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Tourist attractions Châteaux of the Loire

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  • 1 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..

  • 2 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 ..

  • 3 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..

  • 4 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 ..

  • 5 Château de Chenonceau Gardens Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    F - 37150 Chenonceaux

    The two quintessentially French-style gardens of Chenonceaux have a dreamlike beauty and fine views of the château. Inspired by Italian gardens and their use of hydraulic engineering, the garden of Diane de Poitiers (1551) has at its centre a fountai..

  • 6 Ensemble Troglodytique Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    r. du Chateau F - 49260 Brézé

    An unassuming doorway off the courtyard of the Château de Brézé leads into a 15C gallery carved out of the rock which takes the visitor down to an extensive network of underground passages (over 1km) steeped in history and mystery. Their uniqueness a..

  • 7 Château de Montreuil-Bellay Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. des Douves F - 49260 Montreuil-Bellay

    An ancient fortress on the banks of the River Thouet; behind its barbican (a rare survival), moat and fortified gateway is a 15C castle. Visit the medieval kitchen with perfectly preserved chimney, the canon's lodgings with stove, and vaulted cellar ..

  • 8 Église Notre Dame de Cunault Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    r. du Ducs-d'Anjou F - 49350 Cunault

    Cunault was founded in 847 by monks from Noirmoutier who in 862 had to flee to Tournus in Burgundy. Subsequently it became a rich Benedictine priory. Only the church (11C-13C) remains, its massive tower (11C) topped by a 15C stone steeple. Inside, on..

  • 9 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..

  • 10 Church of Notre Dame des Marais Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    pl. Sadi-Carnot F - 72400 La Ferté-Bernard

    Construction of the church began in 1450 and culminated with the building of its chancel in 1596. Its sculpted exterior incorporates Renaissance elements, and the chevet has italianate embellishments. Of rare elegance, slender arcading rises in the c..

  • 11 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..

  • 12 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..

  • 13 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 ..

  • 14 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..

  • 15 St Peter's Church Interesting

    Religious buildings

    r. St-Pierre F - 28000 Chartres

    This is the Gothic Church from the old Benedictine abbey of St-Père-en-Vallée. The clock tower door dates from a pre-Roman building. In the arches to the right of the chancel the oldest stained-glass windows depict in hieratic forms people from the O..

  • 16 Dreux Belfry Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Grande-Rue-Maurice-Viollette F - 28100 Dreux

    The most decorative part of this belfry, built between 1512 and 1537 by Clément Métézeau, is flamboyant in style; its windows are framed with pilasters crowned by a frieze, turrets and a lantern.

  • 17 Compa Interesting

    Museums and art

    1 r. de la République F - 28300 Mainvilliers

    In a rotunda of the SNCF, the Conservatory for agricultural machinery and practices (COMPA) a museum is housed dedicated to agriculture. Tools and machinery (seed drills, harvesters) are shown in a huge hall then there is a very well set up section d..

  • 18 Anet Castle Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    F - 28260 Anet

    Built over a period from 1547 to 1552 by Philibert Delorme for Diane de Poitiers, Henry II's mistress, the castle has retained its entrance portal: the door is crowned by a clock over which stands a stag held at bay by four dogs and a tympanum decora..

  • 19 Place Plumereau Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. Plumereau F - 37000 Tours

    Place Pluereau is located in the pedestrianised centre of old Tours and lined with pretty half-timbered houses (see the beautiful façade with wooden crosspieces at the corner of rue Rôtisserie). On sunny days, the square is lively on account of its c..

  • 20 Rue Briçonnet Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. Briçonnet F - 37000 Tours

    The street is lined with old Tours residences: Romanesque façade at n°35, Gothic façade at n°31, Renaissance dwelling decorated with wooden statuettes at n°32, a beautiful spiral staircase which marks the entrance to place St-Pierre-le-Puellier, clas..

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