France is a vast and beautiful country. So, what might make the Loire Valley just that little bit special for students to enjoy on school trips?
Although it’s not normally cited as a prime justification for visiting this area, if organisers of school trips are looking to avoid the very long drives to get down to the south, the Loire Valley is ideally positioned. From the Western Channel ports like Caen and St Malo, the Loire Valley can be reached in only around three to four hours of driving – which is manageable and avoids motorway exhaustion.
Few areas of France can boast so many different major attraction centres in such a relatively small area. All the great Loire Valley (and surrounding areas) cities of Tours, Blois, Angers, Chartres and Orleans, are within easy driving of each other. Then there are the fabulous chateaux for which the area is world-famous. You might be amazed at just how close many of them are to each other.
If this all sounds a little built-up and building oriented, it’s worth remembering that this area is also home to some of the world’s best vineyards and wines. Perhaps students on school trips won’t be engaging in too much ‘degustation’, but they’ll probably find the techniques and traditions fascinating.
Messing about on water
Of course, much of this area is a considerable distance from the sea but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities for bathing and boat explorations. Taking a trip down sections of The Loire itself is a fascinating experience and can offer some quite breath-taking views.
English and French history intertwined
During the latter stages of the 100 Years’ War, the medieval English kings had occupied most of Northern France, including Paris itself. French resistance was driven back to the Loire Valley and the story of Joan of Arc is legendary. This illustrates again how the history of the two countries has been inextricably linked over millennia – a process that continues today.
Some experts will tell you that this region of France is home to the real French culture and language. Some might even make claims (that will certainly be hotly disputed!) that it’s the centre of French gastronomic excellence. Whatever the reality of those claims, this part of the country will offer students on school trips the chance to experience a very traditional French culture and background – in some areas, once that has hardly changed in a century or more. Great local dishes can be sampled and there are cultural delights such as museums, art galleries and re-creations of ancient agricultural life.
To put it simply, this is a magical part of France and one much loved by the French themselves. It’s absolutely ideal for school trips and students will undoubtedly love their time there.