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Central France

We’ve taken Central France here to mean from the Loire Valley down to Burgundy and the Auvergne.

The picture-book setting of Loire Valley, a World Heritage Site, is dominated by 160 stunning châteaux and the River Loire which meanders through the green hills. Small villages and towns have grown around the larger châteaux over the years, so there is plenty to discover – perfect for family holidays in France.

Every château has its own speciality, from Chaumont-sur-Loire, famed for its stunning gardens to Chenonceau, which after the Royal Palace of Versailles is the most visited château in France.

The Châteaux de la Loire en Miniature (20km from Domaine de Dugny) is a must for adults and children. It features mini-versions of the 44 most prestigious Châteaux of the Loire. Along the fabulous 1 mile walk your children will enjoy the bonsai trees, the 10,000 figurines and miniture railways. A great day out!

Other attractions to look out for include the House of Magic in Blois (13 miles), La Ville Souterraine, an underground city created by artists (13 miles), the Maurice Dufresne Museum in the former Marnay Paper Mill is filled with treasures from 10 centuries of invention, including over 3,000 cars, planes and motorcycles and 2,000 historic weapons (50 miles).

The Burgundy region is a wonder mix of culture, nature and of course, wine. It lies mostly in a ribbon along the western edge of the Saone plain, south of Dijon. Dijon is a fascinating place to visit with it’s medieval core and Beaune is known as the wine capital.

The Auvergne is often labelled the “green heart of France” due to its massive volcanic chains and it appeals to those who enjoy outdoor action, with it’s fabulous array of cycling routes and hiking to the more adventurous white water rafting and canyoning.

If you’re searching for more cultural sights then you can do no better than to visit Auvergne’s southern department of Haute Loire, where you’ll discover history dating back to Roman times. Visit the historic town of Le Puy-en Velay and its beautiful Romanesque cathedral; La Chaise Dieu for its Benedictine abbey, which was secularized during the French Revolution; and Polignac for its medieval fortress, among other sites.