The Loire Valley is undoubtedly one of the most magical places you could visit on luxury barge trips in France. From magnificent chateaux with their Renaissance gardens, to the charming towns and villages that dot the landscape, there is a notable authenticity to this pretty part of the country. When it comes to the cities in this region, you are spoiled for choice, and many are included in the itineraries of luxury barge trips in France’s Loire Valley.
Top Three Cities in the Loire
All of the cities listed here have earned World Heritage status and when you visit you will appreciate why.
Set on the banks of the river, Orléans is the official capital of the area. A stunning city with history seeping out of every doorway, this is the place that was saved from the English by Joan of Arc in 1429. You will see the heroine honoured everywhere; depicted in scenes of her life in the stained glass of the cathedral, as a statue at Place du Martol and also in the timbered house that has been created to represent her home.
The city is home to 16 parks, but the real natural beauty lies along the banks of the river, which is ideal if you don’t want to go far from your vessel when your captain anchors up.
There is the option to visit museums including the Musée des Beaux-Arts, with its incredible works by Correggio, Velazquez, Bruegel and Martin Quentin de la Tour, or you can marvel at the modern artistic collection housed in the beautiful Frac Centre-Val de Loire.
Offering the perfect fusion of ancient and modern, Tours is a hub of activity and a wonderful place to visit if you want to get a real feel for a typical French city. Luckily for barge goers, life here centres around the riverside, with bustling bars, welcoming cafes and charming restaurants lining the banks. A wander through Vieux Tours is certainly worth the effort; this medieval district is one of the best preserved in the country. For more history hits, head to the Cathédrale Saint Gatien de Tours; the mix of architectural styles that combine to create this masterpiece is nothing short of mind blowing.
Bursting with cultural sites, fabulous food and amazing shopping opportunities too, there is plenty to fill a day here. On luxury barge trips in France’s Loire region, a stop in Tours is a must.
Step off any of the luxury barge trips in France’s lovely Loire and you will feel like you are stepping back a few centuries. In fact, it is almost like walking into an open air museum. The twelfth-century cathedral, the old fortresses and the half timbered houses offer the perfect vision of what it was like here 800 years ago.
You can’t visit Angers without spending an hour or two in the Medieval district. Château d’Angers is a highlight here and definitely worth more than a cursory look. Home to the amazing Apocalypse Tapestry (which is recognised as the oldest surviving French tapestry of its time, and the largest in the world), the castle also offers incredible views over the river you have just travelled along.
When considering luxury barge trips in France’s delightful Loire region, it is always a good idea to talk to a reputable tour operator for advice. They will be able to help you choose a trip that meets all of your holiday aspirations and get your holiday planning ball rolling!