Wednesday 8 December 2010

How to Avoid the Crowds

The Loire Valley is a big place and comfortably absorbs the visitors it gets. It's rare to have to queue for entry or struggle to find a restaurant or accommodation for the date you want. Even inside the popular sites like Chenonceau, the most visited chateau in the Loire, you may encounter a few bottlenecks in narrow doorways, but nothing that a little give and take doesn't resolve. We visit Chenonceau at least once a month between April and October and have never encountered crowding to the extent it made you sorry you visited.

Chenonceau at the end of June - a bit of a jostle for the
balconies, but nothing to ruin the visitor experience.
According to the Conseil général of Indre-et-Loire (the equivalent of the state government) the real beginning of the peak tourist season is getting later and later. This is because the majority of French people take their summer holiday in August, and the high season is concentrated into the 6 weeks from mid-July to the end of August. This year the busiest time didn't arrive until about 20 July, but by the beginning of September, French children have to be back at school, and the crush ends abruptly on the last day of August.

So if you want to avoid any possiblity being caught up in a heaving crowd, we would be very happy to see you in May and June or September and October. We can recommend a number of outstanding but lesser known sites which only have a few visitors at a time in these months, providing a wonderfully intimate and special experience.