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To experience the raw beauty of France, there’s no better place to visit than the Loire Valley, with its magnificent vineyards, sleepy streets and riverside views drawing in thousands of travellers every year.

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The best way to experience the Loire Valley is on one of Riviera Travel’s escorted tours, where you’ll benefit from expert knowledge, first-class recommendations and the chance to mingle with other people like you who relish new experiences.

What’s more, the accommodation we offer as part of your ticket is second to none, and as well as being taken round one of the most unspoilt areas in France, you’ll enjoy comfort every step of the way. Not to mention pretty much everything is planned out for you, saving you the hard work of putting together an itinerary.

Here are the top five highlights of the Loire Valley Tour…

1. Giverny

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This beautiful little commune is located in northern France and is best known for being the home to one of the most influential artists to come from the country: Claude Monet. He lived in the village for 43 years until his death in 1926, and the place is still very much alive with his memory.

You can explore the gorgeous gardens in which he walked and even see the lily pond where the famous ‘Water Lilies’ was painted. There is also the opportunity to look around Monet’s house, where you can browse his precious collection of Japanese prints and enter his blue reading room.

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2. Chinon

You’ll cherish your memories of wandering around this medieval town, which is oozing with character and historic charm. Its pointed roofs and winding roads are complemented by views of a striking castle, which is just asking for you to photograph it.

As well as being the resting place of kings and the seat of the government, Chinon has a reputation as the home of fine wines, so make sure you try some of the local tipples during your free time in the area.

3. Amboise

The visit to Amboise takes place on day four of the guided tour, and makes for a very memorable trip indeed. It is just a stone’s throw away from the river, and there is much to see within the town itself.

For instance, here you can explore Leonardo da Vinci’s house, where he stayed up until his last days. The property has been fully restored and now contains models of his inventions, such as the helicopter.

Just outside of Amboise is the 44-metre-high Chinese Pagoda – a temple – which was constructed in 1775 by the Duke of Choiseul. An interior staircase leading to all seven levels is open to the public and a visit here is recommended.

4. Fontainebleau

This commune is just south of Paris and is most famous for its stunning chateau, from where Napoleon departed after being exiled to the island of Elba. You must explore the palace, which is adorned with frescoes on the ceilings and exotic parquet flooring.

As well as the chateau, you’ll have the chance to wander around the provincial town, which is where Parisians swarm to for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life because of its large and very beautiful forest area.

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5. Chartres

In Chartres, you’ll be met with the sight of quaint cobbled streets, medieval architecture and a stunning cathedral, which many people say is the most beautiful building of its kind in the whole of France. Although the town has been heavily modernised over the past few years, it still boasts plenty of character.

Make sure you take a look inside the cathedral and visit the 13th century stained glass window that is famous across Europe for its amazing detail.

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