To the southwest of Paris lies the Loire Valley, the lush and fertile valley of the Loire River.
French kings relocated here from Paris in the 16th century, attracted to the beauty and bounty of the landscape (and the practicality of a large navigable river). The valley was soon dotted with castles—châteaux, in French—and even after the kings moved back toward Paris, those in royal circles (kings and queens included) continued to build summer homes there, earning it the moniker, “playground of the kings.”
EF groups that go to the Loire Valley will (depending on the specific itinerary) see some of the most spectacular châteaux—Chenonceau (above, literally spanning the Cher River, a tributary of the Loire) and/or Amboise—and/or have a photostop at Chambord, the largest Loire château.
The Loire Valley was named a World Heritage Site in 2000.
(Editor’s note: Each Monday, Focus On highlights a different destination included on one or more EF Educational Tours itineraries.)
Photo: MllePeterson via Flickr (CC license)