The Loire Valley was the capital of the French aristocracy from the 15th to 18th centuries and the area is dotted with the most beautiful castles in France.
The most famous chateaux include Angers, Chinon, Chambord, Chenonceau, Saumur and Villandry. In summer many of the castles play host to outdoor spectacles of music, dance and fireworks.
The town of Chartres, with its magnificent 13th-century cathedral, is regarded as Europe’s most superb Gothic building. The United Nations has designated the Cathedral an international cultural heritage site. The Maison de Jeanne d’Arc in Orleans honors the life and times of the city’s most famous daughter, Joan of Arc. The Loire Valley is regarded as the “garden of France,” and the delicious foods and wines of the regions pay homage to this title.