Explore chateaux and vineyards in the Loire Valley

Friday, 27 April 2012 2:34 PM

France is an ideal location for a short break, and by heading to the Loire Valley region, you can explore some of the country's most beautiful landscapes, visit its chateaux and sample local wines. To find out more about what you can do in the Loire Valley, read on.

Whether you're into heading to vineyards, learning more about the nation's history or getting back to nature, a French holiday here could be ideal for you and your family.

Get back to nature

The Loire Valley is located in northern France, which means it is within easy reach of families travelling from the UK. Here, visitors can expect to see some of the best scenery in the country, with the area boasting fruit orchards, vineyards, meadows and the beautiful Loire River.

If you want to get back to nature, you could go cycling along the river, or you may prefer to go walking or horse riding on the various footpaths through its forests and over its fields. If you're looking for something a bit more engaging to keep the kids amused, there are a number of tour operators offering water sports and guided trips, so they can spend their energy while enjoying the natural environment of the Loire Valley.

Learn about French history

Within the 800 sq km of the Loire Valley, there are 300 chateaux you can explore, offering plenty for you to do to keep you busy during your holiday in the region. French royalty once used this area for their castles, and as a result, there are magnificent buildings everywhere you turn.

One castle to visit is Chateau Chambord, which was built in the 16th century, giving holidaymakers a taste of Renaissance architecture and art. It was commissioned by King Francois I and, with more than 400 rooms, 84 staircases and hundreds of fireplaces, is the largest building in the region. You'll definitely have plenty to see in the castle if you take a tour around it, but the extensive grounds here also make for a great place to go for a pleasant walk or a horse ride.

Chateau d'Usse is likely to be a favourite among kids for its fairytale-like design. Indeed, it is believed that the castle was inspiration for Charles Perrault when he wrote the story Sleeping Beauty. It was built in the 15th century and over the years has retained its character, with many of the rooms preserved as they would have been hundreds of years ago to give visitors the chance to get a taste of French history.

Enjoy a tipple

This region isn't just renowned for its castles, and you will find numerous vineyards in the vast meadows. The pleasant climate here, together with the Loire River and vast open space, gives away to excellent conditions for growing gapes - and as such, the Loire Valley has produced some of the best wines in the world over the years.

There are many vineyards to explore, and because lots of holidaymakers book a family villa in France simply for the purpose of seeing where their favourite drinks are made, you'll come across a number of cellar tours.

Certainly, you can buy a bottle for yourself and head back to your accommodation, where you can muse over what the next destination to book a villa to rent in France may be.

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