Fun things to do in Pays de la Loire

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Pays de la Loire

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    A visit to Blois Castle

    by Jefie Updated Jul 7, 2014

    Blois Castle dates back to the 13th century. Historically as well as architecturally, it is one of the Loire Valley's most important castles. Louis XII was the first king of France to call it home, followed by François I and Henri III (in total, 7 kings and 10 queens stayed at the castle). As each new king moved in, the castle was expanded until it reached its current size in the 17th century. It now comprises 564 rooms (including 100 bedrooms), built and decorated in a style that covers the Gothic, Renaissance and Classic eras. Several historical events took place in the castle, including the murder of the Duc de Guise in the king's own bedroom. Because of its historical significance, it was one of the first Loire Valley castles to be restored and open to the public. For this reason, it is one of the best preserved and most lavishly furnished, something that makes a visit to Blois Castle entirely worthwhile.

    Ch��teau royal de Blois In the castle's courtyard The King's bedroom The Queen's bedroom Part of the castle's impressive art collection
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    Historical buildings in Orléans

    by Jefie Written Jul 5, 2014

    There are plenty of historical buildings in Orléans, but since we were a bit jetlagged, we only had time to see a few. Two that stood out for me were the Collégiale St-Pierre le Puellier and Hôtel Groslot.

    The Collégiale St-Pierre is the oldest church still standing in Orléans. Dating back to the 12th century, one of its most famous parishioners was Isabelle Romée, the mother of Joan of Arc. In 1958, the chuch was deconsecrated, and it now houses cultural exhibitions. We had the chance to visit a fascinating one free of charge when we were in Orléans.

    For something slightly more modern but still of historical importance, don't miss Hôtel Groslot located across the street from the Cathedral. Built in 1549 as a private residence, this lavish house once welcomed King François II (who actually died while staying at Hôtel Groslot) and his wife Mary, later to be known as Mary Queen of Scots. Hotel Groslot now houses the city's tourist office and is open to visitors daily.

    H��tel Groslot in Orl��ans, France At the Coll��giale St-Pierre le Puellier

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    Medieval architecture in Orléans

    by Jefie Updated Jul 5, 2014

    Even though it's now a moderately-sized city, during the Middle Ages, Orléans was one of France's three wealthiest cities along with Paris and Rouen. Going for a walk around the old part of town (I'd suggest exploring the little streets located between Rue de Bourgogne and the Loire) is the best way to see what's left of that beautiful Medieval heritage - I say what's left because unfortunately, Orléans was badly hit during World War II. But still, there are plenty of lovely half-timbered houses around (some original and some restored) that are sure to make you feel very far away from home :o)

    On the lovely Rue de Bourgogne Half-timbered house in Orl��ans, France Medieval houses in Orl��ans, France Half-timbered house in Orl��ans, France
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    Place du Matroi in Orléans

    by Jefie Written Jul 2, 2014

    Place du Matroi is the best-known square in the city of Orléans and has recently undergone major restoration work to better showcase its lovely architecture. Archeological digs have revealed that the square was once used as a wheat market and for public executions so, as such, it has always held an important place in the city's history. The statue of Joan of Arc riding a horse that can be found at the center of the square was inaugurated in 1855, after the old one was destroyed during the Revolution. It is also home to the lovely Jules-Verne Carousel.

    Statue of Joan of Arc on Place du Matroi The chancery of Orl��ans Jules-Verne Carousel on Place du Matroi
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    Cathédrale Ste-Croix d'Orléans

    by Jefie Updated Jul 2, 2014

    This cathedral is dedicated to the Holy Cross, a piece of which used to be housed in the old church that used to stand where the cathedral is now located. The previous cathedral that was built on this site was one the biggest cathedrals in the country. However, it had been built so fast that it collapsed after a mere 200 years. The present cathedral was built between 1601 and 1829 and some of its most remarkable features are its rose window dedicated to Louis XIV, the chapel dedicated to Joan of Arc, and its magnificient organ. It is open to visitors daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.

    Cath��drale Ste-Croix in Orl��ans, France The cathedral's organ A view of the nave The Cathedral seen from rue Jeanne d'Arc Inside the Cath��drale Ste-Croix
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    Chateau du Lude, le Lude

    by gwened Written Jun 19, 2014

    one of the first castles you see coming south to the Loire area; just south of Le Mans on the D307 road. The castle origins goes back to the 9C, it passes thru several owners until the current one the Count Louis-Jean de Nicolay and his wife countess Barbara.

