If you want to visit our neighboring country in a different way, an interesting option is the route castles France. And if you do not want to stop marveling addition, you should not miss the route of the castles of the Loire. Land of kings and battles, the valley through which advances the Loire has a natural and historical wealth embodied in the hundred castles emplaced between Orleans and Saumur.
Like Spain, our neighbor is a country riddled with fortifications. Especially beautiful medieval towns of Brittany, which seem frozen in another time. They also highlight the castles south, scattered along the Pyrenees, the Cathar castles known. But if you’re thinking of making a castles route France, I suggest you start with the route of the castles of the Loire. Perched atop a hill, hidden in the underbrush, in the streets of their aristocratic cities or surrounded by beautiful gardens, these strengths emerged from the Renaissance heyday immerse the traveler in a world of courtly intrigue, poetry nights and partying with mandolin twang. Be seduced by the Loire Castles.
Our drive route through the Loire begins in the beautiful Abbey of Fontevraud, the twelfth century, considered one of the largest monastic centers in Europe, royal necropolis of the Plantagenet. Will call attention to its proportions and its original architecture. In this magnificent hall of the XII century nobles and French kings they resided. By following eastward you find the royal fortress of Chinon dominating the village, built by the Count of Blois Thibaut I evokes the period when the history of France and England were intimately mixed. In 1429, in the great hall of the royal apartments, the historic meeting of Joan of Arc with the Dauphin, the future Charles VII took place. Nearby is the castle of Rivau where you can not but be surprised with the curious combination of a classic fortress with towers, battlements and moat, and the ultra-modern sculpture gardens. To rest, we night in the city of Tours.
The second day is dedicated to the city of Tours. You will love the medieval streets and half-timbered houses the welcoming city. In the lively terraces of the Plumereau square you can taste the excellent wines of Touraine in a typical atmosphere of medieval court. The harmony between architecture and landscape is evident in the castle and gardens of Villandry, where the beauty of the building with the tender harmony of citrus groves and vineyards are guarding it combines. Around the elegant castle magnificent Italianate gardens extend. Box hedges and flowerbeds form a symphony of colors and shapes, a living tapestry that changes with the seasons. Then the quiet village of Azay-le-Rideau, with its mill on the bridge, like something out of a fairy tale, and its castle surrounded by water lily ponds. An original and healthy way to discover the treasures of the valley is giving the pedals and following the route of the Loire by bike, which is very well signposted; You can also do horseback, riding through the castles along the river. At night, again we returned to Tours.
We continue our journey on the third day, back in time to the palatial luxury of the French Renaissance. Now you will have the opportunity to marvel at the Amboise castle, next to which it says are buried the remains of Leonardo da Vinci and the Clos Lucé, which worked the Renaissance genius. The town of Amboise also has a special grace, as its urban center is full of craft shops, packed houses planters with flowers and tiny squares with charming cafes and bistros where you can taste the specialties of the region, rich andouillettes excellent sausage or goat cheese, all washed down with a good local wine. As if that were not enough, the population will have the opportunity to jump on a hot air balloon and enjoy the valley bird’s eye view. To top it off so nice day we suggest a visit to the castle of Chenonceau, the jewel of the valley and the most visited country after Versailles. Also known as Ladies Castle, it has a long gallery crossing the Cher River. This day, we will night in the city of Blois.
The fourth day was dedicated to the majesty of Blois, the capital of France during the sixteenth century. The great attraction of this city built on the banks of the Loire is the medieval streets of the old town. steep streets, wooden houses and noble mansions with accompanying medallions on the facade along the promenade leading to the castle of Blois, the best example of the architectural apogee reached the city during the Renaissance. La Maison de la Magie, which can dive deeper into the history of magic and even practice some tricks: front of the castle a museum is recommended. Nearby is the imposing palace of Chambord, brash whim of King Francis I, who, high in the heart of a vast estate and surrounded by a wall 32 kilometers, is a wonderful example of architectural harmony and ornamental fantasy. Its 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 14 staircases give an idea of the dimensions. Its spiral staircase was designed by da Vinci. Nor it falls short of spectacular Cheverny, one of the most elegant palaces of the valley with its furniture of the seventeenth century and its gardens crisscrossed by canals and decorated with cedars. You can discover his curious relationship with the sympathetic Tintin, Cheverny is as Moulinsart, the residence of Captain Haddock. Chaumont-sur-Loire, overlooking the river aupado on a hill and illustrates the defensive nature of the Gothic period and the ornamental Renaissance architecture: After traveling a few kilometers silhouette of another exceptional castle appears. If you have opted to go any stretch of the valley by bicycle, we recommend the nice itinerary that goes from Blois to Chaumont-sur-Loire. And if yours is the placidity, do not hesitate to embark on a toue, a traditional boat in the area, and navigate between Chaumont-sur-Loire and Amboise. At night, we returned back to Blois.
And finally, the fifth day of our route through the Loire Valley, is dedicated to Orleans. Undisputed national heroine, the Maid of Orleans is present in the remotest corners of the city. Walking through this attractive town you’ll discover the magnificent Gothic cathedral of Santa Cruz, the hotel Groslot, an impressive main square with terraces and charming medieval and Renaissance streets. do not stop visiting the home of Juana de Arco, located where the streets of the old quarter, between the Loire River and the cathedral open. As a postscript to the magnificent route drive through the Loire we propose visit the castle of Sully-sur-Loire, gateway to the east of the valley. This imposing fortress, located at the confluence of the rivers Loire and Sange, can boast of having hosted not only countless noble and powerful, but also Voltaire, one of the great figures of French literature and thought.
The route of the Loire Castles is a fantastic trip with amazing places to visit. Every city, every castle has a thousand interesting stories to tell.