Just beyond our nearest French neighbours in Normandy and Brittany, you will find the glorious Loire Valley, a land of lush, rolling hills and grand Châteaux. Yet because we know that most Eurocampers like to enjoy a blend of sunshine and culture, many of our camping parcs in the Loire also feature river or lake beaches.
The tradition of enjoying breaks in the Loire began in the 15th century when Kings, Princes and nobles spent their family wealth building châteaux.
Before that, grand defences were built at strategic points along the Loire to protect France from invaders.
In fact, there are more than 1,000 fairytale chateaux in the Loire, and as you tour between famous names such as Chambord and Saunier, you are sure to stumble upon many more equally enjoyable examples.
The Loire is also rightly known as the Garden of France, so those with a taste for the grape will feel particularly at home here, as there are even more vineyards than châteaux, with great wines including Sancerre, Muscadet and Vouvray all here to be found and tasted on the famous wine tours.
Yet there is much to entertain Eurocampers besides great Châteaux, as the Atlantic coast of the Vendee is within reach, as are the lovely towns of Tours, Orleans and Montrichard, not forgetting Le Mans, as famous for its splendid cathedral as for its 24 hour motor race.
Turning to the cuisine of the region, it is hard to name a typical dish for the Loire, as there is so much choice; though the proximity of the Atlantic does mean a splendid selection of seafood, often served with locally grown vegetables.
As well as the Loire valley, Eurocamp have holiday parcs across France. Take a look at our French campsites section for more information
Best known for its plentiful châteaux, the Loire region also offers those camping here a host of unforgettable views, towns and attractions:
Most famous for the 24 hour car race that is held here every year, Le Mans also offers you Vieux mans, the ancient, fortified centre surrounded by the finest Gallo-Roman walls in France. Cathédrale St-Julien is also an exquisite, Romanesque surprise.
Perhaps the most beautiful city in the Loire, Tours has many splendid sights to enjoy. The Place Plumereau in the city’s medieval heart is simply wonderful, though the gothic splendour of the Cathédrale St Gatien is also a must-see.
It was here that the maid of Orléans, Joan of Arc, saved France from the English in 1429. The ancient Viel Orléans quarter and the Cathédrale Saint-Croix are best-known, but there are also many gorgeous Renaissance facades to enjoy here.
With its magnificent Chateau and Cathedral overlooking the River Loire, it is easy to see the power that once resided here in Blois. Yet the simpler architecture of the hilly, Vieux Blois quarter and the 17th century Maison des Acrobates are equally fascinating.
Chateau de Chambord
The greatest house in the Loire – which is really saying something – this extravagant Renaissance chateau was built between 1519 and 1685 and is quite simply the most stunning of its kind in the world, with quite breathtaking scale.
Known as the ‘White City’ of Anjou, Saumur enjoys a gorgeous location on the banks of the Loire, where its fairytale chateau sits high above the city, looking down over the lovely spire of St Pierre and the magnificent stone bridge across the Loire itself.
La Cave aux Sculptures
This part of France offers a number of troglodyte dwellings, where caves have been carved out of the soft limestone. This unusual attraction at Doué-la-Fontaine also includes a fascinating selection of carved figures.
With its ruined chateau and picturesque medieval streets, a trip to Chinon really is like stepping into the past. While there are many fine buildings here, 44 Rue Voltaire is particularly worth a visit, as it is said to be where Richard the Lionheart died in 1199.
Zoo Parc de Beauval
Considered by many to be the finest in France, this zoo park in St Aignan allows you to see more than 4,000 wild creatures, many of them roaming free in parkland that has been landscaped to recreate their African homeland.
Parc Floral de la Source
This lovely attraction, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises of ten themed gardens, together with a host of butterflies, donkeys, sheep and birds that will keep younger visitors amused for hours.
With everything from mountain biking and canoeing to paintballing and cave climbing, Fantasy Forest at Mosnes makes the ideal place to visit for families camping in the Loire with older children and teenagers.
Canoeing at St Dye
Canoeing is popular for all ages in the Loire valley, but this centre at St Dye makes it especially easy for you to hire kayaks for teens, with organised outings as well as the chance to go your own way.
You can play 18 holes on no less than 18 courses in the Loire valley, with some such as Golf de Touraine and Golf du Château d'Augerville la Rivière offering courses set in the grounds of very fine Châteaux.
There are many places from which to enjoy hot air balloon rides in the Loire Valley, enabling you to enjoy this peerless scenery and the many fine Châteaux from the air. You’ll find just some of them at Chenonceaux, Amboise, Chaumont and Loches.
The gentle hills and valleys of the Loire really lend themselves to equestrian pursuits, and you will find a wealth of horse riding and pony trekking centres here, including those at Brehemont, Oucques, Vendome and Gizeux.
In addition to the many opportunities you will find to canoe here, you are also just a short drive from the beaches of the Vendée, where you will find excellent windsurfing, surfing, sailing, kite-surfing and sand yachting.
Festival International des Jardins
Every year between April and October, 30 top gardeners from around the world create exceptional small gardens within the splendid grounds of Château de Chaumont. Unmissable for garden lovers.
International Guitar Festival, Vendome
This world-famous festival takes place in Vendome every year, usually around the first week in May and brings top guitarists from around the world together, to the delight of guitar fans.
Before there was New Orleans, there was Orléans. So what better place to enjoy an eclectic line-up of the top jazz acts from around the world in this lively festival that usually occupies the last two weeks in June.
Le Mans 24 Hours
Le Mans doesn’t just hold the ultimate test for supercars here; in addition to the legendary race itself in mid-June, you will find 24 hour races here throughout the year, for everything from go-karts and motorbikes to lorries.
The Garden of France offers a broad cuisine, including plenty of fresh seafood from the nearby Vendée and of course, a multitude of excellent wines:
This wonderful, rural location is ideal for river canoeing and exploring, with many outstanding châteaux within easy reach.
While the lakeside setting makes for a tranquil backdrop, you will also find zip wires and forest adventures here, together with superb spa facilities and water sports.
The unspoiled rural location and lakeside setting make this an incredibly tranquil parc. It also features an excellent pool complex and is close to many châteaux.
With its picture postcard setting and expansive pool complex, this parc makes a delightful place to simply relax, or an ideal base for discovering the wonders of the Loire.
The historic town of Loches is one of the lesser known gems of the Loire region. Steeped in history it is dominated by the magnificent ‘Cité Royale’, parts of which date from the 11th century.
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