At long last we are happy to announce the publication of Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire, Valley of the Kings. The Loire is one of the most beautiful valleys in France. It's home to 300+ aristocratic châteaux (castles) sprinkled like Renaissance jewels across the countryside just an hour by train outside Paris.
Built by the kings and courtiers of yesteryear, these fabulous estates are now open to the public. But not just for sumptuous tours and memorable dining--but also for weddings, garden shows, Christmas celebrations, and romantic overnights.
Among my favorites are: Chenonceau, the pretty women’s château much loved by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Médici; stately Chambord, François I’s king of castles with 425 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 84 staircases; Chaumont, the fantastic castle and queenly host of the International Garden Festival; Ussé, Sleeping Beauty’s castle where Charles Perault’s princess still awakens to her true-love’s kiss; Azay-le-Rideau, the diamond estate on a lake, and dozens of others.
Along the way, we visit the pretty towns of Tours (the cradle of the French Language), Amboise (the handy tourism enclave), Blois (regal center of historical Loire); modern Orléans (Joan of Arc and noted jazz locale), Saumur (equestrian and Cadre Noir haven), Chartres (home to the famous cathedral), and Le Mans (24-hour auto race darling that attracts fans the world over).
But there’s more! Did you know that some of the most famous wines and cuisine in France come from the Loire? Chinon, Sancerre, and Vouvray are some of the wine stars of the region. And yes, we also taste some of the Loire's memorable cuisine like chèvre goat cheese and mushroom tarts, famous dishes like Boudin blanc, Canard au Muscadet, and Jambon de Sancerre plus much-loved desserts like tarte Tatin. But not just as appreciative diners! We’ll take some cooking classes and learn the secrets to French cheese and macaron making too.
We’ll fly the Loire skies in a hot-air balloon, cycle the pretty byways along forests and vineyards, hike and picnic at the burbling river’s edge, and wander the most splendid gardens and mushroom caves on the planet. Come and join me in my journey, along with local expert Christy Destremau American-French owner of France Off the Beaten Path Tours, as we bring you the delights of Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire, Valley of the Kings.
We invite you to sample the Loire delights in our new book now available on Amazon worldwide and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ePub formats. We also include tour guide and tour package recommendations for visiting this area of France. Among these are France Off the Beaten Path Tours at https://www.traveloffthebeatenpath.com.