This region of woodlands, rivers, lakes and rolling countryside has a temperate climate which gets colder in winter. The area is extensively devoted to farming and agriculture.
One of the attractions of Centre is its many rivers which include the Loire which flows through the region onto the Loire Valley and the Loir - which is another river entirely. Then there are the tributaries of the Loire - Cher and Indre and the Creuse
As in the Loire region, there are many chateaux and the regions sometimes become confused, as just one, in the minds of some people. Visit Amboise and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum with scale models of his inventions, Azay-le-Rideau and Chambord, created by François I, which has a magnificent park and terraces, not forgetting the beautiful Chenonceau and Langeais with its tapestry collection
The name of the region indicates its location in France and it is bordered by eight other regions and of course has no coastal areas. However the rivers, streams and lakes make up for that. Plenty of watersports and fishing, plus beautiful walks and the wonderful food and wine of the region.
Light Industries include production of wicker, china, stained glass and tin soldiers
Departments and Main Towns
Departments: Cher (18) - Capital: Bourges, Eure-et-Loir (28) - Capital: Chartres, Indre (36) - Capital:Châteauroux, Indre-et-Loire (37) - Capital: Tours, Loir-et-Cher (41) - Capital: Blois, Loiret (45)- Capital: Orleans
Main Towns Blois, Bourges, Chartres, Chinon, Orleans, Tours
Blois - Louis XII had his residence at Blois and it was considered the capital of France until the end of the 16th Century
Bourges - presently a major centre for aircraft and aerospace industries and the armaments of France, Bourges is also a marketing area for wines, grains and cattle. It is also a beautiful town with a magnificient cathedral.
Chartres - Spaning the Eure River, Chartres is full of mediavel houses and cobbled streets and the town is dominated by its wonderful cathedral. Chartres’ stained glass windows are famous
Chinon was the birthplace of Writer/Phillosopher and Doctor François Rabelais and is famous for its vineyards that produce the wine of its name. It was also the place where Joan of Arc visited the Dauphin Charles VII and encouraged him to fight the English.
Orleans - A town divided by the River Loire, Orleans conjures pictures of Joan of Arc in the mind of the visitor and there is an annual pageant held here in April and May commemorating her. Beautiful Orleans was sadly bombed by first the Germans in 1940 and then the Allied Forces in 1944. Half of Orleans was thus destroyed but has been rebuilt. Orleans is famous for rose-growing and also produces half of France's vinegar. Many people actually commute from Orleans to Paris to work.
Tours - Capital of Indre et Loire, Tours is the main university town of the region and is also a major scientific centre. The surrounding area is called the "Touraine". Many of the beautiful chateaux are in the area.
Many of the wines of the region including reds are better served chilled. Wines include: Azay-le-Rideau, Bourgueil and Chinon from the Touraine region. Menetou-Salon, Montlouis, Pouilly Blanc Fumé, Sancerre - red white and rose, Vouvray- a sparkling white.
Bondaroy au Foin, a soft cheese from cows milk cured in hay, Crottin de Chavignol, Frinot - sometimes coated with ashes, Olivet Bleu is a blue cheese that is wrapped in the leaves of the plane tree, Pouligny-Saint Pierre, Sainte-Maure, Selles-sur-Cher, Valençay, Goat's Cheese in the shape of a pyramid,
Gravette - sweet flat oyster
Lamproie - eel caught in the river estuaries Strawberries
Freshwater fish such as salmon, perch and trout are regional favorites. Mushrooms from the local caves and wild duck, pheasant, hare, boar, deer and quail are also classics.
Friture de la Loire, small fish caught in the Loire and deep fried, served with lemon.
Clafoutis is a batter cake stuffed with cherries, which used to be served to the pickers during the grape harvest. You will find baked apples and jam, pancakes and fritters and excellent cheesecakes.
The famous French upside-down apple pie known as the "tarte tatin" also comes from the Loire Valley.