    Located among the castles of the Loire the further north, the site is occupied since the middle ages and becomes a strategic point on the borders of Maine, Anjou, and Touraine. Occupied by the English during the hundred years war, the castle became the property of Jean Daillon, Chamberlain of King Louis XI, in 1457. For two centuries, the Daillon work enhances the beauty of the Castle, and transformed the old medieval fortress in logis of pleasure. Refurbished at the end of the 18C by the marquise de la Vieuville, then a century later by the marquis de Talhouët, the Lude Castle bears witness to four centuries of French architecture.

    Gardens, shaped by various owners of the place, served as framework for a sound and light which made the fame of the Lude for nearly forty years. They welcome since the beginning of 2000s several events, as Fête de jardiniers, during which is awarded the P.J. Redoute. The Lude Castle holds the label "remarkable Garden".

    Its a very nice property to see in the deep loire country but you need a car.the main here of course its a castle but the gardens are the ones that brings in the attention of all. A bit of description here
    The Epernon or spur: the garden owes its name to the spur of masonry that protected the fortress on the side of the river. In the 18C, when the lower court and its two towers were razed to the ground to give way to the Louis XVI wing, foundation walls were backfilled in order to accommodate a garden. It has been redesigned in 1997. Hedges of ifs point out the walls of the old fortifications. A boxwood maze is the triangle of the spur while a rose garden was planted against the terrace.

    The jardin bas or low Garden: at the foot of the spur extends the formal garden which follows the course of the river more than 200 meters. Rigorous design, highlighted by ifs pruned Topiary around large basins, contrasts with the agricultural Park stretching on the other Bank of the river Loir.

    The garden of the Source or jardin de la source: on the edge of the Park, a small perennial garden surrounds a Chinese kiosk. The source is buried in a cave, she reappears in the Loir, at the foot of the old pier. These decorative elements characterise a romantic garden in the 19C.
    The promenade in the Park: leaving the garden of the Source, the path is committed under the purple beech, which offers a beautiful prospect towards the Castle. On the left stands the water tower, built in the century last on the highest point of the Park. Returning to the Castle, the path runs along the walls of the garden which can be seen through the grille on the left (it is accessible a weekend a month and during the weekend of the Fête des jardiniers). Laid out on three terraces, it retains today outlined his original drawing.

    Chateau du Lude side the entrance on back of castle the gardens with roses
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    Marais Salant, Guérande

    by gwened Written Apr 30, 2014

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    one of the main attractions here is to come and see how sea salt is collected and process here, one of the oldest sites in France and still in use.

    The sel de guérande is well sought after by chefs and lovers of good food all over the world.
    At terre du sel, you will see it all. In addition to the tourist office in contact, this is the official site for the terre du sel museum and tour
    http://www.terredesel.com/index.php?id=107&L=1
    where you have information in English for all your needs

    more you can read at the cooperative site in English
    http://www.seldeguerande.fr/index.php?l=e

    a bit of it
    The salt marshes of Guérande are approximately 1 700 hectares. Parts of the Marsh and "Tracks" are classified as a nature Reserve (major step for migratory birds) or under the control of the Conservatoire du littoral. The Tracks and swamps are classified Natura site. These marshes are also listed since 1971 on wetlands to protect the Ramsar Convention list.The salt marshes of Guérande, include two salicoles basins:The basin of Guérande: the largest and best known between Guérande and the peninsula of Croisic, on the Track Basin of the Mes, more modest, to Mesquer. It is the salt basin more distance in Northern Europe.They are part of salt marshes of the Atlantic, located for more than three quarters of them, between the Gironde and the peninsula of Quiberon.
    We talk about salt marshes because it is the place where the region harvest about 15,000 tons of brut salt per year for approximately 300 tons of flower salt.

    just by D99 the cabin for storage and salants from overlook bridge the sel of guerande marais salants, the sel of Guerande
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    Chateau de Guérande

    by gwened Written Apr 30, 2014

    a wonderful medieval fortification right in the city and lovely surrounding.passing by always a pleasure another of the wonders of the pays de la loire but very much in Bretagne's eyes....

