The Loire River lies just 130km south of Paris. Majestic, dotted with islets of golden sand, it runs across the centre of France from east to west, irrigating Orléans, Blois, Amboise, Tours, all flourishing cities which are lent a unique charm by white tufa limestone. The Loire Valley is a region of troglodytes, wine cellars, manor houses and parks, but also of great Renaissance châteaux: Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Chambord, Villandry... All enjoy an appealing setting either in their towns or within a landscape of national forests that is by no means the only adornment of a region of great natural diversity. Travel away from the "Royal River" to explore the Sologne, with its forests and pools, the bocage landscape of Marche, reminiscent of Limousin, the bucolic valleys of the Indre, and the plains of Beauce where the spires of the illustrious Chartres Cathedral stand proud. Follow in the footsteps of George Sand in Nohant, Balzac in Saché, and Marcel Proust in Illiers-Combray. Once you have enjoyed these romantic literary encounters, or perhaps a bike ride along the region's many cycling paths, treat yourself to the sweet pleasures of a tarte Tatin or a pithivier and sample the famous wines of the Loire.
In the heart of the Loire Valley, the Villandry estate is home to an intricate lacework of gardens. This plant world is the work of one man who devoted his life to creating a universe that would appeal as much to the senses as to the mind.