Thursday, April 11, 2019

The upper Loire

As you know, Ken, Tasha, and I spent the first week of March near the Auvergne city of Le Puy-en-Velay. Not far from there, a little to the south, is the source of the Loire, France's longest river. The Loire is small and swift near its mountain origins, and very different from the section that flows through our region farther north.

The Loire river cuts deep valleys in the Massif Central, France's central mountain range.

The Loire we know is broad and calm and rolls along through gently sloping wine country. In the mountains, the river leaps down rapids and falls and carves deep valleys, almost ravines, in the rocky countryside. But all sections of the river, from its mountain source to its broad mouth in the Atlantic, have something in common: the châteaux (castles), perched on high points along its length.

The ruins of the château de Beaufort, built around the year 1200, high above the young Loire at Goudet.

In the mountains, the castles are mostly feudal medieval constructions, whereas the castles in our region tend to be royal renaissance works. Many of our local châteaux have medieval origins, but they were rebuilt as the renaissance flowered and the kings of France took up residence here.


  1. Thanks for sharing these. This is a more rugged I’ve never seen in photos of France.

  2. We're all about Le Val de Loirethese weeks, in French 4 :)

  3. mitch, there is a lot of rugged terrain in the mountain ranges, that's for sure.

    judy, cool! Any field trips planned? ;)

  4. When I first took wine courses, the first lesson (of all things!) was The Loire valley and all its wines. Just because I was starting out excited The Loire still holds a lure for me - and to drink the wines.


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