The Château de Langeais is one of the must-see attractions in the Loire Valley, readily lowering its drawbridge so that visitors can explore its 15 richly furnished rooms and its grounds overlooking the royal river.

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Bourgueil is a wine-producing village renowned for the quality of its hospitality in the cellars of an AOC which extends over the hillsides of the other surrounding villages. Its wine house is the place where French actor Jean Carmet was born and is situated near the old market hall which hosts one of the most popular markets in Touraine.

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Rural Touraine harbours other little nuggets like Gizeux, a monumental château in the countryside on the Anjou border.

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Langeais, a prestigious château spanning two eras

In the heart of the city, with its drawbridge still in working order, the Château de Langeais in the Loire Valley is an exquisite residence with features from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

With its wall-walk and machicolations, the castle of Langeais appears defensive at first glance. The wedding place of Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII, it has an exceptional collection of 15th and 16th century furniture and tapestries. Its lovely wooded park is dominated by the Foulques Nerra keep with its enormous scaffolding and its painstakingly rebuilt lifting devices, its tree house open for young adventurers to explore and its Belvedere offering a unique view over the Loire. There is a good chance that you give in to the temptation of a boat ride with the Endremage Company.

In the heart of the vineyards

On the banks of the Loire and the hillsides, the ancestral vine produces reputable, lively, fruity red wines and there are plenty of wine producers in the heart of the two AOCs of Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil who give a warm welcome to passing visitors as if they are foodies who’ve already been converted! The producers are only too pleased to pass on their best experiences, such as climbing up Mount Sigou in Restigné and having a picnic in an old converted barrel whilst enjoying the stunning view over the vines and the pretty tufa stone estates.

Harvesting grapes the traditional way

Harvesting grapes the traditional way

The lake of Rillé

The lake of Rillé

Take your time

Further north from the Bourgueillois vineyards, you can cycle or walk along a huge network of signposted trails and reach huge expanses of forest and a few nuggets of heritage like Gizeux, a large occupied and lively château with a remarkable gallery of 17th century paintings of the Loire châteaux or the 16th and 17th century Champchevrier which is also occupied and richly furnished. More ideas of visits? The châteaux of Marcilly, Vaujours, and Cinq-Mars, and Mireille’s garden.

Le jardin de Mireille - Mireille's marvellous garden in Channay-sur-Lathan. Loire Valley, France.

Mireille’s garden – Channay-sur-Lathan

Hommes is a great place for swimmers who, as soon as the first rays of sunshine appear, make their way to these former converted quarries which have been made safe, where there are water games and a very friendly open-air café. Rillé Lake is better for walking around and observing the many birds which shelter there. You can also have fun on the Baud’Rillé tree climbing park, at the mini-golf with birds, or by testing the Rillé Wake Park!

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