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Loire Valley

loire valley, loire valley map
The Loire Valley French: Vallée de la Loire, pronounced vale də la lwaʁ, spanning 280 kilometres 170 mi, is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France, in both the administrative regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire The area of the Loire Valley comprises about 800 square kilometres 310 sq mi1 It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards such as cherries, and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river2 Notable for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period1 In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites


  • 1 Geography and climate
  • 2 Wine
  • 3 Culture
  • 4 Architecture
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Geography and climateedit

The valley includes historic towns such as Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Montsoreau, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours

The climate is favorable most of the year, the river often acting as a line of demarcation in France's weather between the northern climate and the southern3 The river has a significant effect on the mesoclimate of the region, adding a few degrees of temperature The climate can be cool with springtime frost while wine harvest months may have rain4 Summers are hot; however, influences from the Atlantic moderate the temperature with breezes5

Temperature, rainfall and average sunshine time in Angers Anjou:

Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Year
Average minimum temperature °C 21 22 39 56 89 118 136 134 113 84 46 28 74
Average temperature °C 5 57 82 104 139 162 192 191 165 127 8 56 118
Average maximum temperature °C 79 92 126 153 19 226 249 247 218 17 114 84 162
Average monthly rainfall mm 621 508 517 446 544 412 438 449 522 596 645 634 634
Monthly hours of sunshine hour/month 70 92 141 179 201 234 248 237 191 129 89 65 1877


Main article: Loire Valley wine Vineyard in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley wine region7 is one of the world's most well-known areas of wine production and includes several French wine regions situated along the river from the Muscadet region on the Atlantic coast to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé just southeast of the city of Orléans in north central France Loire wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavors8


Château de Valençay

On December 2, 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the river valley, between Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire, to its list of World Heritage Sites In choosing this area that includes the French départements of Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, and Maine-et-Loire, the committee said that the Loire Valley is: "an exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages, great architectural monuments - the châteaux - and lands that have been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular the Loire itself"

The Loire Valley chansonniers are a related group of songbooks attributed to the composers of the Loire Valley and are the earliest surviving examples of a new genre which offered a combination of words, music, and illuminations9

Art&Language, Mirror Piece, 1965 Château de Montsoreau-Contemporary Art Collection

A new Contemporary Art offer is developping all along the Loire River from Montsoreau to Orléans with such places as Château de Montsoreau-Contemporary Art Museum, CCCOD Tours, the Domaine Régional de Chaumont sur Loire and the Frac Centre Orléans, all recently opened They are a rare association of Renaissance architecture with contemporay art1


Main article: Châteaux of the Loire Valley The Château de Chambord

The architectural heritage in the valley's historic towns is notable, especially its châteaux, such as the Château de Montsoreau, Château d'Amboise, Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Château de Chambord, Château de Chinon, Château du Rivau, Château d'Ussé, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau The châteaux, numbering more than three hundred, represent a nation of builders starting with the necessary castle fortifications in the 10th century to the splendour of those built half a millennium later When the French kings began constructing their huge châteaux here, the nobility, not wanting or even daring to be far from the seat of power, followed suit Their presence in the lush, fertile valley began attracting the very best landscape designers In addition to its many châteaux, the cultural monuments illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on western European thought and design Many of the châteaux were designed to be built on the top of hills, one example of this is the Château d'Amboise The only château to have been built in the riverbed is the Château de Montsoreau Many of the châteaux had extremely detailed and expensive churches on the grounds, or within the actual château itself


  1. ^ a b Tockner, Klement; Uehlinger, Urs; Robinson, Christopher T 2009 Rivers of Europe Academic Press p 183 ISBN 978-0-12-369449-2 Retrieved 11 April 2011 
  2. ^ Williams, Nicola; Boone, Virginie 1 May 2002 The Loire Lonely Planet pp 7–10 ISBN 978-1-86450-358-6 Retrieved 12 April 2011 
  3. ^ "Loire Valley" hallorg Retrieved 12 April 2011 
  4. ^ J Robinson ed The Oxford Companion to Wine, Third Edition pp 408–410, Oxford University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  5. ^ "Loire Valley weather" Retrieved 12 April 2011 
  6. ^ Climatology from 1947 to 2008 - Angers, Francedead link
  7. ^ Vineyard in the Loire Valley, map
  8. ^ C Fallis, editor The Encyclopedic Atlas of Wine pg 168-176 Global Book Publishing 2006 ISBN 1-74048-050-3
  9. ^ "Short Description for Songs, Scribes, and Society" bookdepositorycom Retrieved 11 April 2011 

External linksedit

  • Loire Valley world heritage site
  • Loire Valley Chateau du Rivau
  • Chinon Fortress
  • Chateau de Montsoreau-Contemporary Art Museum
  • Western France Tourist Board
  • 2

Coordinates: 47°23′56″N 0°42′10″E / 4739889°N 070278°E / 4739889; 070278

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