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    Castles, Vineyards and Views

    Boasting a staggering number of castles, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Loire Valley also has picturesque vineyards and riverside towns. Once noble retreats, many of the region’s chateaux are now hotels on Booking.com.

    With an imposing castle as well as charming half-timbered buildings, Angers is the meeting point of 3 rivers that flow into the Loire. One of these, the Sarthe, continues to Le Mans, a historic town famous for its 24-hour car race, while Saumur is best known for its horse shows and square castle overlooking the Loire.

    Chinon’s large hilltop castle once housed French and English kings, while Villandry castle hosted discussions between the 2 nations. Its beautiful gardens are in geometric patterns, similar to those by Chenonceaux castle spanning the Cher River.

    Between the 2 is Tours with its towering cathedral and colourful medieval core. Amboise is a little further east and has a chateau overlooking the region’s typical stone buildings with grey roofs. It also has several Loire Valley hotels with pools.

    Blois has yet another royal castle, though its understated exterior doesn’t prepare you for the incredible interior. Nearby Chambord has the largest and most magnificent castle, and the Loire continues to Orléans, a medieval city famed for Joan of Arc and an amazing cathedral. At the opposite end of Sologne Forest is a fabulous cathedral in Bourges.

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