Centre-Val de Loire region is made up of Orléanais, Touraine, Berry, and a part of Perche (former provinces of France). It is bounded to the east by Burgundy and Ile-de-France, to the south by Limousin and Auvergne-Rhône Alpes, to the north by Normandy, and to the west by Pays-de-la-Loire and Nouvelle Aquitaine.
The Centre-Val de Loire region consists of 6 départements: the Eure-et-Loir (28), the Loir-et-Cher (41), the Loiret (45), the Cher (18), the Indre (36) and the Indre-et-Loire (37).
With its population of 2.48 million and surface area of 39,000 km², the Centre region is France’s ninth largest region.
Town Property Guides
Everyday life or royal splendour, come and discover the vestiges of times gone by. From prehistory to the Renaissance, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the Centre region, cradle of French royalty, has been the setting of many an important event in the country’s history.
Flick through the pages of history. Here comes Joan of Arc to meet her King, while men of the faith built magnificent religious edifices and, on the banks of the great river, kings plan the political and cultural renaissance of a whole country.
Step inside beautifully preserved masterpieces of the Renaissance, or take a peek through the window of the very first human dwellings dating back to prehistoric times. Through the year, there are many original events and presentations bringing the past to life.
The Loire River
The last untamed river in Europe and one with many features. Sometimes calm, sometimes wild, the Loire has an unpredictable temperament that always surprises. Leafy islets and tropical flowers, shifting sandbanks and elusive beavers – these are just some of the things on offer!
Wild it may be, and yet the hand of humankind has also helped to bring out the best of these sumptuous, changing landscapes. The many châteaux dotted along the river are a reminder that the Loire has always attracted the great and the powerful, while picturesque villages alternate with towns rich in art and history.
It is thanks to this astonishing originality that the Loire Valley has just been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage…
The Loire Valley
From the area of Sancerre to Touraine, the Loire Valley rolls out its grandiose landscapes and guards its quiet beauty spots jealously. A walk through the Garden of France…
Listed among the “Loveliest Detours in France”, Sancerre is known above all for its vineyards whose reputation for excellence is long established. Visit this town perched on a rocky hillside and give in to the charm of its little alleyways and its harmonious atmosphere.
Travel down the river to Orléans, delivered from the English by Joan of Arc in 1429. Lying on the boundary of the Ile de France ( Paris) region, Orléans took its place in history very early on. Once the “Port” of Paris, the city on the Loire has preserved many remains bearing witness to its importance over the centuries.
For example, Sainte-Croix Cathedral, or the Hôtel Groslot… Welcoming and lively, Orléans makes a perfect stopping place on any trip along the Valley of Kings.
To the west of Orléans, Blois displays its charm. Its Royal Château is a reminder of the importance of the town in Renaissance times. If you really want to soak in the delightful feel of the place, however, you should head off for a wander along the steep streets with their stairways tumbling down the hillside towards the river.
Illuminated in the evening, it rises high above the rooftops of Tours, the former capital of the kingdom: St-Gatien Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic art.
City of art and history, Tours certainly has no shortage of charm: the Place Plumereau, the Rue Colbert with its wood-framed houses and the St-Martin Basilica are just some of the reasons to head off for a stroll around this lively city.
Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Ah… the famous châteaux of the Loire Valley ! Here are some of the most famous:
Talleyrand, Minister for Foreign Relations under Napoleon, was the owner of the Château de Bouges-le-Château between 1818 and 1826. Set to the south of Valençay, its classical design of the Louis XV era earned it the nickname Petit Trianon. Its landscaped garden contains rare species of plants. Your walks will also be enhanced by a formal garden and a flower garden.
Water for Versailles! Nothing was too good for the famous palace of the Sun King.
Château de Maintenon
In the park of Château de Maintenon you will find the archways of an aqueduct: this was built to divert the water of the Eure towards Versailles and Marly. However, This titanesque project was never completed. Françoise d’Aubigné, future mistress of Louis XIV and Marquise de Maintenon, bought the château in 1674. She accomplished a great many improvement works.
Château de Cheverny
Thundering typhoons! Isn’t that Tintin pacing the corridors of the Château de Cheverny? Maybe it is: this Louis XIII style building inspired the creator of the famous reporter. Its interior decoration has resisted the passage of time: 17th and 18th century furniture, tapestries and sculptures make the château most appealing to art lovers.
The Pagoda of Chanteloup
Something reminiscent of China rises above the water, set against a backdrop of greenery: the Pagoda of Chanteloup near Amboise is the sole remains of the estate of the Duke of Choiseul (1719-1785), Minister for Foreign Policy under Louis XV. This 40m tower was built between 1773 and 1778. You can climb to the top.
It is for good reason that the Centre region is known as the Garden of France. A garden both secret and wild, irrigated by meandering waterways, in which all your senses will delight.
Thousands of lakes, wild rapids and rivers that flow lazily by, wooded slopes and endless expanses of forest: this natural heritage is one of the richest and most varied in France.
Make the most of this wealth of natural beauty! From hiking to water-sports or climbs through the foliage, you can observe the plant and animal life of the Centre region and enjoy being as close to nature as you could possibly get.
Wine and Gastronomy
Celebrated by Rabelais, the fine cuisine and wine of the Centre region will be an integral part of your stays in the Garden of France.
Here, meals are festive occasions prepared with passion.
What are the “raw materials” of these “gargantuan” meals? The fish of the Loire or its tributaries, but there is also game, poultry from the Orléans area, Cléry-St-André asparagus, Jargeau sausage, as well as the famous green lentils from Berry.
Simple or refined, the cuisine of the Centre region includes a great many specialities.
Gravel or limestone soils, hillsides overlooking the river or facing the sun: vines are in their element in the Centre region; from the Touraine to Berry via the Vendôme, Chinon and Gien areas, these wines have earned a sound reputation.
No fewer than 19 Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées (AOC) celebrate these flavours – fruity or full-bodied, but always brimming over with character.
Bourgueil, Vouvray or Chinon to the west, Valençay or Reuilly in the centre, Sancerre and Menetou-Salon to the east; ideal accompaniments for your meals.
The Vineyard Tourist Route will give you the opportunity to discover the regional wines. These wines go especially well with the famous cheeses with their Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées (AOC). In Berry, the Crottins de Chavignol or the Pyramides de Valençay and of Pouligny-St-Pierre will make your mouth water.
And once the time for dessert has come, try a Tarte Tatin, named after the two sisters and hoteliers of Lamotte-Beuvron, or a Pithiviers, an almond cake from the town of the same name.
Tourism office in Centre:
Maps of Centre:
Travel from the UK
By air: Ryanair flies to Tours and Poitiers from Stansted.
By rail: catch the Eurostar to Paris (Gare du Nord) and then connect with a TGV line to Le Mans, Angers, Nantes, Poitiers, La Rochelle and Angoulême from Gare Montparnasse.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Centre-Val de Loire. We have a large network of partners in Centre. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Centre matching your requirements.