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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 Château de Villandry Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    3 r. Principale F - 37510 Villandry

    Built at the end of the Renaissance, the Château de Villandry has retained the keep of an earlier fortress. Heralding the emergence of Classical architecture, its interior decor is particularly impressive. The chamber with the 13C Mudejar ceiling fro..

  • 2 Old Chinon Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. du Gén.-de-Gaulle F - 37500 Chinon

    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..

  • 3 Fortresse Royale de Chinon Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. du Château F - 37500 Chinon

    Built in the 12C, abandoned by the court in the 15C, purchased by Cardinal Richelieu in the 17C, before being progressively abandoned, this fortress was rescued by Mérimée. Sited on a rocky outcrop, it is made up of the fort de Coudray with a 13C kee..

  • 4 Château of Ussé Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 37420 Rigny-Ussé

    Situated on the edge of the forest of Chinon, overlooking the Indre, the château of Ussé inspired Charles Perrault's tale of Sleeping Beauty. It was built on the foundations of an 11C fortress in the 15 and 16C. The interior contains Flemish tapestri..

  • 5 Château de Langeais Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. Pierre-de-Brosse F - 37130 Langeais

    The feudal stronghold of Langeais, with its high walls, round towers, crenellated sentryway and drawbridge, has survived intact through the centuries. Built between 1465 and 1470 by Jean Bourré, Louis XI's treasurer (1423-1483), the castle houses unt..

  • 6 Loches Royal City Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 37600 Loches

    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..

  • 7 Donjon de Loches Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    7 mail du Donjon F - 37600 Loches

    The keep was built in the 11C by Fulk Nerra to defend the fortified town from the vulnerable south side. It is a solid square construction with two towers, the Ronde and the Martelet. Inside the keep, the floors of the three storeys have vanished, bu..

  • 8 Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. du Maréchal Leclerc F - 41150 Chaumont-sur-Loire

    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...

  • 9 Trinité Abbey Church Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    F - 41100 Vendôme

    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..

  • 10 Cathedral of Ste Croix Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    pl. Ste-Croix F - 45000 Orléans

    Built from the 13C to the early 16C, the cathedral was partly destroyed in 1586 by the Protestants. In recognition of the town's support, Henry IV undertook its reconstruction in a composite Gothic style. There is a lovely three-porch façade with ros..

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

    Museums and art

    pl. Ste-Croix F - 45000 Orléans

    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..

  • 12 Parc Floral de la Source Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    av. du Parc-Floral F - 45070 Orléans

    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..

  • 13 Briare Canal Bridge Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 45250 Briare

    Built at the same time as the Eiffel Tower, this 1890 bridge allows a canal running lateral to the Loire to cross it and join the Briare canal. The metallic structure containing the canal is made up of plates held together by millions of rivets. It i..

  • 14 Musée International de la Chasse Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    pl. du Château F - 45500 Gien

    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 ..

  • 15 Basilica of Saint Benoît sur Loire Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    1 av. de l'Abbaye F - 45730 St-Benoit-sur-Loire

    Built between 1067 and 1107 in pale Nivernais stone (although the nave was only finished in the late 12C) this site was at the forefront of western intellectual life. The belfry-porch is a particularly fine example of Romanesque art. Note the carved ..

  • 16 Jardins du Grand Courtoiseau Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    F - 45220 Triguères

    Planted in 1991, these gardens have now reached full maturity. Designed by landscape gardener Alain Richert and occupying 6ha, they include an orchard, a vegetable garden and ornamental garden. The ornamental gardens marry French, English and Italian..

  • 17 Museum of Fine Art Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    14 r. du Musée F - 49100 Angers

    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..

  • 18 Jean Lurçat Contemporary Tapestry Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    4 bd Arago F - 49100 Angers

    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..

  • 19 Museum of Decorative Arts Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    Château de Saumur F - 49400 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.

  • 20 Musée des Blindés Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    1043 rte de Fontevraud F - 49400 Saumur

    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..

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