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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 Château de Chambord Terraces Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 41250 Chambord

    From the terraces there is a spectacular and unique view: lanterns, chimneys, staircases and dormer windows mingle, hewn by the sculptor's chisel. The royal imagery is extensive: François I's monogram, crowned salamanders, flaming candelabras, fleurs..

  • 2 Apocalypse Tapestry Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Museums and art

    2 2 Promenade du Bout du Monde F - 49000 Angers

    Displayed in Angers Castle, the Apocalypse Tapestry is believed to have been created between 1373 and 1383. Originally 133m long and 6m high, it was composed of 6 sections, each comprising a figure seated on a dais looking onto two cycles of 7 scenes..

  • 3 Cathedral Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Religious buildings

    16 Cloître Notre-Dame F - 28000 Chartres

    4,000 sculpted people, 5,000 in the stained glass windows, built following the fire which ravaged the previous building in 1194, teeming with details, such that a single visit, no matter, how long can only give a brief overview! The two tall spires a..

  • 4 Old Tours Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Le vieux Tours F - 37000 Tours

    Around Plumereau square, we find pedestrian streets, often lined with old houses and restored blocks of buildings. An abundance of cafes, restaurants and terraces, in old Tours which has been restored, makes it a particularly pleasant area for stroll..

  • 5 Château de Chenonceau Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    D 40 F - 37150 Chenonceaux

    Built by Katherine Briçonnet, remodelled by Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Médicis and Louise de Lorraine, and resued by Mme Dupin, this château bears the imprint of many eminent women. Famous men have left their mark too in the fine furniture and d..

  • 6 The Gardens of Château de Villandry Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    3 r. Principale F - 37510 Villandry

    Laid out over four terraces, Villandry's gardens are the epitome of Renaissance architectural convention. On the upper level the garden of the sun is a former meadow surronded by lime trees and dominates the whole ensemble. The water garden is the ne..

  • 7 Château d'Azay le Rideau Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. du Château F - 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

    Dominated by turrets redolent of the Middle Ages, this marvellously graceful white château was built by Gilles Berthelot between 1518 and 1527. Part of it looms over the River Indre; this architectural gem has one of the earliest sloped staircases in..

  • 8 Château Royal de Blois Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    6 pl. du Château F - 41000 Blois

    The plot against Gaston d'Orléans, escape of Marie de Médicis, assassination of the Duke of Guise; such are the episodes making up the legendary history of this fabulous castle blending Flamboyant Gothic and Italian Renaissance in a classical style, ..

  • 9 Château de Chambord Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Domaine national de Chambord F - 41250 Chambord

    Chambord's original medieval layout, a central keep, four towers and perimeter wall was an impressive structure, later embellished in the style of a Tuscan villa with a cross-plan hall and a double helix staircase by Leonardo da Vinci. The Renaissanc..

  • 10 ZooParc de Beauval Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Industrial tourism and theme park

    F - 41110 St-Aignan-sur-Cher

    When Françoise Delord, passionate about exotic birds, created the first aviary in 1980, she could not have imagined that Beauval would become not only a zoo but the most visited place in the region, welcoming almost a million visitors each year. More..

  • 11 Angers Castle Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    2 prom. du Bout-du-Monde F - 49000 Angers

    Started in 1231 by Blanche de Castille, regent and mother of St Louis, this is a fine example of medieval architecture, covering 25 000m2 within its ramparts (bordered by a dry moat or the cliff edge) which links 17 towers. In a purpose-built gallery..

  • 12 Abbey of Fontevraud Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Religious buildings

    F - 49590 Fontevraud-l'Abbaye

    Last resting place of the Plantagenets, the abbey of Fontevraud remains (despite numerous mutilations) one of France's most important monastic sites. Don't miss the vast 12C church and the Plantagenet tombs in its chancel, the 16C wall paintings in t..

  • 13 Château de Serrant Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    D 723 F - 49170 Saint-Georges-sur-Loire

    This original medieval castle belonged to the Serrant family. The Renaissance château, begun in 1546 by Charles de Brie, has decorative and architectural similarities with the main spire of the cathedral at Angers. The apartments are beautifully pres..

  • 14 Château de Cheverny Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Domaine de Cheverny F - 41700 Cheverny

    Built by Count Hurault de Cheverny from 1604 to 1634, this château is unusually harmonious in stylistic terms, both architecturally and decoratively. The symmetry and harmony of the façade are typical of the Louis XIII style. The dazzling interior ha..

  • 15 Château de Chenonceau Gardens Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    F - 37150 Chenonceaux

    The two quintessentially French-style gardens of Chenonceaux have a dreamlike beauty and fine views of the château. Inspired by Italian gardens and their use of hydraulic engineering, the garden of Diane de Poitiers (1551) has at its centre a fountai..

  • 16 Ensemble Troglodytique Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    Rue du Chateau F - 49260 Brézé

    An unassuming doorway off the courtyard of the Château de Brézé leads into a 15C gallery carved out of the rock which takes the visitor down to an extensive network of underground passages (over 1km) steeped in history and mystery. Their uniqueness a..

  • 17 Château de Montreuil-Bellay Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. des Douves F - 49260 Montreuil-Bellay

    An ancient fortress on the banks of the River Thouet; behind its barbican (a rare survival), moat and fortified gateway is a 15C castle. Visit the medieval kitchen with perfectly preserved chimney, the canon's lodgings with stove, and vaulted cellar ..

  • 18 Église Notre Dame de Cunault Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    r. du Ducs-d'Anjou F - 49350 Cunault

    Cunault was founded in 847 by monks from Noirmoutier who in 862 had to flee to Tournus in Burgundy. Subsequently it became a rich Benedictine priory. Only the church (11C-13C) remains, its massive tower (11C) topped by a 15C stone steeple. Inside, on..

  • 19 Château du Plessis-Bourré Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 49460 Écuillé

    The backdrop for numerous films, on account of its wide moat, double drawbridge and towers, redolent of a bygone age. Beyond the vaulted entryway, the fortress transforms into a pleasure palace, with spacious courtyard, arcaded gallery, tower stairca..

  • 20 Church of Notre Dame des Marais Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    pl. Sadi-Carnot F - 72400 La Ferté-Bernard

    Construction of the church began in 1450 and culminated with the building of its chancel in 1596. Its sculpted exterior incorporates Renaissance elements, and the chevet has italianate embellishments. Of rare elegance, slender arcading rises in the c..

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