Welcome to the Loire Valley, the Royal Valley

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Pays de la Loire – Coat of arms

The Loire Valley stretches over central and western France, but UNESCO listed the section linking Chalonnes to Sully-sur-Loire as a World Heritage Site.

The 50km long Great Dyke or Grande Levée d’Anjou is the valley’s spinal cord as it protects it from the temperamental Loire, the last untamed river of Europe.

The Parc Naturel Loire-Anjou-Touraine was created to protect the wide diversity of fauna and flora that developed along the river.

The Loire Valley has a population of 2.5 million or 4.1% of the French population.

It has a long history of human presence as attested by the countless traces of occupation dating back to about 40 000BP.

Welcome to the Loire Valley, a region traditionally known as the Valley of the Kings.

The first French kings played a prominent role in the emergence and spread of Christianity and placed the region under the protection of St-Martin, the first bishop of Tours.

The Loire Valley was at the heart of the rivalry that opposed the French and English Kings after the advent of the dynasty of the Dukes of Anjou, the descendants of Henry II Plantagenêt who married Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The French kings were undoubtedly the protagonists of the French Renaissance during the 16th century, a culture they brought back from their various military expeditions to Italy.

They turn the Loire Valley into the land of a thousand chateaux and the only question is which of its enchanted chateaux will be your favourite?

As you travel down the beautiful valley of this gently flowing river, you may pick Chambord solid and impressive, or the fairytale Ussé, or the smaller almost family-size Chaumont, or Azay-le-Rideau with its moats…

Or will you fall for Chenonceau and its arches spanning the sparkling waters of the Cher?

All are so captivating, it is no wonder that royal wives and mistresses fought to possess them…

Welcome to the Loire Valley, a region blessed with a micro-climate and soft luminosity generated by the proximity of the ocean.

The rich alluvial soil and mild climate are ideal conditions for the extensive cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers that turn the valley into a mosaic of colours.

The Loire River carved its way through the soft limestone of the hills planted with vineyards that produce some of the best French AOC wines that go along with quality gastronomy.

Welcome to the Loire Valley, one of the most visited regions of France.

 Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Pays de la Loire coat of arms Attribution Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license