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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 Cathedral Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Religious buildings

    16 Cloitre 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..

  • 2 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..

  • 3 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..

  • 4 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..

  • 5 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..

  • 6 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, ..

  • 7 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..

  • 8 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..

  • 9 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..

  • 10 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..

  • 11 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..

  • 12 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..

  • 13 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..

  • 14 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..

  • 15 The Cathedral Quarter Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. de la Cathédrale F - 37000 Tours

    Less frequented by the tourists than the old town of Tours, with private residences, gardens, the Archbishops' Palace, (which houses the Fine Arts Museum) and of course, the Cathedral. The area is full of charm. At the corner of rue Petit-Cupidon and..

  • 16 Cathedral of St Gatien Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    pl. Grégoire-de-Tours F - 37000 Tours

    Started in the middle of the 13C and finished in the 16C, this cathedral illustrates the whole evolution of the Gothic style. The Flamboyant façade is particularly beautiful. Inside there is great purity of line. The chancel, one of the most beautifu..

  • 17 Tours Fine Arts Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    18 pl. François-Sicard F - 37000 Tours

    A huge cedar of Lebanon stands in the main courtyard of the former archbishop's palace (17C-18C). The interior, embellished by Louis XVI woodwork and Tours silk, displays works sourced from castles destroyed by Richelieu and Chanteloup, and important..

  • 18 Musée de Compagnonnage Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    8 r. Nationale F - 37000 Tours

    Occupying the guest quarters (11C) and monks' dormitory (16C) above the chapter house of the abbey of St Julien, this museum traces the history, customs and practices of the town guilds' journeymen. It explains trades (some extinct, some not), tools ..

  • 19 Château Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Montée de l'Emir Abd-el-Kader F - 37400 AMBOISE

    This fine château has no architectural unity of style. It retains imposing remains of its past magnificence. The St. Hubert Chapel, located on the terrace, houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, who died at Amboise in 1519. In the castle itself, succe..

  • 20 Château du Clos-Lucé Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    2 r. du Clos Lucé F - 37400 Amboise

    This summer residence was selected by Charles VIII for his wife, Anne of Brittany. Leonardo da Vinci took up residence here in 1516. On the ground floor are some magnificent frescoes from the master's workshop (to which a protective coating was added..

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