Usually associated with Renaissance chateaux and historical monuments, the Loire valley is in fact a place of much greater richness and interest than the image of popular perception. The river itself is the longest in France and passes through a succession of landscapes, many of them of a richness which suggests that this is truly ‘the garden of France’, as it is often called. Yet there is variety here, reflected in the buildings and settings of the beautiful villages so stunningly illustrated in this book. Over thirty villages of the Loire and the surrounding countryside are described and beautifully illustrated in this book, which is completed by special sections on wine and food, and abbeys and churches. As with all the volumes in The Most Beautiful Villages series, there are appendices listing the most important sights, markets, hotels and restaurants, either in each village or close by.