Why Is Everyone Flocking To Loire Valley, France?!
December 11, 2014
“Seriously, why are people so addicted to head to Loire Valley, France?”
That was the question I asked myself in January of 2014 (long before I even thought of making a blog about my travels). Truth be told, I felt that France was overrated. The French culture, the French wine and cheese, the lifestyle, I didn’t much like it.
This is probably because for most of my travels, I love heading towards the wilderness and outskirt towns and villages. With a gigantic backpack, I settle with the oldest-looking inn you see and I’m reminded of how people in the 18th century used to travel and get lodging.
So, back to France. Why would I want to travel in a stuffy, crummy European city that’s just the neighbour of the UK? Bloody hell, why even go for a Eurotrip, right?
So I one day decided to travel and see what France and Loire Valley is about (I know, the irony). I didn’t like Paris so much because it looks like London. But I did love seeing the castles on my way and when I was in Loire Valley.
At first glance, there was nothing special about the place. It’s a stuffy little nature reserve, which I’m particularly used to seeing. But then again, I got to the gardens.
According to a study in 2010 by the Val de Loire Central Region Tourist Board, “Sedentary” Tourists, as they would call them, would love to stay inside the castles.
But nobody noticed the gardens.
Sedentary. It’s an appropriate word for tourists who just love to stay in just one place. The statistics show that 25% of these travellers are British and 22% following are the dutch. The French love their culture with 76% of them being the sedentary traveller types (while most are day-trippers).
So, I saw these beauties while I was there. I think you’ll want to head there yourself as you are mesmerised by my descriptions:
Chateau d’Ainay le Vieil
This has a resembling style with the medieval town of Carcassonne. Surrounding it is a rose garden with more or less 180 varieties. There are four different walled areas too: a fruit garden, a herb garden, a meditation garden and a white garden. It is located in the department of Cher, south of Saint Amand Montrond.
Chateau de Villandry
It is said to be the most amazing among all the gardens in Loire Valley. This statement is with evidence as the Chateau de Villandry was awarded as 2nd place as Best Park in a competition in France. This was in the years 2003 and 2005 but until the present times, it stands to be outstanding in design and plant life. Formal gardening is at its finest here as there are 9 hectares filled with vegetables and there are water and ornamental gardens as well. The entirety is situated in the centre of France.
Chateau de Chenonceau
The area consists of many gardens but with two that are most significant. These are the Catherine de Medicis and Diane de Poitiers. The names were after the women of Henry II; Catherine was his wife while Diane was his mistress. Anyhow, both are lovely spaces to be in. Diane’s garden is a formal garden with an ornamental fountain at the centre. It is plentiful with flower beds as well. Catherine’s garden, on the other hand, prides itself on its orange and rose trees. This is coupled with flowers and vegetables too.
Jardins du Grand Courtoiseau
Another attraction in central France is this set of gardens. This 6-acre space was able to bag numerous prizes from 3rd and 4th places for Best Park in France in the years 2004 and 2005, respectively. Topiary or simply the trimming of shrubs and trees to form decorative shapes is implemented for a great stylish effect. On top of that, English roses fill the area.
Still, it didn’t change my viewpoint on French metropolises, but if you’d ask if France had a beautiful backyard, it sure does!