Fodor's To Europe!

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Days 13-14
Previous stop: Mont-St-Michel Return to full itinerary »

Tours itself has an impressive cathedral which should not be missed, but use this town as a base to explore the Loire Valley, famed for its breathtaking châteaux, gardens, and villages. Some of the most beautiful are the châteaux at Chenonceaux, Villandry, and Blois, but visitors are spoiled for choice here.
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  • History
  • Architecture
  • Natural Beauty


  • Little remains of Tours' own château, but its Cathédrale St-Gatien is one of the most impressive in France. Look out for the stained-glass windows and intricate stonework.
  • The 16th-century Château de Chenonceau is achingly beautiful and unusual as it is built on top of a bridge. Rent a boat here to row by, and under, the château.
  • If you love gardens, don't miss Château de Villandry, which has the finest example of a Renaissance garden in France.
  • In summer, several châteaus offer sound and light extravaganzas after dark.

Side Trips

  • Take a helicopter tour to see one of the best views of the châteaux.

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