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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 Information - FrancePlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeLa Rochelle La Rochelle, the landmark of the region, is seen asthemost unspoilt seaside resorts in France. Thefocalpoint of the town is the old harbour with threemediaeval towers and lined with quayside cafés andrestaurants. There's a natural history museum andaquarium too. To get a good view over the city, climbthe 15th century Tour de la Lanterne and late June toJuly La Rochelle hosts an international film festival.Isle of RéThe Isle of Ré is one of the off shore islands linkedtothe mainland by a toll bridge and has 70km ofcoastline and 20km of fine sand beaches. Whitewashedhouses with green shutters, narrow winding streetsthrough quaint villages and harbours make the islandaparadise for holidaymakers and a haven for cyclists.The Island has oyster farms and salt marshes andevenhas its own nature reserve for birds. The maintown St-Martin de Ré is a picturesque fishing villagesurrounded by 17th Century fortifications which youcan walk around to get an amazing view of the boats inthe harbour. It is popular with cyclists as it is very flatand has an extensive network of paved cycle paths.The Ile d'Oléron is a great surf spot and can also bereached from La Rochelle.RoyanRoyan is a stylish beach resort south of Rochefort; ithas a 2km long beach, a stylish promenade and plentyof cafés, restaurants and shops. It had to be entirelyrebuilt when it was completely destroyed in 1945during the war. Fort BoyardFort Boyard, now known for being the setting of thepopular television series, is located off the coast ofLaRochelle. It was built in 1666 as extra protection forRochefort and the Island of Aix. You are unable to visitthe Island due to television contracts but you can takeone of the many boat trips to sail around it.RochefortRochefort was once a naval base and was foundedbyLouis Colbert in the 17th Century. It was alsothebirthplace of the travel writer Pierre Loti; you canview all the objects he brought back from his travelsin his museum. CognacThis town is famous for making the double distilledspirit Cognac, it has been making the spirit since 1795when a Scot named Otard opened a distillery in thetown and ruthlessly tore down a chapel in the process.It is made of local distilled white wine that is then agedin oak barrels for 54 years before being bottled.SaintesSaintes is a town over 2000 years old and located onthe banks of the Charente river. It is home to one ofthe oldest remaining amphitheatres as well as Romanbaths. Take a stroll through the medieval city of narrowstreets and markets.PoitiersA 14th Century centre of arts and intellectual studies,is today a modern and upbeat city with a wealth ofarchitectural interest in its atmospheric old quarter.ChatelaillonThis is a bustling seaside resort with a promenade andfine sandy beach that is said to be one of the safeston the coast. Stretching over almost 3 kilometres,Chatelaillon boasts a water complex with giant flumeand sailing school.Fun For All The FamilyAquariumsThe whole family can enjoy a visit to the marine world.The grand aquarium of La Rochelle is among the mostbeautiful in Europe. Open close to the Old Harbour, ithouses over 10,000 marine animals from the Atlantic,the Mediterranean and the tropics. And on the IsleofOléron, the Aquarium of Saint-Pierre likewise isapopular place to visit.Le Palmyre ZooJust north of Royan, the resort of La Palmyre hasglorious beaches backed by pine forests. It has azoohome to many animals and endangered specieswhich are all housed in habitat set up like theirnaturalhabitat.Futuroscope Theme Park, Poitiers This hi-tech, cinema theme park is set in what lookslike a science fiction novel, the buildings all reflect thename of the park, a giant sphere set on a slopingsheet of glass, a huge translucent cube and reflectiveorgan pipes that projects into the sky. The attractionsinclude a 3D cyber trip into imaginary worlds, a 3Dspace mission around the universe and CinémaDynamique a virtual reality roller coaster. It also haslive laser and firework nights during high season.Things To DoMarais PoitevinA maze of man-made canals of marshland dating backto the middle ages, when monks started a huge projectto drain the Golfe du Poitou. The more picturesquename given to the area is "La Venise Verte" or "GreenVenice". One of the best ways of exploring the network ofwaterways is to hire a boat, which you can do with orwithout a guide.Visits to VineyardsYou can see the vineyards of Cognac covering the hillsaround the town and also take a tour around one ofthe distilleries. Global Garden (Les Jardins du Monde)A flower and leisure park with tropical green housecontacining orchids, bonsai and landscaped gardensaround a lake.Visit the Oyster BedsMarennes is one of the most important oyster farmingareas. Find out about the life and everyday work ofoyster farmers and the history of oysters.Local Specialities. Chaudrée, local fish in muscatel wine, or tantouillée,a red wine stew made with pork and chicken.. Charente Maritime is known for its green-tingedoyster and liquor; cognac or pineau.Charente Maritime