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             Inhabited by men and sung by poets since time immemorial, the Loire Valley (which we presented some aspects in 2002 and 2006 , still relevant) is a highly tourist destination for its castles and vineyards mainly but has the advantage of having nothing lost authenticity we normally live and work here, in all fields of activity, and everyone is welcome, including visitors with disabilities. Accessibility, as elsewhere in France, slowly but surely, even if it remains the iconic improved. Most providers hotel and leisure as well as personal tourist offices are aware of the reception of public needs, which greatly facilitates the holidays! Browse the river. With its thousand kilometers from its source ( Mount Gerbier-de-Jonc in Ardèche) to its estuary (near Nantes-Saint-Nazaire), the Loire is the longest river in France. Main axis of navigation for centuries, the railway and road transport have greatly reduced the traffic on the course, remains erratic. It is sometimes said that it is "wild" about "living river" would probably be more appropriate, having regard to the civilization that developed there and continues to lead its shores. This story, these landscapes can discover including Montsoreau, whose elegant castle (partially wheelchair accessible) inspired Alexandre Dumas's famous Lady subject of numerous film adaptations. Can embark on the beautiful Adele (accessible by ramp, parking nearby), for an exciting ride commented at the confluence of the Loire and Vienne: do not forget your cameras. Cruises organized at dusk are particularly romantic ...

  Image: Montsoreau.

Other castles. With the notable exception of Amboise, former royal residence where real implementation efforts have been made ​​accessible, offering great visit historic castles has not changed since what we wrote in 2002 : Visitors in wheelchairs, you will have to settle for exterior and gardens (but often worth the detour) or carriers find strong! Hence the need to stop at Amboise : besides the spectacular view over the Loire discovered from the terrace, most of the public areas (except floor) are now available, a unique audio-visioguide kind (including French Sign Language) to even discover some places closed to visitors. The mind of Leonardo da Vinci, whose tomb is located here, in the chapel of Saint-Hubert, he still hover on these walls have seen cross, and sometimes clash, the great figures of the Renaissance? Icing on the cake on reservation prior the disabled have direct access to the terrace with their vehicle, and tours suitable for visual or hearing impairments are regularly scheduled.

  Image: Amboise at sunset.  © Laurent Massillon.
Image: adapted visit the Château d'Amboise.

But the castles in the Loire Valley, he did not think the main river (the most famous in this case being Chenonceau on the Cher, and Azay-le-Rideau , on the Indre): the region whole is full of noble houses, still often privately owned, some of which are open to the public. So too does the Rivau , near Chinon (Lemere). This medieval fortress "humanized" the Renaissance has long belonged to the illustrious family of Beauvau whose successive members have made ​​wonderful amenities that the current owners are keen to restore, maintain and live. With any talent and accessibility: the monumental stables addition, due to Philibert de l'Orme , where an audiovisual presentation traces the great medieval epics, the castle is recently accessible by elevator (on request). The interior decor is quite unexpected: you can not say no more ... But what makes a particularly Rivau dream is its fairytale gardens dotted with contemporary art, where traffic is generally easy wheelchair despite some passages graveled. A delight for children, who can even rent costumes for a princess or wandering knight! Easy parking near the entrance, washrooms, snacks available on site.

  Image: Castle Rivau.

In the Loir-et-Cher neighboring area Chaumont has made ​​little progress regarding the accessibility of its imposing castle, limited wheelchair to visit the ground floor, but great strides have been made side gardens : paved parking lot at the entrance of the festival (on the hill), a new access ramp more accessible washrooms, better consideration of disability in the development of landscaped areas (but still a lot of gravel). .. You can spend a whole day on site, where you can eat, and be amazed by the creativity family landscapers today, guided tours allow a better understanding. Children are not forgotten. The theme of the Festival changes each year, Chaumont, for over twenty years, a rendezvous for lovers of gardens, from around the world.

  Image: Castle of Chaumont.

Nectars. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin feel good in the Loire Valley and the wines of Chinon have long captured the palace. Although there is not really here "wine route" can pleasantly lost in the vineyard, to meet landscapes, beautiful half-season, and welcoming winemakers who love to share their passion . Dozon Laure is one of them: winemaker at Ligré (about ten miles from Chinon) for three generations, she receives any accessibility in a vault as little conspicuous that its production is generously accomplished. Feminine wine is little tannins and a wide variety of tastes to discover urgently, gentlemen! Washrooms, easy parking in the courtyard. these ladies are also featured in the name Cheverny : Laura Semeria the field Montcy , was "converted" to propose to organic winemaking closer to nature that can be discovered in a vault modern, accessible from ground level. But experience does not stop there: a bed fully accessible (except the upper terrace) and very design was recently developed by our winemaker in the middle of vineyards, where you can enjoy quiet room for softness ... To discover the full name, appointment, not far away, at the Maison des Vins de Cheverny, which offers just next to the castle (and any accessibility unlike the latter) not less a hundred wine tasting, served by an amazing machinery. Tasting wines obviously limited to 7 per session ... Ultra-modern equipment, qualified personnel: the dream for any fan! Access from the rear of the building, reserved parking next to the church, washrooms on site. At thirty kilometers further north, the area of Fang Merle (Muides-sur-Loire, near Chambord) delight more families, but still fully accessible: not only are there excellent product Cheverny appellation wine (and also Crémant de Loire), but you can visit a dairy complete with cows, calves, housing and robot milking. Warm and friendly wine and cheese in a homely: a very nice address.

  Image: nectar of the Loire Valley ...

Delicacies. pleasures of mouth Other Bracieux (between Chambord and Cheverny) where the master chocolatier Max Vauché workshop elected in 2005. Atypical this designer, who works directly with the producers of Sao Tome and Principe , offers both a space for discovery of the purpose of his art, from planting to production, but also a place where tasting blend high- creation and achievements general public in a constant quality: nothing artificial here, the only real good cocoa ... and lots of love. All accessible ground floor with disabled toilets and ample parking nearby. More than just a stopover between two castles, a trip to oneself alone! Always to delight the taste buds, ten minutes from Cheverny, Contres side is a completely different journey that we invite the Holy Workshop Michel . Saint-Michel, like the famous galettes: this industry group indeed has several factories in France, including this one, a true flagship of the fleet (this is also the headquarters), has a space open to the public , where you can discover the manufacture of specialty home with the sweet smell floats on the scene: the madeleine, deemed no dyes, preservatives or hydrogenated fats. Modern and fully accessible (reserved parking next to the entrance) the place has a gift shop and tasting room. But the plant itself can hardly see the outside ...

  Imge: Max Veauche at work ...

Let's finish this walk as it began: in water, but swimmable one. In Mont-près-Chambord (between Chambord and Cheverny), the municipality has recently developed a huge basin naturally filtered, blue and inviting as a tropical lagoon! Reserved parking, changing rooms and toilet facilities, ramp access to water, wheelchair loan, large lawn and even distributor of swimwear: nothing missing for relaxing in the sun in the Loire Valley ... Jacques Verne August 2012. On the Web, the official website Loire Valley (sic) gathers all the information necessary to prepare a suitable room in Indre-et-Loire. Ditto for the Loir-et-Cher , whose portion Tourism and disability also includes a presentation by LSF.

  Image: natural pool Mont-près-Chambord.