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6969thomsonalfresco.co.ukRegional Information - FrancePlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeThe Monastery of Mont St MichelAn impressive fortified monastery dating fromthe8thcentury, Le Mont St Michel is one of thegreatest spectacles of Europe. The steep cobbledclimb up the Grande Rue to the abbey is lined withhalf-timbered buildings making it hard for visitors notto be tempted to enter the souvenir shops, cafés andrestaurants. But be careful when you choose to go asyou could be cut off by the sea which surrounds thetown at high tide!CarnacThe Carnac area is rich in menhirs (stones) anddolmens dating from Neolithic times between5000and 3000 BC and is also home to the 'Tumulusde Kercado - The oldest megalithic structure intheworld.BénodetBénodet is the largest of several family beach resortswithin the region. It has much to offer from stunningviews across the harbour, sandy beaches, watersports,promenade cafés and boat trips along the rivertoQuimper.This is a modern beach resort that really comes aliveat night. So if you are a bit of a night owl thenit iswell worth a visit.ConcarneauThis 12th century walled city is home to one of thegreatest fishing ports of Europe, it is France's thirdmost important trawler port.It also has a fishing museum which shows the historyand techniques of fishing from around theworld.RennesCapital of Brittany since its incorporation into Francein the 16th century Rennes is a beautiful oldtownwith many stylish boutiques and pavement cafés.If you are after some culture, housed in the city'solduniversity building is the 'Musée des Beaux-Arts'.St. MaloSt. Malo is both lively and pretty. Situated at the RiverRance, it is famed for its walled city with many narrowcobbled streets and nearby beaches. There is a popular aquarium near the walled townwhich features large shark tanks.DinanDinan is a preserved medieval town, with its grandcastle and a pretty little port, cobbled streets, timberfronted houses and weavers workshops there is muchto see.If you like going shopping then you must visit onaThursday, as this is market day.DinardThis is one of the most stylish and exclusive ofseaside resorts, with a fine beach.It has many grand villas, sheltered sandy beachesandcoastal walks situated along the estuary of theRiverRance.QuimperQuimper is considered the cultural and artistic capitalof the region and even hosts an international folkmusic festival. With its cobbled streets, half timberedhouses and waterways it provides much inspiration forartists. This old trading city is also famous for hand-painted pottery. 'Cathédrale St-Corentin' embracesmany Breton elements including an equestrian statueofKing Gradlon on the western façade.VannesVannes is the largest town in the area and datesfrommedieval times and still has some of its ancientwallsintact. You will find the streets are narrow andwinding with timbered and gabled houses withoverhanging storeys. The old town ishome to the massive 13th centuryCathedral StPierre which holds the tomb of StVincent Ferrier. Whilst Vannes offers a great deal forhistory lovers it provides for lovers of nature as wellwith an aquarium and a butterfly centre.Fun For All The FamilyOceanopolis AquariumSituated in Brest, here you can learn about the manysecrets of the ocean from the thousands of varietiesof fish and sea life. The research centre located at theaquarium is the main one in France for marine life. Armoripark Amusement ParkSituated at Bégard, it is always a hit with the kids.Things To DoBeaches to visit:Dinard has fine sandy beaches which are safeforchildren.Blue Flag beaches: . Pleneuf Val Andre. Trevou-Treguinec. Ploemeur. ErdevenLocal Specialities. Crêpes et galettes - The Bretons are famous forthese. . Locally produced cider - Crêperies serve ciderinpottery type cups.. Seafood - Breton oysters, shellfish, barnacles, crab,lobster, and mussels.. Wafer biscuits and butter biscuits.. Gâteau Breton - A rich cake with butter, eggyolksandsugar.Brittany

70Regional Information - France70Places Of Interest & Things To SeeBloisThe tourist capital of the Loire Valley is bothpicturesque and lively with many things to see anddo.Joan of Arc even planned the liberation ofOrléanswithin its walls. Located on a cliff top north of the riverthe royal château reflects, through itsarchitecture, itshistory as the favoured royal residence until Louis XIVmoved the court toVersailles. It became the first inFrance to be classified as a Historical Monument. OrléansLocated on the banks of the Loire this is the mostnorthern city of the region, here you will find abeautiful park 'The Floral Park' - at La Source - wellworth a visit with its rare trees and abundant flowerbeds. There are also Romanesque churches, historicmansions and impressive museums. Musée des BeauxArts, houses an impressive collection ofEuropean artwhilst the flamboyant Gothic Cathédrale