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France
- info - Loire Valley -
The historic heart of France, the chateaux's are the main attraction of this region. The greatest concentration of 16th and 17th century chateaux's are around Tours.

Tours, in the 15th century, was the capital of France. Now the medieval old quarter of the city has been blocked off for pedestrian use and is full of cafes, boutiques and galleries. Some of the areas worth while chateauxs to see are; Chateau deVillandry, Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, Chateau d'Amboise, Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau de Blois, and Chateau de Chambord.

Chateau de Villandry, west of Tours is most famous for its gardens. At the beginning of this century restoration was begun, and still continues today to bring this 17 acre, three terrace garden back to its Renaissance glory. The garden is complete with signs explaining the history of the plants and arrangements.

Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, south west of Tours, it was constructed in the early 16th century and is considered one of the best designed Renaissance Chateaus. Its Gothic exterior fortifications are mainly decorative. The interior has a four-story grand staircase and the rooms are decorated with Renaissance pieces to create a fine Renaissance museum.

Chateau d'Amboise, east of Tours is mainly noted for its historical importance, as numerous kings lived there. In a nearby manor house Leonardo da Vinci spent his finial years, and many of his inventions of that time are on display.

Chateau de Chenonceau, located east of Tours is probably the most recognized chateau in the world. Spanning the river Cher, the Chateau is built on the foundations of an old mill. The main living area was in the square turreted building in the middle of the river with a two-story gallery spanning the rest. The rooms are fully furnished with period pieces and the flower gardens are not to be missed.

Chateau de Blois, north east of Tours was the principle royal residence and court from the 13th century until 1598 when the court was moved to Paris. The chateau went through a series of expansions, and combines wings of Gothic, Renaissance, French Renaissance and Classical designs. The most notable aspect is the Francois I Staircase built in the French Renaissance style and set into the fa├žade of the wing. The entire chateau is authentically furnished throughout.

Chateau de Chambord, northeast of Tours is France's great classical chateaus. Construction was started in 1519 under Francois I and was finished in 1685 by Louis XIV. Most notable of the 440-roomed chateau, is the grand staircase. Supposedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci, it ensures that the person going up does not meet the person coming down.



Climate - more moderate temperatures are to be found in the central region of France. The average temp in winter is 8 deg C, Spring and fall is average of 18 deg C, and summer has average temps of 26 deg C.

Learn More about France and it's other Regions

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