At the centre of this region are the regal river Loire and its numerous tributaries, attractive historic towns and cathedral cities such as Tours, Blois and Chinon and of course the chateaux. The chateaux range from vast palaces to fortresses, from mediaeval strongholds to Renaissance delights and include the well known ones of Chenonceaux, Chambord, Villandry and pretty Azay le Rideau. The vineyards offer great variety from sparkling Vouvray to the reds of Chinon and Bourgueil. Our `Loire Valley` covers the central region of Touraine and the more westerly region of Anjou as well as taking in a more southern part that extends towards Poitiers. The visitor to the Loire Valley is embraced by seemingly endless amusements whatever the time of year, enticing for longer stays and so well situated for overnight stops or short breaks.
Luxury hotels in the Loire Valley include The Chateau de Marcay, an enchanting four-star hotel in a secluded location near Chinon. It is possible to reach the Loire Valley by train, combining a holiday here with a visit to Bordeaux. Alternatively, a self-drive holiday to the Loire Valley is an excellent option, allowing you to explore the region's Chateaux by car or to combine a stay in the region with a holiday to the Dordogne region and Normandy.
Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan 7.8, Feb 6.8, Mar 10.3, Apr 16.1, May 16.4, Jun 23.6, Jul 25.8, Aug 24.5, Sep 21.1, Oct 16.2, Nov 11.2, Dec 7.0.
Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.
Cultural highlights include wines and wine vinegars, wild mushrooms - (visit the mushroom museum), the Troglodyte caves, and local art exhibitions. Festivals: Son et Lumiere in the chateaux in the summer months. Summer festival in Chinon in August.
How to get there Self-drive: Journey of about 6 hours' from Calais, motorway all the way or perhaps with an overnight stop in Normandy, perhaps at the Auberge de l'Abbaye or the Auberge de la Source if you want to take the country roads. Another recommendation is to take an overnight sailing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Le Havre or Caen and then you will reach the area in time for lunch. A late afternoon ferry back is then convenient for the last day. By Air: Airports at either Nantes or Paris. It is possible to fly with British Airways (operated by GB Airways) into Nantes from London.
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Paris Airport Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK. Currency Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24) Size Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long Population 66 million Average temperature Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round
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