The Loire By Roderick Gilchrist
It’s a cruel trick of nature that the Loire, France’s longest, most historic and according to folklore most feminine river, because they say she is both beautiful and capricious – so Gallic – has always denied her admirers panorama of the passing countryside from the water itself when the land is dressed so enchantingly in it’s summer best.
After all at this time of year fields of blazing yellow colza share the river bank with neat columns of flowering grape ruffled by gentle breezes and cool forests where deer run free.
For centuries the river has been a romantic’s dream, the imagination excited by its ravishing Renaissance chateux. These majestic pleasure palaces for dissolute Monarchs are scattered across the Loire valley like jewels, framed in a gentle land of lush vineyards bathed in tender light that reminded Leonardo da Vinci, who died here, of his native Tuscany.
But it is during the warm weather the Loire shows what a temperamental Diva she is .While she floods her banks in winter, creating chaos, in summer the Loire drains away to a few inches to reveal treacherous sandbanks, effective barricades against all but the smallest fishing punts.