По версии путеводителя Rough Guide Directions.
01 Château de Blois
The interior of the château at Blois is as colourful
as its violent history.
Looming over the river on its clifftop
height, little-visited Châteaudun is an eerily
03 Au Cabernet d’Anjou
This former Loire mariners’ bar
enjoys a sun-flooded terrace overlooking one
of the prettiest stretches of the river.
04 Villandry’s gardens
Page 101 • These superb gardens
exactly re-create the intricate designs of the
Renaissance, right down to the geometrically
planned vegetable plot.
05 Montsoreau and
253 • If the heart of the Loire region lies
anywhere, it is in these twin villages
straddling the border of Touraine and the
Saumurois, with their ancient abbey (pictured)
and château looking out across the water.
Page 42 • The
best way to get
to know the River
Loire is by boat,
and you can
rent canoes and
kayaks all over the
07 Chartres cathedral
Page 303 • Almost all of Chartres’
magnificent stained glass survives from the
early thirteenth century, when the cathedral
was originally built.
08 Food markets Page 34 • Every
town has its lively, traditional weekly
market where you can stock up on picnic
provisions and local specialities.
09 Loire à Vélo Page 42 • A brand new network of cycle-paths and cycle routes on
minor roads now makes cycling along the River Loire even more enjoyable – and safer
– than it was before.
10 Chenonceau Page 89 • The most graceful of all the Loire châteaux arches its way
right across the placid River Cher.
11 Son-et-lumière Page 38 • The
biggest châteaux put on elaborate
sound-and-light shows on summer evenings.
The best, such as the ones at Azay-le-
Rideau and Blois (pictured), give the building
a magical new perspective.
12 Montgeoffroy Page 296 • Built
on the eve of the Revolution, and
hardly altered since, Montgeoffroy is a shrine
to the vanished elegance of the ancien régime.
13 Loire wildlife Page 44 • The
Loire is rich in wildlife, particularly in
summer, when swallows and swifts swarm in
the evening air, coypus fish in the shallows
and agile terns swoop over the rapids.
14 Sparkling wine Page 352 •
You can visit vineyards right across the
region, tasting and buying the elegant local
wines direct from the growers. In Saumur
and Vouvray, call in at the vast sparkling wine
caves quarried out of the tufa.
Page 32 • You can
d’hôtes in anything
16 Chambord Page 154 • At François I’s gargantuan “hunting lodge”, you can explore
the whole building freely, taking in the strange double-helix staircase and the forest of
chimneys above the roof terrace.
Page 278 • Angers’
château guards one
of the world’s great
medieval treasures: a
the Apocalypse in
18 Plantagenet tombs Page
257 • The favoured abbey of the
Plantagenet family still houses their serene,
polychrome tombs, including those of Eleanor
of Aquitaine and her son Richard the Lionheart.
19 Loches Page 126 • This small,
provincial town sits at the foot of a
complete medieval citadel, incorporating an
eleventh-century keep and fifteenth-century
20 Azay-le-Rideau Page 106 •
Set on an island in the sleepy River
Indre, Azay-le-Rideau is a Renaissance
21 Touring le Loir Page 307 •
The green valley of le Loir has all the
castles, cave-houses, churches and vineyards
that characterize its big sister, la Loire, but
everything is smaller, sleepier and more
22 Cathédrale St-Julien
Page 318 • At the centre of Le Mans’
giant, hybrid cathedral, the chapel vault is
painted with glorious angel musicians.