Départements: Cher (18), Eure-et-Loir (28), Indre (36), Indre-et-Loire (37), Loir-et-Cher (41), Loiret (45)
Centre is probably one of the less well-known names on a geographical tour of France but that’s only because most people know this area as part of the Loire valley (see also Pays del la Loire). The Loire does run right through this region, flowing graciously past hundreds of famous chateaux (such as Chambord, Chenconeau, Blois, Ussé) and providing what many French regard as a North/South climatic divide.
This region is primarily agricultural with rolling farmlands of grain interspersed with woods, lakes and river valleys formed by numerous rivers including the Loir (not the same as the Loire!) Indre, Creuse and Cher. Around the meandering Loire valley itself are the famous wine growing areas of Vouvray and Sancerre. Centre has a temperate climate with short but sometimes cold winters and long summers. On the one hand, if you like the more leisurely pastimes of fishing, river-boating, walking or cycling this could just be the place for you. On the other hand, the amazing architecture of the chateaux and associated history might be your source of inspiration. Due to the excellent access from Paris (TGV in less than an hour) property prices are not the cheapest, especially in the more scenic and well-known areas but it’s a big region (six different departments to explore) and property bargains may still be had if you seek them out. Perhaps you’ll find a traditional longere with slate or tiled roof or maybe something older with exposed oak-beams, also characteristic of the region. If you’re planning to travel from the UK you can fly into Tours or from the coast it’s a 3-4 hour drive by autoroute.
Related articles on FrenchEntrée.com:
A tour around Cher with French magazine
Cities and towns: Tours, Blois, Bourges, Chartres, Chinon, Orleans
Tourism:Tourism in Centre
Access: Flights to France