Your Essential Guide to the Loire Valley

Just over an hour south of Paris, France, is a place you might encounter in your dreams, yet you can go there and experience it for yourself. It’s the Loire Valley, known as the garden of France, a peaceful paradise of rolling hills covered by vineyards, fairytale castles, and charming, vibrant towns. So much awaits you to discover, eat, drink, and enjoy in the Loire River Valley.   (from the book A French Garden: The Loire Valley.)   For the last…

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Auvergne: Discover and Delight

I first heard about Auvergne, a region in south central France, from my friend Françoise, who is from there. She always talked about how beautiful the landscape is. She never mentioned the volcanoes, so I was surprised to learn that Auvergne has the most volcanic areas of France and of all Europe. Dormant volcanoes form chains of wooded mountains for some beautifully rugged scenery, one of the area’s best features. Where is it? Auvergne lies just below the center point…

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Tours, Gateway to the Loire Valley

Tours, France is often called the Gateway to the Loire Valley, because it’s a great jumping-off point for visiting the many sites along the rich river valley…such as chateaux and vineyards. Despite this ideal centrality, you don’t want to neglect seeing this bustling city itself, located between two rivers, the Loire and the Cher. It’s not far from Paris, so ideal for a side-trip or if you’re arriving in a Paris airport. Take the TGV for about  an hour and…

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Amboise: A Nearby Chateau…or Two

Take a TGV train for a short trip of about an hour and a half and you arrive in the town of Amboise in the Loire Valley. Of course there are many chateaux in the towns dotting this valley that surrounds the longest river in France. But Amboise is a good place to start for two purposes: One, if you’re visiting Paris and you have an extra couple of days to go on a side trip, but don’t want to…

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Loire Valley Teaser…

There’s just too much to say about the Loire Valley, known as the garden of France. The Loire River is France’s longest river, over 600 miles long, and it cuts right through the center of the country. It will take several posts to squeeze out what I experienced on my trip last week. I hope you were able to follow some of this on Oliver’s France Facebook. Here are a few visual teasers to pique your interest in this varied…

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Dijon…More Than Mustard

For many people, the name “Dijon” only means delicious, spicy mustard. But maybe you didn’t know that the city of Dijon is the capital of the region of Bourgogne…in English, Burgundy. Now you’re getting thirsty because it isn’t just mustard you are thinking about! Burgundy is a region in east central France, southeast of Paris. We think of wine, but historically this area was the home of wealthy nobles more powerful than the king of France. In the 15th century…

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