The Loire Valley (Valloire in French) is one of the most beautiful places in France. Located in the Central part of France, this region has endured centuries of wars, occupation, rape, pillage, and royal intrigue and mystery. Many of France's kings built hunting or vacation chateaux in this region either for hunting game or mistresses, and some of the chateaux were given to many royal mistresses as gifts.
Our April 1985 trip to the Loire Valley only scratched the surface, but we were able to enjoy visiting three of the chateaux de la Loire--Chambord, Chenonceau, and Amboise. This journal will cover all three of the chateaux and give you information on how to get there and where to stay.
WHERE TO STAY AND HOW TO GET THERE
There are many hotels scattered throughout the Loire Valley for all budgets. Our group stayed in the nearby city of Tours which enabled us to enjoy two days of chateaux hopping and other adventures while we were there. Located about 60 miles south west of Paris, the Loire Valley makes a good day trip from the City of Lights by car, bus, or train.
Once in Tours, walk around the city located on the Loire River and enjoy several of the sites in the city. A small group of girls and I took walk at night after dinner and enjoyed it very much. While we were walking, we thought we were being followed by strange men, and ran back to our hotels, but it turned out not to be anything serious. But use precautions when wandering around any city at night and avoid bad areas of the towns.
The best way to see the chateaux is by foot on your own or on guided tours. Our trips to Chambord and Chenonceau were unguided, but we were led on a very good guided tour of Amboise with a native guide who spoke in French with our English guide translating for us.
The Chateaux of the Loire Valley are well-worth a day or two of your time and should be in any itinerary for a trip to France.