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A Postcard from the Valley of the Kings
The Loire Valley is a part of France that abounds in chateaux, impressive manor houses, cathedrals and superb landscapes. The Loire River of course is the element that pulls this whole neck of the woods together and is itself an interesting place to partake of boat trips, fishing and a whole host of other activities.
Right in the centre of France, the Loire Valley is a landlocked cultural hive that spans about 800 square kilometers. Often referred to as the Garden of France thanks to its rich and abundant land, this truly is a place you can’t afford to miss out on.
Known for its vineyards, fruit orchards and asparagus and artichoke fields in particular, it isn’t surprising that the Loire Valley attracts the name the Garden of France. The climate in this valley is pleasant year round thanks to the positive effect the river has on the air temperature. Unsurprisingly, a number of spots along the Loire River have been designated World Heritage Sites and it is for all these reasons that tourists visit this part of the country in their droves all year round.
Today we’re writing our postcard from Saumur in the Loire Valley. It’s Saturday morning and we’ve done our first tour of the market and we’re sitting outside Café de la Place having an aperitif before we squeeze ourselves inside to eat. Saumur is a commune in the Maine et Loire department that is part of the Loire Valley. Known for Saumur wine, Saumur has a rich and interesting history. The most recent event was when it was the scene of the Battle of Saumur during the Second World War. At that time teenage cadets from the Cavalry School defended the town; a military training establishment that still exists in the town today.
With a population of around 30,000, Saumur isn’t a big town by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason it has a big town feel to it. We’ve been here for 3 days now and let’s just say we haven’t had a moment of wondering what to do. The Tank Museum, the Musée des Blindés, which boasts not far short of a thousand armoured vehicles isn’t the sort of thing that I’d normally be overly interested in, but I can tell you, this is something that really gets you thinking about how these people felt when they went into battle. Not such a nice thought perhaps, but thought-provoking nonetheless. We also visited the Château de Saumur itself, which holds court over the town and is a real sight to see. Built of the local tuffeau stone, it is incredibly elegant and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
All of that said, much of our time has been spent exploring the vineyards of the area and today enjoying the markets. Like the town, the market in Saumur isn’t huge, but it has real atmosphere. We’ve wound our way around the little side streets that lead from the river to the main shopping area and we’ve been extremely impressed and drawn by the range and freshness of the produce. We’ve also been tempted into buying some porcelain from a supplier from Limoges who comes to the market here regularly and has beautiful white porcelain at completely rock bottom prices. At the moment, we’re not sure how we’re going to get everything home, but we just had to invest!
On this trip we’ve been on a bit of a budget accommodation-wise and so we opted for the Best Western, which guaranteed us a reasonable level of comfort at a price that didn’t break the bank. What’s more, because we arrived by train, parking wasn’t an issue and this hotel offered a great location for getting around on foot. With its friendly staff and functional but comfortable rooms, we got all we hoped for.
When it comes to thinking of whether or not this part of France would be attractive to us if we were thinking about either a whole new life or a holiday investment, then we have to say a very big “Yes!” From a climate point of view, from a communication point of view and from a beauty point of view, this part of the world ticks pretty much all of our boxes.
If you’re interested in exploring the property offers we have in the Loire Valley, here are a few houses for sale in the Loire to get your taste buds going. If you are looking for that special French chateau or Manoir in the area, then pour a glass of your favorite wine and take a look at these gems.
If you fancy finding out more about a new life or a holiday house in the Loire Valley, why not get in touch.