Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The area's rivers

We are in the Loire Valley, so of course, the Loire river is a dominant feature. It's the longest river in France (1012km) rising in the Massif Central and reaching the Atlantic ocean at St Nazaire, near Nantes.  When it passes through our area, it is wide and regal - flowing deepest in late spring, with the snow melt run-off from the upstream mountains - and even when the river levels are low in summer, revealing islands and sand banks, it is still deemed too dangerous for swimming.

There are other rivers to see too, though; the most notable are the Vienne, Indre and Cher - all tributaries of the Loire, and all with their unique charms and character.  The Vienne runs through Chinon; it's gentler-flowing and ideal for the canoe trips you can take from there.  The Indre passes near Chateau Ussé (the 'Sleeping Beauty' chateau) and looks like a moat as it flows round the chateau in Azay-le-Rideau.   The chateau of Chenonceau - the most visited in the Valley - straddles the river Cher; there are great reflection photos to be had if the light is right.

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