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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 Tours Fine Arts Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    18 place François-Sicard

    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..

  • 2 Château Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Montée de l’Émir-Abd-el-Kader

    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..

  • 3 Old Chinon Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. du Gén.-de-Gaulle

    You can see the remains of timber-framed Medieval houses while roaming Chinon's alleys, notably in Rue Voltaire or Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Grand Carroi was the town centre in Medieval times. Along the way, you'll see churchs such as St. Étienn..

  • 4 Loches Royal City Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    The natural defensive site of Loches has been exploited since at least the 6C. The counts of Anjou and Henry II of England strengthened its defences, prior to King Louis IX transforming it into a royal residence in 1249. A number of imposing medieval..

  • 5 Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    A precursor of Blois and Chenonceau, this charming château also has a charming 19C landscaped park, fine stables and the popular international garden festival. Inside, the apartments of Catherine de Médicis and Diane de Poitiers recall their rivalry...

  • 6 Trinité Abbey Church Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    This church combines elements from various periods; decorative openwork of the amazing Flamboyant Gothic west front contrasts with a plain Romanesque 12C bell tower, 80m high. Inside, the transept is an 11C vestige. The vaulting was altered in the 13..

  • 7 Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Place Ste-Croix

    The quality and diversity of this collection make it one of the most important in France. Pictures, sculpture and objects recount the history of European art from the 16C to the 20C. Note the series of 18C portraits of Mme de Pompadour by François-Hu..

  • 8 Parc Floral de la Source Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    Avenue du Parc-Floral

    This 30 hectare park is a window on horticulture in the Orleans region. It contains a large variety of plants and several animal species including deer and emu. Among the other delights for the eyes, the mirror gives a beautiful view of the castle an..

  • 9 Musée International de la Chasse Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Place du Château

    This interesting museum of hunting is housed in the Château de Gien (rebuilt just before 1500). It offers a full picture of the arts and techniques of hunting: tapestries, ceramics, paintings and also beautifully made hunting weapons. The great hall ..

  • 10 Museum of Fine Art Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    14 rue du Musée

    The museum has laid out a Histoire d'Angers route which permits visitors to trace the town's development from the Neolithic to the present through its collection of art and archaeology, maps, photographs and portraits (including the cabinet d'arts gr..

  • 11 Jean Lurçat Contemporary Tapestry Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    4 boulevard Arago

    A former ward in the old hospital of Saint Jean makes a fine backdrop for Jean Lurçat's 10 Chant du Monde tapestries. Created in 1957, the series illustrates the joys and sorrows of human life and draw upon the experiences of the artist: a monumental..

  • 12 Museum of Decorative Arts Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Château de Saumur

    An attractive collection of works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, tapestries, (an astounding dance of the savages), French pottery and porcelain from the 17 and 18C.

  • 13 Musée des Blindés Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    1043 route de Fontevraud

    This museum is home to 800 military vehicles (tanks, armoured cars and artillery pieces), 200 of which are operatonal, from 17 different countries. The museum traces the history of armoured vehicles from 1917 to today. Among the best examples are a S..

  • 14 Château de Brissac Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Set in a fine park planted with cedar trees, this family château overlooks the Aubance Valley. 200 windows punctuate the façades, which are an unusual blend of two styles, one medieval and the other dating from the time of Louis XIII. Inside, the Fre..

  • 15 Cathedral of St Julien Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    Place St-Michel

    Note the superb Gothic chevet which must be seen it for its system of flying buttresses. Then looking out over place Saint-Michel there is a very attractive doorway. Inside, the chancel (34m high and lit by stained-glass windows) has a depth and capa..

  • 16 Sarthe Automobile Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    9 place Luigi-Chinetti

    Tracing the history of the 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans 24 Hour Race), this museum has around 100 vehicles, many of them race winners, displayed in a modern and informative manner. Display cases, models and touch screen technology recount the story of ..

  • 17 Le Mans Old Town Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. St-Michel

    Mounted on its hill and protected by a Gallo-Roman wall, the old town of Le Mans shaded by its cathedral is made up of cobbled lanes punctuated by stairways and bordered by half-timbered and stone houses. This tranquil place, where time seems to stan..

  • 18 Château du Lude Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    This magnificent château, lying on the bank of the Loir, offers visitors a fascinating mixture of styles: medieval and Gothic, with its big, round towers; Italian Renaissance, in its layout, its dormer windows and medallions; and Louis XVI, with its ..

  • 19 Château du Plessis-Bourré Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    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 Cathedral of St Gatien Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    pl. Grégoire-de-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..

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