    Now mostly you have a beautiful preserve ramparts running along the main road of town bd de l'Abreuvoir to bd du Nord.

    a wonderful ride full of history. Inside you now have the museum of Guérande, or Musée du Pays de Guérande about the history of salt marshes here (see tip)

    castle porte saint Michel ramparts along bd de l'abreuvoir arriving on castle by porte st Michel
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    Collegiale church St Aubin,Guérande

    by gwened Written Apr 30, 2014

    a very primitive site and old church, first dating is from 6C on the first building. then on the 9C to 10C it was known as the Basilica of Solomon,13C came back as basilica St Aubin,in a roman style of construction.From 1380 a gothic facade is done.Completely left to decay during and shortly after the French revolution, it came back to cult in 1802.
    A reconstruction period follow to what you see today, a marvel of a church in a medieval surroundings

    what you can see inside
    The pulpit to preach outside of the 15C, at the foot of the western façade.
    The South porch, built in the 15C and decorated in the Renaissance.
    The chorus to the so-called architecture "illusionist".
    The 'low room' and recumbent Tristan de Carne and his wife.
    The pillars of the nave ornamented capitals with plant or historiated motifs (Martyr de Saint Etienne, Daniel in the lions...)
    The choir stalls, carved wooden, 1650.
    The stained glass, 14C stained glass window of St Pierre in the 19C.
    The many chapels.
    The Baroque altarpieces

    coll��giale Saint Aubin, Gu��rande front porch door coll St Aubin stained glass on transept right side
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    abbey of Fontevraud

    by gwened Written Apr 28, 2014

    a magnificent abbey with great historical significance. Here lies Aliénor d'Aquitaine and Henri II of England, along others.

    The abbey was founded in 1101, the town is named Fontevraud-L'Abbaye. The monks and the hermit of Robert d'Arbrissel came in 1096,and received here the Pope Urbain II. Becoming a predicator Robert d'Arbrissel is quickly found with many followers ,men and women of different social classes. they came to settled between e 1099 and 1101 in a vast valley called Fons Ebraudi where the order was founded and so the name of the abbey.

    king Henri II, married Aliénor in 1152, and makes his first visit in may 21 1154. The couple trust upon the abbey their two youngest children, Jeanne, born in 1165, and Jean,future king ofo England (John). The boy leave the abbey after five years there but the girl leaves in 1176,for her marriage.
    Richard the Lion Hearted died in April 6 1199 at Châlus-Chabrol. On his mother's choice he is brought to Fontevraud ,and buried there on April 11 next to his father . Aliénor wishes to create a dynastie necropolis here in the ancestral lands of the Plantagenêt family. It is ,also, at the frontier with Poitou,and Aquitaine, her native land. In 1200, returning from Castile (Spain), , Aliénor décided at more than 80 yrs old to retired at Fontevraud. She dies four years later on April 1 1204 at Poitiers, and buried next to her husband, sons Richard ,and daughter Jeanne. After the death of Aliénor,her sons and grandsons continues to consider the abbey as a family necropolis.
    In 1250, Raymond, count of Toulouse and son of Jeanne is ,also buried here after the request from his mother. In 1254, Henri III, son of Jean(John) organises the transfer of the remains of his mother Isabelle d'Angoulême, which was at the abbaye Notre-Dame de La Couronne, to Fontevraud.

    a Beautiful tranquil place to visit.

    the cloister of the abbey of fontevraud from the gardens of abbey the kitchen building corridor looking at garden cloister of the abbey the abbey from the back tomb of ali��nor d'Aquitaine and Henri II
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    The beach at Les Sables d'Olonne

    by gwened Written Apr 17, 2014

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    a wonderful beach town not far from me and easy on the A11 road from Paris or the train station in town. I like the history of all these places so here it is a bit on les sables d'olonne

    At the end of the middle ages, marine trade develop and the flourishing D'olonne country exports to Northern Europe its salt and its wine, the surrounding villages (Château-D'olonne, Vairé, Ste Foy) dedicated to more farming, land of Seigneuries.The 13C will see out of the shadow, or rather of sand, a small sister: les Sables-D'olonne. Indeed, to replace Talmont port , prince Savary de Mauléon decides to develop the harbour of Olonne. It attaches to the District of La Chaume in 1218 land and rights to install an urban ensemble. king Louis XI in 1472, separated Les Sables-D'olonne from the town of Olonne to the main port of the country. The 17C marks the peak of the town of les Sables-D'olonne, become first fishng port of the Kingdom. More than a hundred boats went fishing for cod on the banks of Newfoundland.

