The Loire Valley is known as the “garden of France”, and it was in these rolling green hills that the kings of France chose to build their castles, or chateaux, their courtiers and noblemen following suit. The result is over three hundred chateaux, each more sumptuous than the last, scattered across the lush valleys of the Loire area.
The biggest of all the chateaux is the splendid Renaissance Chateau de Chambord, built by Francis I. Its intricate roof with its many chimneys is nicknamed “the village”. The Italianate Chateau d’Amboise houses Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb, while at the chateau Royal de Blois you’ll see a splendid spiral staircase on the exterior of the building. The ethereal Chateau de Chenonceau is built in a spectacular position resting upon arches across the waters of the Cher river. The Loire Valley is also famous for its roses, and many varieties are grown here, both old and new. If nature and gardens appeal, visit the Chateau de Villandry, where you can explore the stunning Renaissance style gardens.
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