gardens of what was once the Bishop's gardens (18c, Hotel de Ville).

Orleans

Orleans, is best seen from the river. It was here that Joan of Arc, that made her triumphant entry, after she had routed out the English. The town has been greatly rebuilt, after much damage during WW2 - with pretty streets full of grand mansions such as Rue d'Escures. In 1560 Frances II died in the renaissance Hotel de Ville. Visit too the grand Saint Croix Cathedral, with primative sanctuaries in the crypt (4th and 10th century). Go to nearby Orleans La Source with very pretty Parc Florale de la Source - where flowers abound close to the source of the Loiret.

chenonceau, near Blois
Chenonceau near Tours and Blois
Briare, canal bridge, near Nevers
Canal bridge across the Loire at Briare, near Nevers

Nevers

Situated on a bend of the river Loire, the town is known for its Faience, and had belonged to the Dukes of Burgundy, until Francis I had made it and the Nivernais an independant Duchy. Visit the Ducal Palace a mixture of Medieval strength and Renaissance delicacy; and the Municipal museum with its collection of Faience. Take a trip to St Gildard Convent where Bernadette Soubirous (Lourdes) lived as a nun, and where her embalmed body lies in a glass casket.

 
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