Ste-Croix iswell worth a visit.AmboiseAmboise is a town steeped in the history of the Kingsof France and the Renaissance and is an attractivetown full of bustle as well as charm. The royal Châteauof Amboise was a principal royal residence of theFrench Renaissance built during the 15th & 16thCenturies. The ornate balconies with their gothicsculpture look out onto a panorama over the LoireValley. Amboise is also home to the flamboyant chapelof St Hubert the Clos Lucé and the Leonardo da Vincimuseum, which has scale models of his inventions.Le MansHome of the world famous 24-hour Sports carraceevery June however it is also a great place forshopping, as it has many antique and craft shops.Thebeautiful Cathedral of St Julien providesacounterpoint to the noise and speed of theracetrack.ChambordThe' château de chambord' was created in 1519byFrancois I and has 440 rooms and 365 chimneys.Italso has the largest walled estate in Europe wherestags and wild boar roam free.Château de ChenonceauVisually the most exciting and the most romanticofthe Loire châteaux. Chenonceau is a remarkablebuilding with its arched gallery spanning the RiverCher. There are also formal gardens and a park to takea gentle stroll in.BourgesBourges is the capital of the ancient province of Berryand was the official residence of the 14th century artpatron - Jean de Berry. It is a medieval city gracedwith one of the most beautiful cathedrals in France,which adds to its heritage through prestigious eventssuch as 'The Printemps de Bourges - Music festival'.The magnificent cathedral looks over the cobbledstreets of the town, which are filled with half timberedhouses and gothic and Renaissance style mansions.140hectares of marshland, covered with canals andgardens feature in the heart of the city, just afewhundred yards from the cathedral.Château de ChevernyBuilt by Henri Hurault, the château is set in alandscaped park. It is considered one of themostoutstanding in the Loire Valley, due to themagnificence of its furniture and art collection.Cheverny is a region famous for its hunting, andthechâteau is home to a resident pack of hounds andahunting museum.ToursTours is an excellent city for shopping with the bestshopping streets leading off Rue Nationale. There arealso a range of markets, Marché Gourmand - anevening market and Marché aux fleurs - amagnificentflower market. It also has many barsand restaurantsto choose from, to sample some local cuisine. Thegothic cathedral 'StGatien' is fronted by two gracefultowers supporting Renaissance decoration and is wellworth a visit. Other sites include museums devoted tomedieval and fine arts, museums of archaeology ' andmodern art. 'Musee des Beaux-Arts' - is located in theformer bishop's palace next to the cathedral.PoitiersPoitiers is only a small city which fits into a hilltop site,but is home to some of France's most remarkableRomanesque churches, 'Église Notre Dame La Grande'to name just one. If you are looking for some history -the town also has a museum - Musée Rupert deChiévre displaying furniture and paintings and objectsfrom the 19thcentury. For a very different experience,the Futuroscope theme park is close by and offers arange of exciting experiences related to the movingimage as well as some stunning architecture.Fun For All The FamilyFuturoscopeThis European Park of the moving image is situatedjust outside Poitiers. Futuroscope is a vastcomplexoffuturistic constructions offering extraordinarytechnological attractions aimed at allages. The cinemaexperience includes moving seats, the crystal-shapedKinemax has the largest screen in Europe. There areinteractive water games and countless other high-techattractions complete the range.Zoopark de BeauvalZoopark de Beauval, is a beautifully landscaped parkproviding a home to white tigers and the largest groupof chimpanzees in France.Château d'AmboiseHere you can see re-enactment performances of'Thecourt of the King Francis I', which includes somewonderful special effects.Château de Montrichard Here you can see great birds of prey using traditionalfalconry techniques.Things To DoThose who like open countryside will find plentyofactivities to enjoy, walking, driving, riding, andsailing.. Walking - Touraine is France's foremost walkingcountry with almost 6,000 km of waymarkedfootpaths.. Golf - In the Loire Valley, golf courses are flanked bylakes and rivers. Players can see deer tracks or watchwild duck in flight.. Loiret has a whole range of courses. In all thereare8courses from 9 to 18 holes from Orléans to Sully-sur-Loire.Local Specialities. Tarte Tatin - Upside down tart of caramelised applesandpastry.. Tarte a la citrouille - pumpkin tart. Bourdaines - apples stuffed with jam and baked.. Pithiviers - Flaky pastry cake with marzipan from thetown north of Orleans.. . Wine - The wine produced in the Loire is renownedfrom sparkling Saumur to the Vouvray of theTouraine.Loirethomsonalfresco.co.uk