Above: Gardens and château at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire - ERIC SANDER / COURTESY OF DOMAINE DE CHAMOUNT-SUR-LOIRE-

Just over 100 miles from Paris, the Loire has been a bucolic getaway for half a millennium. Anchored by a dreamy river, the region offers gorgeous scenery, excellent food and wine, and charming villages grown up around royal castles and other grand homes of the aristocracy. Visitors have typically received the Renaissance treatment, checking into antiques-filled châteaux set on parklands removed from towns’ bustle.

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Above: Gardens and château at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire - ERIC SANDER / COURTESY OF DOMAINE DE CHAMOUNT-SUR-LOIRE-

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