Loire Valley, France-The Loire Valley spanning 280 kilometres (170 mi), is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises about 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi). It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards (such as cherries), and artichoke and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river.
Château de Chenonceau ~ Loire Valley ~ France ~ It is by the river Cher and surrounded by forests and gardens. King Henry II gave it to his favorite - Diane de Poitiers, but when he died in a tournament, his widow the queen Catherine de Medici forced Diane to give it back to her. It's been remodeled numerous times over the years by several different women of position. The gardens are as pretty as the castle itself!