Located south of Paris, this stretch of about 170 miles along the Loire River has been designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to be a “World Heritage” site.
Why to go: The incredible chateaux (castles)! But also, the beautiful historic towns, vineyards, and produce (fruit, artichoke and asparagus).
When to go: Spring through September/October are best for cycling through the valley.
When NOT to go: Winter is chilly but could still offer a good experience and it’s less crowded.
Where to go: Pick one of the larger towns as a base (maybe Blois, Tours or Saumur) and either do day trips to the chateaux, smaller towns and vineyards OR do a multi-day cycling trip along the chateaux route.
What to eat and/or drink: Wine! There are great dining experiences throughout this region. Take advantage of the locally-grown produce!
What to see/do: Visit the chateaux – you won’t be able to see them all so pick a handful and enjoy! Some of the most famous are: Chambord, Chenonceau (my favorite!, pictured above), Azay-le-Rideau and Chinon. Other interesting sites include the Chartres Cathedral and Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud. It’s a great area for cycling, dining and visiting beautiful historic towns.