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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 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..

  • 2 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 ..

  • 3 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..

  • 4 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..

  • 5 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..

  • 6 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..

  • 7 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..

  • 8 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..

  • 9 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..

  • 10 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..

  • 11 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 ..

  • 12 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..

  • 13 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..

  • 14 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 ..

  • 15 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..

  • 16 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..

  • 17 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..

  • 18 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..

  • 19 Collegiate Church of St Liphard Interesting

    Religious buildings

    F - 45130 Meung-sur-Loire

    Built between the 11C and the 13C, this sober building has an imposing stone steeple, a semi-circular chevet and its original transept with rounded trefoil ends. From behind the chevet, there is a good view of the church and the castle, an extraordin..

  • 20 La Sologne Interesting

    Nature and gardens

    F - 45240 La Ferté-Saint-Aubin

    Renowned for its many pools, this region is bordered to the east by the Sancerrois hills and to the west by a line linking Selles-sur-Cher to Cheverny via Chémery, Thenay and Sambin. Its heathlands, ponds and melancholy woodlands are ideal for hunter..

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