Friday, February 13, 2009

Loire Valley

The Loire River Valley is along the Loire River in the middle of France. The region has castles of spectacular architecture all throughout. Most are from the Renaissance era, but there is a mixture of that and medieval. The castles are the main highlight, but the countryside also has vineyards and a rolling landscape to offer.

Arguably the prettiest castle is Chenonceau. It was built in the 1430’s for one of King Charles VIII’s Chamberlain but eventually made its way into the heirloom of the king. So it was passed down among all of the later kings. The castle bedrooms dedicated to almost all of the kings that owned it. Each king decorated their room to their liking, so the rooms are all different and not repetitive. Then there is the great hall with a series of rib vaults that have fauna hanging. Or there is the chapel, with the stained glass window filling the room with life. This is just inside, the gardens outside are even more colorful and never ending. To think the kings just used this as a summer home.

That was just one of over 300 castles! Another must see is the Chambord. You might recognize it as one of the choices for standard wallpaper on a Microsoft. This castle was originally built as a hunting lodge for King Francois I. It is known for the French Renaissance architecture and the double helix staircase in the main foyer. Just from the outside, you can see how HUGE it is. Not to mention the reflection off of the perfectly kept lake right next to it, making it look twice as big. The castle has over 440 rooms inside! Under restoration in the 1940’s, it is now restored to the original majesty.

After you have spent multiple days looking at the creation of kings, you can enjoy a peaceful day in the countryside trying some of the most famous wines in the world. Some of these wines include Sancerre & Pouilly-Fume, Anjou-Saumur, and Chinon. Most wineries in the Loire Valley are still family owned giving the vineyards a very homey and safe feel. When you watch movies that have the traditional, dreamy vineyards in them; they are most likely from this region.

The Loire River Valley would be the perfect place to relax for any length of time. It is filled with castles just waited to be awed at, as well as wines just waiting to be tried. The ideal rolling hills overflowing with castles and filled in with vineyards are the perfect place to escape to.

1 comment:

  1. The castle of King Francois I has definitely been my wallpaper on my computer before and I have habitually thought of the idea that I would love to visit there! I couldn't think of a more beautiful area to visit and thought it was quite humerus that this picture was posted!