Centre France Travel Guide - A Vagabond Life
Welcome to Centre France.
With elegant Chateaux, rolling lands covered with vines, ancient cities and quaint villages the Centre France region is a treasure trove to explore.
Centre France Table of Contents
Centre France Map
Centre France – Things To See & Do In Centre France
Loire Valley Tourist Attractions
Orleans is the Regional capital and was an important city before the Romans came to the area. It was here that Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) rallied the armies of Charles VII which was a key turning point of the 100 years war. Significant buildings are the Cathederal Ste-Croix, a gothic cathedral, Hotel Groslot now a private museum and the Musee d’Beaux-Arts.
Chartres is best known for the Cathedral of Chartres Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres widely considered to be the finest Gothic cathedral in France. It is included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Its construction started in 1205, following the destruction of the old cathedral of Chartres. Construction took 66 years.
Blois: An ancient historic town that was first mentioned in the 6th century Blois sits on the northern bank of the Loire, with a magnificent Renaissance castle Chateau de Blois.
Tours is largest city in the region, Tours boasts an appealing historic centre with old half-timbered houses, St Gatien’s cathedral, and Chateau de Tours.
The River Loire
The River Loire is one of Europe’s great rivers. The river, excellent for fishing, is bordered by many attractive small towns, and the flat land is good for cycling. There are also many vineyards in the area of Tours.
Bourges was the capital of Aquitaine during Roman times and is home of the UNESCO listed gothic Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges and the Jacques Coeur Palace.
Gargilesse is one of France nominated beautiful villages this pretty village sits near the near the meeting of the Gargilesse stream and the river Creuse.
Chateaux of Centre France
Chateaux of The Loire Valley
There are over 300 Chateaux in the Loire Valley that were built mainly in the 17th and 18th century for French Royalty and Nobility. Unlike the defensive fortified chateaux in other parts of France, the chateaux of the Loire, built in safer times, are fairytale castles of architectural elegance.
Here are some of the highlights;
Chateau Chambord is simply breathtaking and a stunning example of renaissance architecture, construction started 1519 at the order of Francois 1 and was completed 30 years later. Ironically Francois 1 only stayed in the chateau for 42 days during his entire reign finding it too drafty. The chateau features a double helix staircase designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Chateau d’Azay-le Rideau
Chateau d’Azay-le Rideau is on an island in the middle of the Indre River. The chateau features both French and Italian style architecture and was built between 1518 and 1527. Corner turrets, a walking path around the external wall, and the water surrounding the chateau give it a medieval or fairytale castle feeling.
Chateau Chenonceau spans the Cher River with graceful arches and is one of the Loire Valleys loviest chateau. Legend is that the Grand Gallery was used by refugees escaping the Nazi occupation.
Chateau du Blois
Chateau du Blois has three different types of architecture that comprise the castle and the rooms are representative of the time periods so the interior tour can take a while.
Chateau de Cheverny
Chateau de Cheverny is a lovely example of French classical architecture and has survived the passing centuries with little or no alterations while being merticulously maintained. The chateau was the inspiration for Marlinspike Hall in the Tintin comics.
Wine of Centre France
Wine of The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley, famous for its wines, has 87 appellations under the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure (VDQS) and Vin de pays systems. While the majority of production is white wine from the Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc and Melon de Bourgogne grapes, there are some red wines made from Cabernet franc. In addition to still wines, rosé, sparkling and dessert wines are also produced in the area.
The Loire Valley has 185,000 acres / 750 km2 planted under vine and is about two-thirds the size of the Bordeaux wine region. The location and marginal climate of the area impacts the overall quality of a vintage greatly, more so than with other French wine regions.
Cycling the back roads and trails that wander through the vine yards is a popular way to explore the area.
World Destination Guide
There are 195 countries in the world stretching across seven continents – so there is an awful lot to see.Where to begin? Many people are inspired by a movie they have seen or a story they have heard, or a desire to see the land of their ancestors.
Use the drop-down on the right to explore the world.