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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 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 ..

  • 2 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..

  • 3 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..

  • 4 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..

  • 5 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.

  • 6 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..

  • 7 Château de Saumur Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    espl. du Château F - 49400 Saumur

    With its towers and sloping roofs, this château has a proud air to it, dominating the Loire from its pedestal. King René rebuilt this château as a "love mansion" in the 14C, adorning it with a well thought out decorative design in the Gothi..

  • 8 Château de Brézé Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    2 r. du Château F - 49260 Brézé

    With Europe's deepest dry moat, this place has an amazing secret. Don't miss the entrance recessed between two walls in the heart of the village. This elegant Renaisssance château remodelled in 1824 by Anjou architect Hodé has residential lodgings, a..

  • 9 Château de Brissac Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 49320 Brissac-Quincé

    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..

  • 10 Doué-la-Fontaine Zoo Recommended Recommended

    Industrial tourism and theme park

    103 rte de Cholet F - 49700 Doué-la-Fontaine

    This zoo offers over 500 animals the chance to live in semi-liberty in an exceptional and most unusual troglodyte setting. Waterfalls, acacias and bamboo enhance the environment of the species that live here, most of which are endangered. Don't miss ..

  • 11 Cathedral of St Julien Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    pl. St-Michel F - 72000 Le Mans

    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..

  • 12 Sarthe Automobile Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    9 pl. Luigi-Chinetti F - 72000 Le Mans

    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 ..

  • 13 Le Mans Old Town Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. St-Michel F - 72000 Le Mans

    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..

  • 14 Château du Lude Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 72800 Le Lude

    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 ..

  • 15 Château de Maintenon Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 28130 Maintenon

    Incorporating part of an ancient castle on the banks of the River Eure of which the large keep survives, Jean Cottereau, Minister of Finance under Louis XII, François I and Henri II, began construction of this Renaissance-style building, in 1509. In ..

  • 16 Maintenon Acqueduct Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    chemin de l'Aqueduc F - 28130 Maintenon

    This unfinished acqueduct by Vauban is composed of fifty-odd arches (some in ruins and buried by vegetation) running between Maintenon station and the D 6 (St Piat road). The course of the Gallardon road under a ruined arch now composed of four slend..

  • 17 Château de Valmer Gardens Interesting

    Nature and gardens

    F - 37210 Chançay

    Valmer's 80ha-park and gardens are in a remarkable spot overlooking the Brenne Valley. The château was destroyed in a fire in 1948, but its grounds retain terracing and the layout of fine italianate gardens. The terraces head down to a historic kitch..

  • 18 Sologne Museum Interesting

    Museums and art

    quai de l'Île-Marin F - 41200 Romorantin-Lanthenay

    On the river, this museum is located in the old Romorantin-Lanthenay quarter. The collection is housed in three buildings. The moulin du Chapitre, which retains its 19C flour mill exterior, focuses on the natural world, the region's fauna and history..

  • 19 Château de Villesavin Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 41250 Tour-en-Sologne

    Built between 1527 and 1537 for Jean Le Breton, lord of Villandry and superintendent of works at Chambord, this Renaissance château heralds the return of classicism: italianate dormer windows embellish a façade which is simple yet exudes grace and ha..

  • 20 Château de Talcy Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. du Château F - 41370 Talcy

    This Renaissance residence near the valleys of the Loire and the Beauce is redolent of the poetry of Ronsard, who was inspired by Cassandre, a former chatelaine of Talcy. Visitors are charmed on entering the first galleried courtyard with its rose-de..

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