Escape to the Chateaux: Why you should book a trip to the Loire Valley

Don’t be fooled by those who label Val de Loire as old-fashioned, says Benjamin Parker – there’s plenty of life in the cradle of the French Renaissance

Saturday 10 June 2023 15:01 BST
<p>Chateau du Rivau, a smaller – but just as impressive – chateau </p>

Chateau du Rivau, a smaller – but just as impressive – chateau

A nest crafted from vines and rose bushes makes for an effective outdoor dining setting, I discovered, while eating in the “secret garden” that sits in the courtyard of Chateau du Rivau. The last specks of light were fading from the evening. More wine – white, and local – quietly glugged into my glass, and with each sip I let my gaze drift over a springtime scene of white roses, hibiscus and irises beginning to poke their noses out.

By the time the bottle was dry and dinner eaten, I was enjoying the rare pleasure of being draped in a wonderful quiet that can be hard to find in day-to-day life, yet seemed easy to come by in this tract of the Loire Valley.

As visitors continue to swell France’s major cities – a year before it hosts the Olympic Games, Paris is already bulging at the seams, a long-time resident tells me – there’s a renewed push from tourism bods to tempt travellers to the less-crowded parts of the country.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in