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France RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Cycling the Loire Valley

By Philippa Burne, UK, April 2012

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If it sounds somehow ridiculous that one river valley can house around one thousand chateaux you need to remember that the Loire River is very long; this is the longest river in France extending for 630 miles (1010 km), running from Cevennes is the south of the country, north to Orleans and then west to the Bay of Biscay. The land in the valley is green, flat, rich and sometimes known as the Garden of France. It’s no wonder that so many kings and their friends wanted to build magnificent houses beside this river. These days it’s one of France’s prime tourist magnets.

The Loire Valley chateaux are beautiful. The largest, Chateau de Chambord has a double-helix staircase by Leonardo da Vinci who lived nearby (and is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert at Chateau Amboise), Cheverny was used by Herge as model for Captain Haddock’s ancestral home in Tintin, Chenonceau has the requisite moat, turrets and towers to look like the perfect fairytale castle and Villandry has gardens that anyone would envy.

Editor’s Note: This recommendation was taken from our France Things to Do blog. Visit the original post to continue reading the full post and to learn more about things to do in France.

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