Loire Valley West, as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Loire River region in Central France, is famed for its picturesque rural countryside. The grand old chateaux and castles along this western edge of the lovely Loire River, however, are slightly off the beaten track. The region has sheltered old abbeys with quiet monastic orders like the Abbaye de Fontevraud in the pretty little French village of Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, near Chinon. Leisurely river boat cruises down the Loire are a favorite with travelers to the region, as they watch the beautiful countryside with its quaint little towns and villages pass by. Among the region’s celebrated gastronomic delights are delicious fouaces, brioches and biscuits like Petit-Beurre from Nantes and Petit Sablé from Sablé-sur-Sarthe that are baked with fresh butter. Try the heavenly sorbets, fruit preserves and fruit jellies from La Fraiseraie at Pornic. Feast on fresh sardines, anchovies and escargot, while sipping on rich liqueurs like Cointreau or Kamok– the list is endless. This is the land that has been creating culinary history down the centuries.
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