This highway begins in France’s epicenter, Paris, and travels southwest to one of the finest wine-making regions in the world, Bordeaux. En route it passes through the incredible Loire Valley, a region loaded with sumptuous mansions and idyllic scenery. A traveler could easily spend several weeks along this journey.
Paris – Everyone’s favorite city is filled with romance and fantastic architecture. Sidewalk cafes are everywhere and the people-watching is some of the best in all of Europe. There are a number of world-class museums as well as A-list tourist attractions.
Versailles – This is the palace against which all other palaces are measured. The extraordinary opulence of rooms such as the Hall of Mirrors is unmatched. The symmetry and gradeur of the place is staggering.
Chartres – This town’s Cathedral is the epitome of Gothic architecture. It has been much revered and copied throughout the centuries. Its celebrated blue-colored stained glass has given birth the color, Chartres Blue.
Orleans – This city, the entryway into the Loire Valley, will forever be remembered for its association with Joan of Arc, the famous woman-warrior who defeated the English here in 1429. References to her are everywhere in town.
Chambord – The quintessential palace of excess, this monumental mansion, with its unusual design, has numerous towers and dwarfs the surroundings.
Blois – This city, with its beautiful chateau, sits directly on the Loire River.
Chenonceau – Another of the incredible palaces which line the river valley, Chenonceau is associated with Catherine di Medici who spent a fortune on the mansion.
Tours – This city is used frequently as a base of operations for an exploration of the Loire Valley region. It also possesses an impressive Cathedral and regal architecture.
Bordeaux – The capital of this world-famous wine-making region in southwestern France has been recognized in its own right by UNESCO as a "city of Art and history."