Vale do Loire, França

Viver no Vale do Loire

Iyna Bort Caruso

The Loire River Valley was once a favorite location for the summer residences of royalty and nobility. Today, scores of castles remain as legacies of the period. The most famous royal castles include Château de Chenonceau, which spans a tributary of the Loire River, and Château de Chambord, the region’s largest.

The river valley is located in the mid section of the river, the longest in France stretching more than 600 miles long. Its banks are fringed with a collection of historic character villages. More than a few ancient towns have been designated as Plus Beaux Villages, a distinction accorded a select few villages deemed to be among the country’s loveliest.  

In 2000, the region was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its great beauty and exceptional cultural landscape. Understandably, the river valley is one of the most visited areas of France. Much of the region is located within a two-hour drive of Paris and only about an hour by train.

Château country is also wine country. In fact, it’s the third largest wine region in France, extending from Sancerre to the Atlantic. Its patchwork of terroirs covers more than 50 appellations and is integral to the area’s gastronomic heritage.

The countryside is magical. Once called the playground of kings it is dotted with abbeys and chateaux built of a creamy white limestone called tufa culled from the banks of the Loire.

Renaissance castles aren’t just monuments. They’re also private homes, complete with exquisite gardens and fruit orchards. Other historic Loire Valley properties include half-timbered homes, hunting estates, which are especially popular in regions like Sologne, mansions with inner courtyards and wine estates. Urban villas and apartments are found in cities like Orleans, liberated by Joan of Arc in the 15th century. The good life here is open to all. In France, there are no restrictions on international home buyers.