Food N' Wine Vacations Blog

The best Loire Valley Medieval castles to visit

Posted by smadar Palace on Sat, May, 12, 2012

Loire Valley Tours , castels

The Loire Valley stretches 170 miles along the banks of the Loire River in central France.? This fairytale region known for its many castles/chateaux, bountiful produce, artisanal cheeses and long history of viticulture, the Loire Valley remains a favorite tourist destination.


Over three hundred castles populate the valley and record its rich history dating back to the 10th century. Our favorites include:


azay La ridu, loire valley

Azay le Rideau, was built at the site of a medieval fortress in the heart of Touraine. Rising from its foundation in the Indre river in this castle is surrounded by a lovely, romantic park.


Blois Loire Valley

The Royal Castle of Blois was once occupied by King Louis XII and illustrates the evolution of French architecture from medieval, to gothic, renaissance, and 17th century classical.


Chateau cheverney Loire valley France

Chateau of Cheverny with its grand stone staircase and exquisite furnishings has been owned by one family for centuries.


Chateau chambord, Loire valley, France

 Chateau Chambord, the largest castle in the region has more than 800 elaborately sculpted columns and an astonishing double helix staircase.


Chateau Chenonceau, Loire valley, France

The Chateau Chenonceau may be the most impressive castle in France. Built as a royal residence its original architecture spans the Cher River and hosts an art gallery that rivals many museums.

Chateau villandry, Loire valley, France

With specialty gardens that include a love garden, a water garden, and color coordinated vegetable gardens, Chateau de Villandry with should not be missed.


Chteau Amboise , Loire valley, France

The medieval town of Amboise warrants a visit in and of itself, but the Chateau d'Amboise is not to be missed. Historically home to many kings it is said that Leonardo de Vinci is buried there.


Loire valley food and wine resized 600

Called the Garden of France, you'll discover gastronomical delights. From white asparagus to world famous cherries, the Loire Valley is a food lover's dream.? Also known for it's many delicious and distinctive goat cheeses, you'll sample a variety that are unique to the region.


French cheese

 

And then there is the wine. No tour of the Loire Valley would be complete without a visit to the world renowned vineyards.


Viticulture began in the 5th century and has been growing in the valley ever since producing dozens of varieties both red and white.


Flight Hot air Baloon, Loire valley , France

If you are on a tight schedule, consider a hot air balloon flight to enjoy the castles from above. Whether it's the wine, food, or castles that bring you to the Loire Valley, you'll be guaranteed a marvelous and delicious journey through the heart of France.

Want to see a sample itinerary? Chateaux, Vineyards and cooking class  

 

Topics: Culinary Tours, France, Food And Wine Tours, Culinary Travel, Wine Tours France, French wine country, Hot air balloon flight, Loire Valley Castles, Vacation To France, Loire valley tours from Paris, Tours to France, visit the Loire valley, Chateaux of the Loire

The 10 best places to visit in Provence

Posted by smadar Palace on Thu, May, 03, 2012


Lavender- Provence Tour

Provence is a treat for the senses. Breathtaking beauty lies in the shadow of the Vaucluse Mountains.The air is heavy with scent of lavender, blooming effortlessly throughout the region. You soon realize?the region?doesn’t beckon visitors. It claims them.


 Provence tours

Gourmands delight in Provence, tucked in the southeast corner of the French Mediterranean. This region carries the impression of every major culture since time began. Romans, Greeks, Celts and Germanic Tribes have all left their imprint here. French Provencal culture’s unique style and flavor are found nowhere else. Classic dishes are a melange of fresh flavors, from earth, sea and sky.Like the fare, each Provencal?town is unique. From the perched village of Gordes, to historic Avignon, to the relaxed beachside Cassis, and everything in between, Provence sparkles as the multifaceted gem of the Mediterranean.


Provence-tours-market

In Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, a quaint ?village, you’ll find the source of the Sorgue River. The freshwater spring, or fountain, located at the base of a steep cliff, is a must-see experience.


L'isle sur la sorgues, Provence Tours

Following the river from it’s source, you’ll find the town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The “Venice of Provence” is a picturesque waterside village. Stroll the famed antique shops or enjoy a repast at a riverside caf?. If you’re in town on a Sunday, visit the acclaimed Antiques Market and pick up a one-of-a-kind memento.


Gordes, Provence tours

Gordes, a mix of old and new, offers cobblestone streets and remarkable architecture. Home to many artists, as well as stars of stage and screen, the village hosts eclectic music festivals drawing from all over the region.


Provence tours- Roussillon

Neighboring Roussillon’s red ochre hills, streets and facades are reminiscent of the American desert southwest. These hills are as old as time and the range of crimson hues is breathtaking.


Provence-tours-le-baux-de-provence.jpg

This region of France?boasts wondrous “perched villages” but none as notable as Menerbes. Get to know locals while enjoying this sleepy little village, and you’ll soon discover the je ne sais quoi which inspired British writer Peter Mayle to pen his tome “A Year in Provence”.


Lacoste, Provence tours

LaCoste is sun drenched and welcoming. Seeing medieval architecture, walled chateaus, and clandestine streets you can understand why the notorious Marquis de Sade found it the ideal hideaway.


provence-tours-avignon.jpg

Avignon’s Roman influence is evident. Distinctly Romanesque cafes border the Rhone River. The University and, Papal Palace, home to the head of the Western Catholic Church for 39 years, during a break with Rome, bear a resemblance to the buildings of Vatican City.


provence tours-wine tour

Chateauneuf-du-Pape, along the Rhone, is a destination for wine-lovers. Literally translated, this “Pope’s-new-Castle” created a viticulture which produces both reds and whites. Connoisseurs claim these lush and fertile vineyards bear forth grapes resulting in unique and superior vintage, the red being held in highest esteem.

Provence tours-  St remy de Provence

Saint Remy-de-Provence is an authentic artists lair where tortured, immensely gifted legend Vincent Van Gogh, spent time battling inner demons while creating some of his most prolific works. Lush gardens and ancient monuments enhance your visit in a way Nostradamus, another famous resident, couldn’t have predicted.


provence tours- cassis

Cassis is a not-to-be-missed treat. The allure of?this unique region?is embodied in the picturesque fjords of the Mediterranean. The best way to explore them is by taking a boat trip and enjoying the stunning views.

A trip to Provence is sure to relax your mind, body and soul, if just a bit. This region will give new meaning to “ C’est la vie“, because such is life in Provence.

Want to see a sample itinerary to Provence?  Check out Best of Provence

 OR

Download  A Free Guide: Must See and Do in Provence

 

Topics: France, Wine Tours France, Provence Vacation, Tours to France, Tours to Provence, Wine Tour in France, Provence Tour, Best of Provence, Tour Provence, Provence Travel, South of France vacation, Trip to Provence