Awe-inspiring castles and palaces are scattered all over Europe. But no place is as renowned for its palaces the Loire Valley of France. France has historically been divided by the Loire river the chateau- studded Loire Valley is a two hour drive south of Paris.
Because of it strategic location, the fertility of its land, and its long and involved history – the Loire Valley is a home to a dizzying variety of castles and palaces. The earliest were designed purely for defense, but when a valley address became a must have for France’s royalty in the 16th century the old medieval towers were replaced by luxurious chateaux.
Chambord is the granddaddy of the Loire Chateaux. Far bigger than your average Loire castle , it has 444 rooms and a fireplace for every day of the year. It is surrounded by Europe’s largest enclosed forest. Chambord began as a simple hunting lodge for bored nobles and eventually became a monument to the royal sport and duty of hunting.
The chateau of Amboise was the favored royal residence of several kings. Today visitors can stroll through its peaceful grounds and enjoy commanding views. In the Loire you can notice the impact of the Italian Renaissance.
The Chateaus of Chenonceau is the toast of the Loire . This 16th century palace arches gracefully over the Cher River. Its formal garden combined with the delightful riverside setting makes it one of the great sights in all of Europe. The palace is lovingly maintained with bouquets of fresh flowers and audio guide – making sure visitors understand what they are looking at.
The stately hunting palace of Cheverny is immaculately preserved. Because it was built and decorated in just 31 years, it offers a pleasing architectural harmony and unity of style.
Villandry was the last great Renaissance chateau built on the Loire. And all the attention here is one its grounds. Arranged in elaborate geometric patterns and immaculately maintained gardens. This chateau was a pet project of a fabulously wealthy banker.
The Loire Valle with its historic chateaux has found a place in every person’s hearts and it is treasured by those who visit to this day.