You are here: Home / Heritage / The Loire

The Loire

The regions of Touraine and Anjou are united by a superb, royal link: the Loire.

Called "Loire moyenne" (or middle Loire) as it enters the Centre region, this river wends its way through the chalk plateaus of the Parisian basin before becoming "Loire aval" (downstream Loire) as it leaves the Park, after Angers, where it reaches the Armorican granite platform. It is joined in Touraine by some of its most prestigious tributaries – the Cher, Indre, Vienne – and then, in Anjou, by other more modest rivers: the Thouet and Authion.

Landscapes spring up from these confluents where humans and nature have skillfully created the famous harmony of the "gardens of France", under the kindly ramparts of the last châteaux of the Loire Valley: Villandry, Ussé, Chinon, Montsoreau, Saumur… For the Loire and its fellow rivers have made it possible to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers on the fertile, alluvial soils. The inhabitants have thus turned the mild climate to their advantage to create the art of simple pleasures in life...
The dampest areas, situated near the rivers, are often flooded by the latters' sudden caprices. They have been given over to livestock rearing or alluvial forests. This relative abandonment of land has turned these areas into wonderful biotopes, listed by naturalists and recognised by scientists, which provide living environments for such remarkable species as fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris).

The characteristic tuffeau stone of the region can be found gracing the walls of local houses and fine residences alike. And as for the Loire châteaux, they are what makes this region so famous, and welcome thousands of visitors every year.

 

In Loire-Anjou-Touraine, there is no doubt that stone and history have been intricately linked for centuries. The châteaux of Saumur, Langeais, Villandry, Ussé, Richelieu, Montreuil-Bellay, Azay-le-Rideau and many others are awaiting your visit! After the age of fortresses, the favour that this region found with the Kings of France gave rise to a new palatial design: such residences were no longer simply symbols of strength and power, but became homes ornate with exquisite and elaborate decoration where the garden took pride of place. Incidentally, the French-style garden first came about in the Loire Valley.