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The Center of France: the Châteaux de la Loire Valley

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The Center is a region of central-northern France, formed by the ancient historical regions of Touraine, Anjou, Berry and Orléanais. The current region, whose capital is the city of Orléans, is landlocked and administratively consists of 6 departments: Cher (18), Eure-et-Loir (28), Indre (36), Indre-et-Loire (37), Loir-et-Cher (41), Loiret (45).

The region is crossed from east to west by the Loire river which characterizes its entire geography, the territory is made up of plains and undulating plateaus, to the south-east are the limestone plateaus of the Berry, to the south are the ponds of the Brenne, and to south-west are the clayey plateaus of Touraine.

In the center and north are the limestone plateaus of the Beauce and the clayey deposits of the Sologne, another area rich in ponds and lakes. Part of the lake and forest territory is protected by the three regional natural parks of Brenne, Loire-Anjou-Touraine and Perche. Due to its territory particularly suitable for the cultivation of cereals, the Central region is the first cereal growing region in Europe.


The Loire Valley with its majestic castles is the main attraction of the area, most of the famous Loire castles are located in the Center region, among the best known: Chenonceau Castle (Château de Chenonceau), Azay-le-Rideau Castle (Château d’Azay-le-Rideau), the castle of Amboise (Château d’Amboise), the castle of Chinon (Château de Chinon), the castle of Ainay-le-Vieil (Château d’Ainay -le-Vieil), the castle of Blois (Château de Blois), the castle of Chambord (Château de Chambord), the castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire (Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire), the castle of Gien (Château de Gien), the castle of Sully-sur-Loire (Château de Sully-sur-Loire), the castle of Valençay (Château de Valençay).

Historic cities along the Loire Valley include Amboise, Blois, Chinon, Orléans, and Tours. The region is also renowned for its magnificent Gothic cathedrals, the most beautiful of which are those of Chartres (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), Bourges (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges), Orléans (Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d’Orléans) and Tours (Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours).

UNESCO has included three sites in the region on its World Heritage List, these are the cathedrals of Chartres and Bourges and the Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes.

The climate of the Central Region.

Area: 39.151 km²
Population: 2,526,919 (2007)
Capital: Orleans


This article is also available in: Italian

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