The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is a beautiful area of French countryside just south of Paris. With our backpacks in tow, we train traveled through the valley from Cheville to Orléans, then from Blois to Tours.

Enjoying a beer and some snacks in Orléans
Enjoying a beer and some snacks in Orléans

Orléans is, you guessed it, the city that New Orleans is named after. It was also home to Joan of Arc, and you can find statues and monuments in her likeness all over town.

While in Orléans, we stayed at the Hôtel Saint Martin and enjoyed some delicious French cuisine at the local restaurants.

Orléans street view
Orléans street view
Orléans Cathedral
Orléans Cathedral
Joan of Arc statue
Joan of Arc statue
Delicious French cuisine in Orléans
Delicious French cuisine

Next, we bought a train ticket to Blois (pronounced BLah). We had reservations at the Hôtel & Restaurant Côté Loire, and it was one of our favorite hotels in France (minus the lack of A/C, which is pretty common in Europe). The house was built in the 16th century and was a short two-minute walk to the neighborhood castle.

The gentleman who owns the hotel was super friendly and spoke perfect English. The property had been in his family for generations. The hotel also had a top-notch restaurant, where I was able to order his grandmother’s recipe for foie gras. As you can see in the pictures below, the French know how to eat. He let us try and figure out the French menu ourselves before explaining what every item was in English. It was truly extraordinary service.

View of Blois
View of Blois
Hotel Cote Loire Auberge Ligerienne
Hotel Cote Loire Auberge Ligerienne
Jini's dinner
Jini’s dinner
Drew's dinner
Drew’s dinner

In addition to the town’s castle, or more formally referred to as Château Royal de Blois, there was also a Magic Museum. We toured both on the same day and had a fun time.

Playing around in Maison de la Magie
Playing around in Maison de la Magie
Château Royal de Blois
Château Royal de Blois
Blois street view
Blois street view
Glazed fruit tart
Glazed fruit tart

Next up we headed to Tours, which is a cool university town. This was one of Drew’s favorite stops on our trip. We stayed at the Hotel Colbert, and had a relaxing time shopping and eating delicious street food, which included pizza and Lebanese shwarmas (complete with French fries wrapped inside).

We went on a short bar crawl that evening where we spoke to a bartender who was telling us about IPAs. He said they were gaining popularity in France, but he knew they had been popular in America for quite some time.

Train station in Tours
Train station in Tours
Hôtel Colbert
Hôtel Colbert
View from our balcony
View from our balcony
Selfie in Tours
Selfie in Tours
Fun college-town atmosphere
Fun college-town atmosphere
Definitely a college town
Definitely a college town

Up next we continue southwest to Bordeaux, the heart of French wine country.