The Loire Valley is a major tourist destination within France.
The Loire Valley is often referred to as "the Garden of France" and the Cradle of the French Language. (The city of Tours is reputed to speak the purest French.) Listed (at least in part) amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in late 2000, the Loire Valley is also noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage, in historic towns such as Amboise, Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur and Tours, but in particular for its world-famous chateaux (castles), such as the Châteaux Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chambord, Chenonceau and Montsoreau.
The rolling riverine landscape of the Loire Valley - and more particularly its many cultural monuments - is redolent of the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on Western European thought and design. The valley is also known for its wineries, many of which offer tours.
On 2 December 2000, UNESCO named the central part of the Loire River valley, between Chalonnes (Maine-et-Loire) and Sully-sur-Loire, to its prestigious list of World Heritage Sites.