About Loire Valley
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The Loire Valley (French: Vallée de la Loire, pronounced: [va.le də la lwaːʁ]), spanning 280 kilometres (170 mi), is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises about 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi). 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 river. Notable for its historic towns, architecture and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.
Geography and climate
The valley includes historic towns such as Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, 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 southern. 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 rain. Summers are hot; however, influences from the Atlantic moderate the temperature with breezes.
Temperature, rainfall and average sunshine time in Angers (Anjou)
Châteaux of the Loire Valley
The architectural heritage in the valley’s historic towns is notable, especially its châteaux, such as the 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 the is the Château d’Amboise. Many of the Châteaux had extremely detailed and expensive churches on the grounds, or within the actual Châteaux itself. This was because all of the French kings who reigned during the building of the Châteaux were devout Catholics.
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