Centre-Val de Loire

Travel Guide Europe France Centre-Val de Loire



Centre-Val de Loire is a large inland region of central France located to the south-west of the French capital Paris. The name reflects the fact that much of this region embraces the renowned valley of the river Loire. The region is known for its fine historical towns, its vineyards and agricultural produce and its many beautiful castles (châteaux).




  • Orléans - The regional capital has been crazy about Joan of Arc since the French heroine's successes against the English in the siege of 1428-29. Orleans' fine cathedral and grand streets are also worth the trip.
  • Amboise. A small town overlooking the Loire home to two completely different châteaux - the town's castle is an impressive riverside defensive fortress, while Le Clos Lucé is a renaissance-era château where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years.
  • Blois. Capital of the Loir-et-Cher, known for its royal château and cathedral overlooking the Loire.
  • Bourges. Home of the famous St Etienne cathedral.
  • Chartres. home of the famous cathedral of stained-glass.
  • Tours. The largest city in the region, located between the rivers Loire and Cher. Home to an extensive old town, two stunning cathedrals, decent museums and fine cuisine. Tours offers the biggest selection of hotels in the Loire Valley and is well-connected by road and rail, so makes an excellent home base for exploring the area as a whole.



Getting There

By Train

Both Tours and Vendôme are on the LGV Atlantique (commonly known as the TGV) from Paris Montparnasse.


Centre-Val de Loire Travel Helpers

  • Beausoleil

    We've visited Centre and the Loire Valley for over 25 years. We finally made it completely through the Pays de la Loire in 2016 so have pretty much covered the entire Loire Valley. Most of the famous chateaux are in Centre and there are marvelous churches and abbeys too. There is a very nice zoo with a white tiger in St. Aignan and, of course, the rivers and all water activity.

    We've visited over 100 chateaux in and out of the Loire and love the small towns and villages. We usually rent a gite (country cottage) and occasionally a B&B and take day trips in the area. I'd love to answer any questions you have and encourage you to travel to the Loire Valley.

    Ask Beausoleil a question about Centre-Val de Loire

This is version 2. Last edited at 15:10 on Mar 5, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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