France

Why You Need To Go On The Loire Valley Excursion

Alison Benson is a student at University of Louisville and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Paris, France.

The glamour and excitement of Paris is certain to make your heart soar with everything there is to do! But sometimes you just need to take a step back and enjoy the quiet lifestyle of the countryside. On a weekend ISA excursion to the beautiful Loire Valley of France, we did exactly that. The Loire Valley is known for its many chateaus, delicious cheese and wine, and the lively city of Tours. Through ISA, we were able to enjoy all of these things!

The main castle was constructed over the river of Cher.

The main castle was constructed over the river of Cher.

On the first day of the excursion, we explored the property of the Chateau de Chenonceau, a gorgeous and peaceful estate full of delicate flowers, towering trees, and classic French charm. Built in in the early sixteenth century, the chateau survived the turmoil of the French revolution and has remained to this day a place of serenity. One of my personal favorites, this chateau is made great not by grandeur, but by grace.

The property consists majorly of gardens and scenic walkways.

The property consists majorly of gardens and scenic walkways.

Climb up past that horizon and you'll see the grape vines that this local establishment grows.

Climb up past that horizon and you’ll see the grape vines that this local establishment grows.

A hidden gem in the Loire Valley, we visited and toured the fine vineyard of Plou & Fils in the town of Chargé. Since the 1500s, Plou & Fils has produced and sold their own wine, never exporting or importing. To experience this genuine Loire Valley wine, you must come here yourself! We did exactly that, and were treated to a dégustation de vins, or in English, wine tasting. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This chateau rests upon a high hill where you can get an extraordinary view of the entire town.

This chateau rests upon a high hill where you can get an extraordinary view of the entire town.

The final chateau we explored, after spending the night in Le Grand Hotel of the city of Tours, was that of the small town Amboise. This is another lovely former home of several French kings, and it was even visited by Leonardo da Vinci himself back in the early 1500s, where he lived out his final years of life in the nearby Chataeu de Cloux. Once again, we were treated to a tour of the buildings and got stunning views of the charming town and Loire River. After the tour, we set loose to wander the town, grabbing lunch and strolling through the shopping centers without a care in the world.

The epitome of a classic small French town, we enjoyed fine local foods and shops.

The epitome of a classic small French town, we enjoyed fine local foods and shops.

As exciting as Paris is to live each day, one can’t help but crave charm of the small towns and wineries that the Loire Valley has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to experience it when you come to France!

The world awaits…discover it.

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