Majestic and free, the Loire River has modelled the landscape of the Loire Valley. Proof of this is to be found in the spillways protecting the farming area and the cave dwellings dug out of the rock.
On the banks of the Loire, mainly between Chaumont-sur-Loire and Candes-St-Martin, a well-kept secret now has other uses: the cave galleries of ‘tuffeau' stone dug out of the rock, formerly used to build châteaux, are nowadays remarkable wine cellars and mushroom cellars. Some have even been converted into guest houses or hotels, allowing you to stay in a cosy, magical place, for example in Rochecorbon or Azay-le-Rideau.
Other legacies of the past: the Loire river trade.
Relive the era of boatmen aboard their traditional flat-bottomed boats going by the names of gabarres, futreaux and toues, and hear all about their history, recounted by a handful of enthusiasts. You might smile at the many urinals along the Bréhémont quaysides: a rather singular legacy of the sailors!
Imagine St Dyé-sur-Loire at the time when the boats docked to deliver the materials required for construction of Château de Chambord.
All these references to the past make the Loire an out-of-the-ordinary river ...