    During the Revolution, the region remained Republican no less six prisons at les Sables D'olonne, a guillotine and a revolutionary tribunal. Under the Empire, the city must face the continental blockade by Napoleon 1ér as well as the threat of the British war ships.

    The main beach Grande Plage (see photos) of 3 km, with an arch oriented towards the south.You, also, have the beaches of Sauveterre, Tanchet, Paracou, and Granges.
    The city page is here on beaches in French
    http://www.lessablesdolonne.fr/patrimoine/patrimoine-naturel/sites/

    Grande Plage recent photo Grande Plage older photo
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    Chateau de Chateaubriant

    by gwened Written Apr 17, 2014

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    It is a wonderful medieval castle with some lower part from the renaissance, in a picturesque town in pays de la loire. I go here often passing by most of the time but you always never too far from a beauty in France.

    A bit of history
    The Château de Châteaubriant is a highly reworked medieval fortress to the Renaissance era. The castle was established in the 11C on the marshes of Brittany and, like those of Vitré, Fougères, Ancenis and Clisson, he was responsible for defending Brittany against the Kingdom of France.

    The castle was redeveloped several times during the middle ages, and the city of Châteaubriant is developed around, surrounding itself of walls in the 13C. All belongs to the barony in the 12C, then goes to the families of Dinan and Montfort-Laval. During the mad war, in the 15C, the castle was taken by the French after a siege. The logis and the Dungeon, damaged, are restored. Finally, in the 16C, the Castle takes its final appearance, with the construction of new housing and a large Renaissance Gallery.

    The barony of Châteaubriant returned to the House of Condé in the 17C. After the French Revolution, the Château, repeatedly sold, welcomes various administrations. The closure of the tribunal in 2009 then the departure of sous-préfectoraux services enable us to envisage a new presentation of the castle.

    This castle is on the list of the 1 034 first historical monuments of France in 1840!!!. However, the protection was removed in 1887. He again subject to a classification in respect of historical monument since 11 July 1921.

    worth a detour;A SITE in French, with video,
    http://grand-patrimoine.loire-atlantique.fr/jcms/sites/chateau-de-chateaubriant-fr-eja_77026

    the tourist office in French in contact.

    Chateau de Chateaubriant cour d'honneur and gardens of castle from garden to the facades renaissance
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    Cathedral Saint Julien -Le Mans

    by gwened Written Apr 15, 2014

    one of the most symbolic buildings in town and one of the biggest gallo roman churches in France, the Cathedral of Saint Julien is awesome and a must see.

    Its construction began in 1060AD by the bishop Vulgrin, but it was not done in its actual form only in 1430. The Cathedral was not really never finish, efforts to enlarge it went sour for lack of money ever since 1500.

    The Cathedral is a real museum of stained glass, with the oldest is the glass of the scene of the ascension or rising of Christ. The big organs in the back of the Cathedral were done between 1529 and 1535 by Pierre Bert in a renaissance style, sculptured by Symon Hayeneufve. The paintings of the chapel of the virgin or chapelle de la Vierge were discovered in 1842; they were hidden by a mortar wall. They show the 47 angels musicians that decorates the vaults ceilings. These paintings dates from the end of the 14C and they are the works of an anonimous painter in the court of the kings of France Charles V and VI.

    Really a beautiful church to see in the beautiful old town of Le Mans by the river Sarthe. More on the Cathedral official site
    http://www.cathedraledumans.fr/renseignements-paroisse/accueil

    front of Cathedral St Julien back side of Cathedral Saint Julien the stained glass at the choir the belltower of Cat St Julien
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    Chateau de Saumur

    by gwened Updated Mar 28, 2014

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    first of all do not missed this event in the castle
    http://www.chateau-saumur.fr/

    it would be the highlight of your visit to it. The castle is emblematic of the Loire region, the town been already mentioned and pillage in 845AD.

    a bit of history which for me is the importance of visiting these wonderful buildings

    The Château de Saumur was first strengthrenen under Thibaud , count of Blois, in the 10C. In 1026, he became property of the count of Anjou, famous Foulques Nerra who bequeathed it to his Plantagenet heirs. Philippe Auguste, King of France and Capetian, annexed it to the Crown.In 1227, Saint Louis made enhance the fort, then from 1367, Louis I of Anjou, grandson of Philippe VI, made replacing the old round towers by towers octogonales.
    King René of Anjou, the good King René, writer, cultivated man and Builder of Fortress (Tarascon) significantly improves the comfort of the castle that he nicknamed the "Castle of love".

