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Centre - Val de Loire

[Flag of Region Centre]


Historically, the 'Centre' Region of France included the three provinces, Orleans ( now Loiret, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher), Berry (Cher and Indre) and Touraine (Indre-et-Loire). These identities and their traditions still remain in the hearts and minds of the local people - despite government reorganisation. This is highlighted in the way they promote their tourism (sometimes confusingly) using both the old traditional areas and the new departments. The Region Centre which has adopted the 'Val de Loire' tag to promote its tourism had in fact wanted to have it officially recognised as its name, unfortunately to do this, by law, it was first necessary to get the approval of its own departments and that of all the other Regions. Not surprisingly the region of 'Pays de la Loire' took exception to this, believing that it would diminish their marketing efforts and anyway the 'Loire' tag belonged to them!


The Ministry for the Interior agreed, so the procedure was aborted.


The region within France:



The mistake had, in fact, been made at the assignation of names for the newly formed Regions as, with the river Loire flowing through four of its departments, Centre, as opposed to Pays de la Loire (with only two) had the stronger claim to have it included in its name. So an early marketing opportunity was lost.


Now, by adopting the name they are making it easier for their potential visitors to associate the region with its most envied attractions, the Châteaux de la Loire - but there is so much more to this region...the Loire river and its tributaries bring a landscape of great diversity while the richness of its soil gives us fields of golden corn and some of France's best vineyards. Its proud, welcoming people hang on to traditions and maintain its heritage in a manner that should be held up as an example to others.


It is a great place to visit...and live, the Centre - 'Val de Loire'  region of France has an enviable array of riches. 

 The Departments:


 Centre region in France is made up of six  Departments:

The Loire Valley /Centre region has much to offer the discerning  tourist and where perhaps it is the Departments  of 37 (Indre-et-Loire)41(Loir-et-Cher) & 45 (Loiret) that have the more well known attractions (they contain a major part of the Unesco World Heritage site) they all have much to offer.


Orleans in Loiret is the administrative capital of the Region though it could be

 argued that Tours, its largest city, in Indre-et-Loire might be considered its cultural capital.


Region Centre video


UNESCO listing:


The 'Loire Valley' as far as UNESCO is concerned takes in the major chateaux along the river Loire as it flows through the departments of  Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire (formerly Touraine) in the Centre region plus the department of Maine-et-Loire (formerly Anjou) in the Pays de la Loire region. The Touraine and Anjou historical names have been chosen by the respective departments to market their tourism industry. For good measure it has also incorporated the Anjou/Touraine and Chambord natural parks.

Confusing we know - but you can understand the desire for all to capitalise on these wonderful monuments.


         Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire


Geography of the Loire Valley (Val de Loire) as per UNESCO's definition which includes the old traditional department of Anjou but not the departments of Eure-et-Loire, Indre or Cher




map showing Loire Valley within France


Location within France




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