The attraction of the Loire Valley
Photographs published with the kind permission of Val de Loire Tourisme
Known as “the garden of France”, the Loire Valley region of France attracts visitors with its iconic castles like Chambord and Chenonceau, its world-famous wines including Sancerre, and the quintessence of French art de vivre present throughout the region. Located a few minutes by car or train from Paris, the Loire Valley flourishes during the summer months with events such as evening illuminations in the castles, live music, garden festivals and, well of course, the July 14 celebrations. Visitors can attend a spectacular sound and light show every summer evening in the courtyard of the Royal Castle of Blois, which tells the singular history of the city through an immersive experience on the facade of the castle. On the first weekend of July, visitors can experience the Nights of a Thousand Lights at Villandry Castlein which the castle is illuminated with 2,000 candles.
July is also the ideal month for a bike ride along the Loire à Vélo, a traditional boat ride under the arches of Chenonceau Castleor a drink outdoors in one of the many Guinguettes (cafeteria with live music on the banks of the Loire).
The Flower of the Loire
On June 13, 2022, a new 5-star hotel and gourmet restaurant opened its doors in the city of Blois, called Loire flower, under the leadership of two-star Chef Christophe Hay. Hay’s lifelong project, the new property aims to provide an oasis of tranquility that enhances the wealth and heritage of the Loire region, while promoting eco-responsible values.
Housed in a 17th-century building designed by King Louis XIII’s brother, the hotel offers the feel of a refined family home. Le Fleur de Loire has 44 rooms (including 11 suites), a gourmet restaurant, a bistro, a pastry kiosk, a swimming pool and a state-of-the-art sisley spa which will open in early July 2022. Hay’s restaurant showcases the best of the region’s unique terroir, including produce from local farmers, local truffles, Cheverny wine, meat from the chef’s ranch, and herbs and vegetables from the on-site garden.
The park and gardens are designed by landscape designer Raphaëlle Cherewith a commitment to a sustainable and eco-responsible approach, while Caroline Tissier will oversee the interior decoration.
Domain of Chaumont sur Loire
Located just 20 minutes by car from Blois, the Domain of Chaumont sur Loire celebrates the 30th anniversary of the International Garden Festival this year, from April 21 to November 6, 2022. The festival has been a major destination for contemporary creation and landscape since 1992, acting as a breeding ground for new talent. This year’s theme is centered on the “ideal garden”, questioning our current relationship with nature due to global warming, urbanization, etc. This year, designers were encouraged to showcase their innovative visions using new materials, new plants, new techniques, and more.
This anniversary coincides with the opening of the Bois des Chambres, the very first hotel to open at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. The establishment, designed by the architect Patrick Bouchain, offers 39 uniquely designed rooms and suites as well as a gourmet restaurant. Located in an old restored farmhouse, in addition to an original architectural creation, each room has a different theme dedicated to the nature that surrounds the hotel. The property also features original artwork displayed throughout the hotel.
Just an hour and a half’s drive south-east of Blois is the medieval city of Bourges, Villa Monin is a new exhibition space dedicated to the famous Monin gourmet syrups, the space offers a cabinet of curiosities around flavors and aromas, an immersive tour of syrup making, cooking classes and workshops led by chef Thierry Finet , as well as a syrup tasting bar . The bourgeois confectioner Daniel Mercier also offers a visit on the theme of chocolate within the space.