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The Loire Valley
Loire Valley
(French: Vallée de la Loire, pronounced [vale də la lwaʁ]), spanning 480 kilometres (300 mi), is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France, in both the administrative regions Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
and Centre-Val de Loire. The area of the Loire Valley
Loire Valley
comprises about 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi).[1] It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France
France
due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards (such as cherries), and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river.[2] Notable for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic
Middle Palaeolithic
period.[1] In 2000, UNESCO
UNESCO
added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.

Contents

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

Geography and climate[edit] 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 southern.[3] 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.[4] Summers are hot; however, influences from the Atlantic
Atlantic
moderate the temperature with breezes.[5] Temperature, rainfall and average sunshine time in Angers
Angers
(Anjou):

Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Year

Average minimum temperature (°C) 2.1 2.2 3.9 5.6 8.9 11.8 13.6 13.4 11.3 8.4 4.6 2.8 7.4

Average temperature (°C) 5 5.7 8.2 10.4 13.9 16.2 19.2 19.1 16.5 12.7 8 5.6 11.8

Average maximum temperature (°C) 7.9 9.2 12.6 15.3 19 22.6 24.9 24.7 21.8 17 11.4 8.4 16.2

Average monthly rainfall (mm) 62.1 50.8 51.7 44.6 54.4 41.2 43.8 44.9 52.2 59.6 64.5 63.4 63.4

Monthly hours of sunshine (hour/month) 70 92 141 179 201 234 248 237 191 129 89 65 1877

Source:[6]

Wine[edit] Main article: Loire Valley
Loire Valley
(wine)

Vineyard
Vineyard
in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley
Loire Valley
wine region[7] is one of the world's most well-known areas of wine production and includes several French wine
French wine
regions situated along the river from the Muscadet
Muscadet
region on the Atlantic coast to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé
Pouilly-Fumé
just southeast of the city of Orléans
Orléans
in north central France. Loire wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavors.[8] Culture[edit]

Château de Valençay

On December 2, 2000, UNESCO
UNESCO
added the central part of the river valley, between Chalonnes-sur-Loire
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
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
Loire Valley
and are the earliest surviving examples of a new genre which offered a combination of words, music, and illuminations.[9] A new Contemporary Art offer is developing all along the Loire River from Montsoreau
Montsoreau
to Orléans
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. They are a rare association of Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture
with contemporary art.[1] Architecture[edit] 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
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. References[edit]

^ 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.  ^ Williams, Nicola; Boone, Virginie (1 May 2002). The Loire. Lonely Planet. pp. 7–10. ISBN 978-1-86450-358-6. Retrieved 12 April 2011.  ^ "Loire Valley". hall.org. Retrieved 12 April 2011.  ^ J. Robinson (ed.) The Oxford Companion to Wine, Third Edition pp. 408–410, Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-860990-6 ^ " Loire Valley
Loire Valley
weather". Retrieved 12 April 2011.  ^ Climatology from 1947 to 2008 - Angers, France
France
Archived 2008-10-13 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Vineyard
Vineyard
in the Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Archived 2012-05-31 at the Wayback Machine., map. ^ C. Fallis, editor The Encyclopedic Atlas of Wine pg 168-176 Global Book Publishing 2006 ISBN 1-74048-050-3 ^ "Short Description for Songs, Scribes, and Society". bookdepository.com. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Loire Valley.

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

v t e

World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites
in France

Île-de-France

Palace and Park of Versailles Fontainebleau Palace and Park Paris: Banks of the Seine Provins

Parisian basin

Amiens Cathedral Belfries of Belgium and France1 Bourges Cathedral Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars Chartres Cathedral Climats and terroirs of Burgundy Reims: Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Abbey of Saint-Remi, Palace of Tau Abbey of Fontenay Le Havre Vézelay Church and hill

Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Belfries of Belgium and France1 Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

East

Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains
Salins-les-Bains
and Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans Nancy: Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière and Place d'Alliance Strasbourg: Grande Île, Neustadt Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps3

West

Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel
and its bay

South West

Episcopal city, Albi Port of the Moon, Bordeaux Prehistoric sites and decorated caves of the Vézère valley Pyrénées – Mont Perdu2 Saint-Émilion

Centre East

Chauvet Cave Lyon

Mediterranean

Roman and Romanesque monuments, Arles Carcassonne citadel Gulf of Porto: Calanches de Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble, Avignon Bridge Pont du Gard Orange: Roman Theatre and environs, Triumphal Arch

Multiple regions

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier Canal du Midi Fortifications of Vauban Loire Valley
Loire Valley
between Sully-sur-Loire
Sully-sur-Loire
and Chalonnes-sur-Loire Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France

Overseas departments and territories

Lagoons of New Caledonia Pitons, cirques and remparts of Réunion Taputapuātea

1Shared locally with other region/s and with Belgium 2Shared with Spain 3Shared with Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland

Coordinates: 47°23′56″N 0°42′10″E / 47.39889°N 0.70278°E /

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