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dimanche 15 décembre 2013

Things to do if you stay more than four nights

Visit either Chambord (the really big one, architecturally impressive with 365 chimneys and the revolving staircase designed by Da Vinci, but with little furniture or anything in it), Villandry (the one with the gardens), Cheverny (the one with the hunting dogs and the Tintin museum), Valancay (the best chateau to visit with kids — with an excellent play park, maze, mini-farm and, in high season, good re-enactments by stroppy kitchen staff and stablehands), Ussé (the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty fairytale), Chaumont (the one with the quirky but internationally renown Garden Festival) and Blois (with a Magic Museum and historical trails through the town — again, great with the kids).

But the Loire is not just about chateaux. There’s wine — we can recommend several wineries (or ‘caves’) in the area including the one in our village which is a medal-winning co-operative and sells very nice white, red, rose and sparkling wines.

There are troglodyte caves — some good for geological formations, others interesting from a historical point of view (people used to live in them/shelter during wars, that kind of thing) and some because they now grow tasty mushrooms in them!

France’s best zoo is at St Aignan, a 35 minute drive from here. It’s quite pricey but well-worth a visit — the good work they do far outweigh any negative criticisms of zoos, and the vast majority of the animals have quite superb accommodation!  They have France's only Giant Pandas and Manatees. 

You can visit the local aquarium and see the huge cat fish from the Loire river — we have a few in the Cher too!!!

Tours is a really nice city, with everything you’d expect from a French city — fancy municipal buildings and big department stores, chic boutiques, and the old quarter with it’s half-timbered houses and cafes. There’s also a lot of history to be found if you rummage around—the Roman walls, the stuffed elephant, St Martin’s Basilica… Parking isn't too difficult but you can also go in on the train which makes it all the more of an adventure!

Parc Mini-Chateaux has all the chateaux in the area in miniature — the landscaping and attention to detail is quite awesome, and if nothing else, it can help you pick out the chateau you want to see while you are here.

But nobody ever died wishing they’d spent more time in the car so factor in some rest days — chill out, hire a bike or go for a walk. This is a really beautiful area — we’ve been here for 17 years now and we’re still discovering more.

You can find more local information at: