In August my friend and I travelled to the Loire Valley – a beautiful region, which can be reached from Paris in about an hour by train. It is known for its historical castles, a wide range of aromatic wine and sustainable activities for tourists. Let me show you my top five reasons, why Loire Valley between Tours and Orléans is worth exploring.
Living in individual and historical houses
Everybody traveling through the Loire Valley will find charismatic and individual accommodation. Many hotels have their own story to tell and it's worth asking about it! You’ll feel the flair of the Loire Valley even more when you stay in one of the traditional houses. You can enjoy local wines and regional foods, most often coming from the neighboring area. It’s not only sustainable – it also strengthens the region. One of our hotels was the four-room stars hotel "La vie Voyage", whose friendly owner I’d like to introduce below.
Enjoy French warmth and individuality
We met many amazing people in the Loire Valley. One of them is Marie Ange. A midwife who passionately runs her small bed & breakfast “La vie Voyage”. Her concept: sustainable living and regionality. Everything in the rooms is “made in France” and for breakfast the croissants, bread and jam are homemade. Marie Ange, who shares the same house with her family, welcomes her guests personally and cooks delicious 3-course menus from local specialties. With a bit of luck, she will take you to the hotel's wine cellar in the stone massive behind the house. Impressive and steeped in history!
Eating with a clear conscience
Regional wines, cheese, tomatoes; the Loire Valley has many delicacies to offer. Coming from neighboring towns, much of the seasonal food is produced organically. This not only protects the environment because of low travel distances, but you can also taste it too. We can't even say which dish we liked best on the trip because everything was so delicious!
Wow factor: There were kitchen gardens with e.g., cabbage, lettuce and apple trees on the grounds of some castles. Or cut flowers, which were used to decorate the interior of the castles.
Traveling in an environmentally friendly way and slow down
As already mentioned, you can easily reach Tours or Orléans from Paris by train. But you can also travel in an environmentally friendly way locally using an e-bike for example. We rode along the Loire from Tours via Villandry Castle to Langeais (approx. 2 to 3 hours). The best thing apart from the wind that blows around your nose while riding is that exploring by bike makes you truly slow down! A tour by e-boat is also possible in the Loire Valley (you should go for it at Chenonceau Castle). Our highlight when it comes to slowing down: a walk through the forest with a donkey from the eco-friendly farm “Les Anes de Madame”.
Sustainability for everyone
The Loire Valley region has often pleasantly surprised us when it comes to sustainability initiatives. In addition to e-bikes and e-boats that can be hired and the focus on regional and organic products (tip: definitely visit a biodynamic winery), there were rubbish bins with a separation system in some hotels; composting toilets were located in the car park of the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, and a recycling area was set up in the facility's restaurant where guests could dispose of and separate their food themselves. These are small gestures which make a difference and in which everyone (especially tourists) can participate in.
Written by Julia Breuing