The Chateaux of the Loire Valley: Eye Candy Inside and Out

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The French are experts in many things. They’ve perfected gastronomic delights from gourmet food to superb wine, Champagne and Cognac. They are also specialists in creating those things that are pleasing to the eye.

Visitors to the Loire Valley are treated to a vast trove of eye candy dotting the countryside. Here, the French lords and ladies of the 15th through 19th centuries played an unending game of one-upmanship with their homes and gardens. And the architects and landscape designers of the time were more than happy to oblige their wealthy clients.

The 40+ chateaux throughout the region vary in size from “cozy” three-story stone and brick manor houses to the sprawling 440-room Chambord Castle. It’s impossible not to be impressed and occasionally overwhelmed by the opulence within these mansions. Yet, we were also captivated by the magnificence on display outside. Many gardens like this one feature giant manicured topiary and sumptuous flower gardens surrounding the estate. Delicious!

If you enjoyed this story in our series, we invite you to check out our travel books that use our theme, A Picture Is Worth 1,000 characters. Each impression features an original photo and a story that’s exactly 1,000 characters long.