The areas on either
side of the Loire already had
settlements and productive vineyards when Julius Caesar’s
legions arrived to conquer Gaul more than 2,000 years ago.
provinces would later be home to kings
and other wealthy inhabitants of what came to be known collectively
as La France. Because of this elite group of
denizens, the Renaissance, when it arrived from Italy, took
hold first in the Loire Valley.
Even after the
capital was moved from Central
France to Paris, the kings and Parisian nobles would return to the
region for recreation and a respite from their busy lives in the city.
The grand country châteaux remain today,
with some available as high-end lodging.
The hill-top château
at left, has a superb view of the town and region, and on its grounds
you’ll find a garden which is open to the public. We arrived
Apremont early in the day in order to get pictures in warm morning
light. It was before the opening hours of the castle garden, hence no
photos here. Oh well,
there's always next time. Meanwhile, there are some photos of the
Pictured below is Chambord,
largest and no doubt most visited
of the Loire Valley Châteaux. The overall design of the
castle is said to have been influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, who also
there late in life. As with the Louvre, you can pretty much forget
trying to see everything in one day. But for as much as you are able to
to, it’s worth it. Expect a long walk from the parking area
and a throng of