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La Loire...

The Loire is the longest river in France, it rises in the Southern Cévennes, flows north until it reaches Orléans, then turns west reaching the sea at Nantes. Being so long, many départements in France are named after the Loire or its major tributaries. The Loire river has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO along the length between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes - this new site incorporates the previously designated Chateau de Chambord.

Chateau de Chenonceau

The Loire is famous for two primary reasons - its Chateaux and its Wines. The chateaux include:

Amongst many others, together with many privately held chateaux, ancient fortresses and abbeys.

The Loire produces wine along most of its length once it has turned west at Orléans. Before Orléans, some wine production does occurs - notably around Pouilly. The Loire is primarily a centre for white wine production. Its most famous appellations include Pouilly Fumé, Muscadet, Coteaux du Layon and Savennieres. The last is one of the best white wines produced in France - one of the few that can be successfully laid down for any length of time. The Savennieres appellation includes one of only 3 single vineyard appellations in the whole of France. Coteaux du Layon makes an excellent dessert wine - it avoids the sugary nature of many dessert wines, combining a soft saffron flavour with the more astringent tones of grapefruit.

Loire wine map