Châteaux & Wine In The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is the land of the good life: fine food, beautiful buildings and wonderful wine. Ideal for a gentle road trip!

Chateau de Chenonceau 2008E

There’s something uniquely enchanting and uplifting about holidays in the Loire, considered by most to be the true heart of France. The Loire Valley in its entirety represents the most incredible cultural landscape, dotted with sublime feats of architecture, historic towns and village, sweeping countryside and of course…wine country at its very finest. The Chateaux and wine alone make the Loire Valley an absolute must during any visit to France.

The Loire Valley is one of France’s largest wine producing areas with names that like Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre to the East, along with Bourgueil and Chinon to the west. Whatever your tastes, the region produces truly exceptional reds, whites and rose wines, along with plenty of bubbly for fans of fizz. Speaking of which, Touraine Sparkling Wine is not to be overlooked when taking a trip to the region, which offers the same quality, craftsmanship and quality as Champagne but for an incredibly low price!

Warm and Welcoming

There’s a distinctly warm and welcoming atmosphere around the Loire Valley that’s unique to this region alone. Taking time out to visit the various chateaux around the regions and their equally magnificent gardens really does encapsulate the magic of the Loire. There are dozens of incredibly important historic sites and monuments around the region too, though it’s safe to say that many of the towns and villages you’ll come across along the way are nothing short of living museums in their own right. Romantic castles, medieval old towns and gorgeous green spaces on all sides, it’s nothing less than a picture-postcard snapshot of pure, idyllic perfection.

The French themselves are incredibly proud of the way in which the Loire Valley delivers a cross-section of all that’s glorious about their country as a whole.

Route du Vin

Given the sheer size of the region, the Route du Vin – aka the Loire Wine Road – makes it so much easier to get the very most from your visit. Exploring the region by car is an absolute must, as there’s way too much waiting to be discovered to stick around in one place too long. The route itself guides drivers through the most wonderful countryside, flanked by rich meadows, sleepy villages, hills, pastures and vineyards. While the appeal of touring the Loire in the summer months is relatively obvious, the most beautiful times to see the region are actually the early spring and mid-autumn.

There are more than 320 Caves Touristiques dotted throughout the Loire Valley, which are great for those who aren’t great with the French language as they offer tours in English. A full 280km stretch of the Loire Valley has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is easy to understand when you first lay eyes on it. Most of the chateaux you’ll encounter are open to the public and every single one of them along with their beautiful gardens makes for a fantastic few hours’ exploration.

Even with a car (bring your own on the ferry using Brittany Ferries), you’d probably need a good few months in the Loire Valley to explore the full 7,000+ wineries scattered across its 1,000km length. Feel free to plan your stops meticulously in advance, or simply make things up as you go along. Either way, you’ll find yourself lost in a world of all-things sensory and decadent for the duration of your trip.

Fine Dining

Interestingly, there isn’t what you’d call a specific or characteristic local cuisine in the Loire Valley, as would naturally be the case in other French regions. Instead, they’re simply masterful when it comes to making the most of whatever happens to be in season at the time – asparagus and mushrooms being particular favourites across Loire. And of course, you’ll find some of the very best charcuterie in the world, including exquisite rillauds, rillettes and rillons.

As already touched upon, the appeal of a holiday in the Loire during the summer months is obvious to say the least, though anyone with a true passion for wine should consider hitting town around the September/October harvest. The region enjoys short and mild winters and wonderfully warm springs, making it a year-round favourite for anyone with a taste for the good life.