France’s magnificent inland region, Centre, follows the valley of the meandering Loire River. The combined Centre-Loire Valley (Centre-Val de Loire) is known for beautiful countryside, fertile vineyards, heritage villages and stunning châteaus. Discover fine French wines, picturesque riverside communities, bicycle paths and delicious regional produce in this laidback French region.
Centre-Loire Valley has two major cities. Orléans is located on the banks of the Loire River and features spectacularly ornate castles, cathedrals and medieval buildings. Visit a local boulangerie to buy delicious regional pastries and breads to enjoy while strolling down the Loire riverfront. Join celebrations in the first week of May when Orléans honors Joan of Arc with a festival and medieval market.
In Tours and its surrounding region of Touraine, see beautiful architecture and public parks. Don’t miss the Cathédrale Saint-Gatien, or Jardin des Prébendes d'Oé, a pretty park with flower gardens and a water feature.
The Loire Valley, known as the “Garden of France,” is famous for its ornate châteaus and history as a royal playground. See magnificent castles, such as the Châteaux Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau and Château de Chambord. Learn about the valley’s fascinating Renaissance history and visit gorgeous cathedrals and churches, especially in Bourges and Chartres.
Centre-Loire Valley is famous for its wineries. Try the still white wines and traditional sparkling wines that put Amboise and Saumur on the sommelier’s map. Visit vineyards and join a fascinating “routes de vignobles,” or wine tour, to learn about each vineyard’s production methods, cellars and complex tasting notes. Visit Centre-Loire Valley during a wine festival occurring in different regions throughout the summer.
Reach Centre-Loire Valley by plane to the Aeroport de Tours Val de Loire in Tours. Alternatively, fly into Paris and take a train or car. Centre-Loire Valley has warm summers and mild winters. Explore the Loire Valley region by bike along the Loire à Velo cycling paths to experience the scenic countryside at your own pace, which may be somewhat slower after a glass of wine!