Loiret is a region in north central France situated on the Loire River, to the south east of Orleans. Loiret accommodation is plentiful and many visitors choose a gite or self-catering villa as a base from which to tour the area. Known as the ‘Valley of the Kings’, visitors are drawn to the area by the attractive castles and chateaux which line the Loire River. Loiret accommodation can even be found in one of these chateaux.
The quiet unspoilt countryside and charming French towns of Loiret are a delight to explore, and the French cuisine and boulangeries are just waiting to be explored. The area is popular for walking and cycling holidays as the summer weather is pleasant and the pace of life is unhurried.
Driving, cycling and walking around the Loiret region are a pleasure. Discovering the small towns, pausing by the river and picnicking in the sunshine are just some of the pleasures of this beautiful region of France.
The area is known for its grand chateaux and the best example is at Sully-sur-Loire. There are also impressive chateaux at Bellegarde and Chamerolles, which are well worth exploring from any self catering Loiret accommodation.
Orleans is the main town in the Loiret region, and the magnificent Cathedral is the main attraction. This busy city is linked with Joan of Arc, known as the Maid of Orleans, and many of her battles took place in the Loiret area.
Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire is well worth visiting for the ancient Abbey in the centre of the village. The Abbey is still used by Benedictine monks and is one of the best-kept Roman style churches in France. Look for the elaborate carving over the doorway showing scenes of the apocalypse and the Roman mosaic floor in the chancel. A guided tour is the best way to learn about this fabulous church.
Briare is another gem of Loiret with its leisure port, chateau and town hall. Walk along the canal past the locks to see the longest metal bridge in Europe, designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel. Flower lovers flock to the town as it is known for its summer floral decorations and flower beds.
Beaugency is a typical Loiret town, historically linked with Joan of Arc in the Battle of Beaugency when the town and the strategic river crossing were recaptured from the English. You can see the 11th century tower ‘Tour Cesar’ which played an important role in the battle. This quiet agricultural town has a castle keep to explore and a beautifully ornate 16th century Town Hall with many impressive wall hangings inside. The Maison des Templiers and the multi-arch bridge are all worth a photograph as you explore the narrow cobbled streets.
The most pleasant months to visit Loiret are from May to early October when temperatures range from 60F to 80F (16-27C). Winter temperatures may drop below freezing from time to time, and these are also the rainiest months. However, whatever time of year, a Loiret gite, cottage or chateau is always a delightful escape.
The main airport serving Loiret, France is Paris Orly airport which is about 110km north of Loiret. The Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris also has frequent national and international flights to the area and is approximately 135km away, so reaching a self catering Loiret villa from the UK is easy.