Loire Valley

Loire Valley Travel Guide

When you visit the Loire Valley, it's not hard to see why, once upon a time, French royalty decided to set up shop here instead of in Paris: the rolling countryside and fertile farmland — ideal for making cheeses, growing pears and harvesting grapes for Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé — provided a perfect backdrop for castles, quaint villages and general pastoral bliss. It's a fairy tale come to life. The place has succeeded so remarkably in keeping that majestic beauty alive that UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage site in 2000. Part of its ongoing magic is the region's gentle pace of life, which is irresistible to travelers. Use our Loire Valley travel guide to make the most of this enchanted place.

Things Not to Miss in the Loire Valley

When you visit the Loire Valley, sample the region's fantastic wine and cheeses, especially in Touraine, and be sure to include some of these popular activities on your itinerary:

• Go back in time while visiting the many chateaux in the Valley

• Explore Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, the biggest medieval abbey in France

• Rent a bicycle to tour the vineyards or ride though the countryside

• Paddle down the Loire River, Europe’s last untamed river, in a canoe

When to Visit the Loire Valley

The best time to enjoy everything Loire Valley travel has to offer is during the spring and summer, when the warm sunshine allows for outdoor activities. That's not to say that you should never visit Loire Valley in the fall or winter. After all, castles can take on a more romantic feel in the chillier months — and you'll have the advantage of sharing the view with significantly smaller crowds.

Articles about Loire Valley

We were in the middle of the woods when I began to comprehend the French passion for order. My wife and I were walking through the gently undulating farm country of Berry, on the upper reaches of the Loire. We had just driven down from Paris (two ...
The Trip The kings of France ditched Paris for the Loire Valley during the Renaissance, leaving the region littered with glorious châteaux. And who could blame them? This lush valley is a regal backdrop for elaborate castles, its fertile vineyard...
Top 10 Hotels: Overall 1. Jade Mountain, St. Lucia 100.002. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Cedar Mountains, South Africa 99.173. The Goring, London 98.684. Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya 98.614. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserv...
Having grown up in proletarian Moscow, I'm not one to fetishize foie gras or swoon over budget-busting Bordeaux. So what would I say to a tour of Michelin three-star restaurants, Europe's gourmet Elysiums?Eh—not a part of my five-year plan. Too mu...
kids' town: san francisco Talk about a San Francisco treat: kids are holding court at the new Rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens, an urban playground atop the Moscone Convention Center. The block-long recreation area— with an indoor ice-skat...
Only four years ago, the train trip from London to Paris was an all-day ordeal, with a ferry ride in the middle -- brightened only by the sight of Dover's white cliffs. Today you can hop a train at Waterloo Station in London, arrive at Paris's Gar...