The region technically titled Centre is also known as Centre-Val de Loire and as such causes confusion as it so closely overlaps in name and landscape with Pays de la Loire. Centre battled with the Ministry for the Interior to gain the name Loire to promote tourism which, in many ways it deserves, as the Centre department contains most of the Loire chateaux. Unfortunately it failed to gain Loire in its region name but tends to add it on for purposes of tourism. Hence the boundaries of Pays de la Loire and Centre merge and descriptions of each department can apply to the other. At Healey Fox we recommend that to get a feel of Centre you also read our description of Pays de la Loire.
Centre combines three provinces, Orleans with the departments of Loire. Eure and Loir et Cher, Berry with departments of Cher and Indre and Touraine otherwise known as Indre et Loire. At Healey Fox we specialise mainly in Indre et Loire with a few properties also in Loir et Cher. We chose Indre et Loire as it has the most beautiful properties imaginable, small chateaux, manors and hunting lodges. Houses for sale in Indre et Loire are
Centre is in the centre of northern France and is split in the middle by the Loire valley. It is situated south west of Paris and extends to the northern boundaries of Limousin and Auvergne. It is a department of chateaux and farmland. Large cereal growing farms give us the fields of golden corn in the north of the department which then give place to fields of sunflowers and rapeseed to the south and to the extensive vineyards producing the famous Loire wines. There is some beef and dairy farming throughout the department and flowers and apple orchards along the river valley. The landscape of Centre is reasonably flat which produces those amazing long distance views and big skies.
Everyone seems to have their favourite chateaux and there is plenty of information on line about each of them. For me I think it is hard to beat Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and, of course, Chateau d'Usse otherwise known as the Sleeping Beauty Chateau. Even if you have your own house in Centre and spend a lot of time there, it will be hard to ever bore of visiting the chateaux of the Loire valley and their beautiful gardens. If you are a garden lover, the Garden Festival held at the Chateau Chaumont-sue-Loire each summer is really worth a visit.
Owning your own property in Indre et Loire, hopefully means that you can take life leisurely which may allow you to cycle part (or all) of the 800km Loire à Vélo trail. This beautiful trail takes full advantage of the relative flatness of the region, so cycling is relatively easy and the cycle route takes you to many of the chateaux and through some of the lovely small towns and villages. It's. pretty amazing way to arrive to visit a chateaux!
Life in this region is mainly rural but with its reasonable proximity to Paris the population in many of its pretty market towns has increased recently. There is always something to see and do in towns like Blois which is a historic town on the northern banks of the Loire, Chinon with its medieval castle which was built by Henry II of England and Loche with its medieval fortress, Renaissance castles old city gates and cobbled streets. For lovers of sophisticated shopping, museums and galleries the bustling university town of Tours is a good day out.
Access to your house in Centre-Val de Loire, from the U.K. is simple and fairly fast. Drive time from most of the channel ports is 3 - 4 hours, the airport at Tours has many flights arriving from the U.K. or there is the TGV connecting to Eurostar in Paris.