The Loire Valley is renowned for its fabulous chateaux and gardens.
Indeed, the area between Gien and Angers is known as 'the garden of France'.
But for hundreds of years the Loire was an important trading and transport route and the site of many historically significant events.
In the Middle Ages the kings of France began to settle in the valley, attracted by its idyllic setting and gentle climate, and it was here that the influence of the Italian Renaissance took hold and flourished.
The Loire is sometimes called 'the last wild river in Europe'.
The sandbanks may shift several times a year, but the great floods of the past have been tamed.
It is a peaceful river that now flows past the chateaux and towns of Blois, Chaumon-sur-Loire, Amboise, Langeais, Saumur, Angers...The area has been classified by Unesco as a World Heritage Site because of its unique cultural landscape: a complex harmony of architecture, society and economy.
From Anjou to Orleans, via Touraine and Blois, we follow this historic river upstream, in the footsteps of the kings of France, Leonardo da Vinci, Rabelais, Ronsard and Turner.