The kings of France ditched Paris for the Loire Valley during the Renaissance, leaving the region littered with glorious châteaux. And who could blame them? This lush valley is a regal backdrop for elaborate castles, its fertile vineyards and farmlands supplying royal feasts. Local pears and goat cheese, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé still end up on restaurant tables in Tours.
Tuck yourself in at Domaine des Hauts de Loire, a fairy tale of a hotel whose antiques-filled rooms overlook 178 acres of forest.