Centre-Val de Loire, officially named Centre but often combined with the French appellation Val de Loire, is one of the 27 regions of France, located southwest of the French capital Paris. It is divided into six departments: Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loiret, and Loir-et-Cher. As the names of the departments suggest, much of Centre-Val de Loire embraces the valley of the river Loire. The administrative capital of the region is Orléans, and the largest city is Tours. Centre-Val de Loire, like many French contemporary regions, was formed by combining parts of several historical provinces. The name was chosen due to its geography, being at the centre of the original French language area. The name Centre-Val de Loire became official on 17 January 2015.
Centre-Val de Loire is known for its gentle and refined lifestyle, its beautiful chateaux, cheese and wine, and its mild and temperate climate.
What to see & do
Château de Chambord - Château de Chambord is easily one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world. It features a very distinctive French Renaissance architecture with traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. It is the largest château in Loire Valley, though it was never completed.
Pôle des étoiles - Pôle des étoiles is a tourist attraction and learning centre in Nançay. The centre has permanent and special exhibitions relating to science, and offers tours of the radio astronomy facility and hosts sky theatre or planetarium shows.
Loire Valley Cheese Tours - In France, there are 48 cheeses with the protected AOC status (meaning it has passed quality standards according to Appellation d'Origine Controlee regulations). Six of these special cheeses are found in Loire Valley. A choice of cheeses is usually offered after most French meals, and these also go well with local wines. The AOC stamped cheeses in Loire Valley are Valençay cheese (AOC 1998), Crottin de Chevignol (AOC 1976), Chabichou du Poutou (AOC 1990), Pouligny St. Pierre (AOC 1972), Selles-sur-Cher (AOC 1975), and Sainte-Maure de Touraine (AOC 1990).
Bourges Cathedral - Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Bourges. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Stephen and is the seat of the Archbishop of Bourges.
How to get around Centre-Val de Loire
The city of Tours has a very efficient bus network – one of the best in France – that covers most of the city. Tours, despite being the largest city in Centre, is small enough to be navigated on foot for the most part. Numerous bike rental stores can be found all over the city. In fact, with most of the cities in Centre, travelling on foot or by cycling is the most cost-efficient and most common way of getting around. In Orléans, the Semtao Tramline runs from the city centre down the main street to the outlying towns and suburbs.
How to get there
The primary airport in Centre-Val de Loire is Tours Val de Loire Airport, located six kilometres north-northeast of Tours. The airport is used by Ryanair, and receives flights from London Stansted Airport (London), Marrakesh Menara Airport (Marrakesh), and Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto).