If it's French splendour, style and gastronomy you seek, the Loire Valley will exceed your expectations, no matter how great. Poised on the crucial frontier between northern and southern France, and just a short train or autoroute ride from Paris, the region was once of immense strategic importance. Kings, queens, dukes and nobles came here to establish feudal castles and, later on, sumptuous pleasure palaces – that's why this fertile river valley is sprinkled with hundreds of France's most opulent aristocratic estates. With crenellated towers, soaring cupolas and glittering banquet halls, the region's châteaux, and the villages and vineyards that surround them, attest to over a thousand years of rich architectural and artistic creativity. The Loire Valley is also known for its outstanding wines (red, white, rosé and sparkling) and lively, sophisticated cities, including Orléans, Blois, Tours and Angers – yet more reasons why the entire area is an enormous Unesco World Heritage Site. [Lonely Planet]


This summer road trip in 2019 was undertaken by my wife and I in our Mazda MX5. As luggage space was at a premium taking my full camera kit was not an option. All of these photographs have been taken on one camera, a Fuji X100F which has a fixed 23mm [35mm full frame equivalent]. I also had the 18mm wide angle converter [28mm full frame equivalent]. The RAW files were processed in Adobe Lightroom. This demonstrates that you don't need to carry lots of gear to enjoy photography and get some great images.