    In the 16C, the Italian Bartolomeo reinforces the defences of the Castle. He built around the medieval castle of the low defenses of forts (bastions) and curtain walls following a plane star modern wonder a century before Vauban. The castle was immortalized in the manuscript of the très Riches Heures du duc de Berry in the folio of the month of September which represents the harvest at the foot of the Castle.

    The castle became a prison under king Louis XIV and Napoleon 1er, then an ammunition depot.At the beginning of the 20C, the city bought the Château from the State, renovates it gradually settled the Museum of decorative arts (donation of the count Charles Lair for a major part of the works exhibited, ceramic and furniture) . The ramparts were renovated in 2001. There were some walls collapsing on the north wall area and project to stabilised it began that ended in 2007

    Another beauty to visit. If you want to know about this castle, too long to write for me, you can translate this site in French, detail architecture and historical of it
    http://saumur-jadis.pagesperso-orange.fr/lieux/chateau.htm

    Chateau de Saumur from the vines another view from afar other side of Loire the chateau de Saumur the ramparts of Chateau de Saumur from castle tower the loire and the bridge
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    Chateau du Roi Rene, Angers

    by gwened Written Mar 27, 2014

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    one of the oldest castle fortress still in good condition, a lovely passing for me on my job duties in Angers. you paid 8,50€ as of now to enter but Worth it indeed, good for the whole family and learn the history of France.

    You have an excellent view of the city as it is at an altitude of between 35 and 45 meters. Dominating the river Maine that runs by at a height of 20 meters.

    It is very old feudal castle from 851AD the bishops allow a land to the Count of Anjou. You have successive raids by Normans, Bretons, after the counts built what eventually will be the count palace. This as a base to conquered the regions of Poitou, Maine, Normandie and, Aquitaine.

    The castle falls into the dynasty of the house of Valois and became a duchy in 1360AD. the king René as the castle is sometimes call the castle of the king René or roi ,and gives it great notoriaty, until, René d'Anjou entered into conflict with his nephew and king of France , Louis XI as conflict with the heritage of the castle developes. king Louis XI decides to come in for it with an army and gets it in 1474 ,making René stop on his projects.

    Here in1661, king Louis XIV orders d'Artagnan to arrest Nicolas Fouquet, his finance minister that the king suspect of stealing his money (see vaux-le-vicomte castle tip in Maincy). AFter his arrest at the castle of Nantes (dukes de BRetagne) , Fouquet is brought here where he spent Three weeks.

    The revolution change a bit and the castle becomes a prison. The castle sufferes bombarments during WWII. It is today one of the most visited in the region.

    you have the wonderful gate or porte de champs and the main entrance today the porte de la ville. Ditches were dug from the construction of the fortress during the reign of Saint Louis. To the South, they then separated the Castle, the suburb of the Esvière. To the North, they imposed the limit between the city and the Castle. They were extended in the 14C and the 16C. Two wells are located: one in the East, the other to the North. Although the Maine pass at the foot of the Castle, it has never been question to build ditches in water, mainly because of the slope of the terrain.

    Under King René, ditches would have been transformed into lices for the running of tournaments that the Duke appreciated . In the 18C, the ditches host gardens and vegetable gardens. Today, the ditches have been transformed into gardens.

    nice a must in Angers.more on the interior courtyard Inside the castle, and the Grand Salle from the 11C, the chapel of Saint Laud, logis royal built in 1410 by Louis II of Anjou, interior chapel and the galerie du Roi René,the small castle or chatelet, ,logis du gouvernor, and the famous galerie de l'apocalypse built in 1953-54!

    see more in tourism of Angers,
    http://www.angersloiretourisme.com/en/discover/places/angers-castle

    the line of Kings of France lies here, as the pretender Louis XX is also,now known as the Duke of Anjou.

    main entrance porte de la ville,castle of Anjou looking from castle chemin de ronde view from castle to the Maine river the walls porte de Champs the gardens at the ditches or moats
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