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Birth of the Loire

The Loire department is, in fact, nowhere near the valley of the same name. It is located in the north west of the Rhone Alps, bordering Burgundy and Auvergne. The Loire River runs straight through the centre, neatly dividing the department in two, on its long journey across France. It is one of France's most industrialized areas, yet also has a dynamic landscape with high, forested mountains, low-lying valleys and vast areas of marshland.

Centre of industry

St-Etienne is the capital of the department. It is a bustling, industrial city that may seem a bit grey at first sight but contains a number of attractions. The town has three acclaimed museums. The Musee d'Art et d'Industrie exhibits everything from weapons to silk. In La Terrasse, the northern part of the city, you'll find the esteemed Musee d'Art Moderne abounding with photos, paintings and sculptures from the 20th and 21st Centuries. Lastly, the Musee de la Mine will take you underground to give you a sense of what it is like to work as a coal miner.

Going back millennia

Roanne, situated in the very north of the department, was already a thriving town at the time Jesus was born. In the 11th Century the local lords built a fortress here that can still be seen today. In 1883 the creation of a canal to link it with Digoin ensured that it would become a centre of trade. Today it is one of France's top textile producers.

Into the valley

Tucked away in the Vizery valley is the charming market town of Montbrison. The Monts du Forez look down on the town from a height of 5,278 feet. If you follow the valley down you will pass peaks that were once fiery volcanoes.

Getting there by air

There's a choice when it comes to flying, with British Airways, easyJet and BMI operating flights to Lyon. St Etienne airport, although within the department, currently has no direct flights to the UK. This may change though, so it would be best to keep an eye open for a change in schedules.

..and by train

If taking to the skies is not for you then there is an easy alternative. The TGV service will take you all the way to Lyon from the Channel Tunnel (changing at Paris) in comfort and speed.

Loire property prices

Loire, being the less touristy department out of the Rhone Alps, offers the cheapest properties. We currently have a large villa 20 minutes from St-Etienne and 30 minutes from Lyon for €335,000.

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Loire AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Loire?

Loire is located In the far north west of the Rhone Alps region of France.

Loire Property Map

IN THE REGION OF RHÔNE-ALPES

Rhône-Alpes Guide

Rhône-Alpes Property Map

IN RELATION TO THE REST OF RHÔNE-ALPES

GUIDES TO THE TOWNS/CITIES IN Loire

Montrond les Bains Guide

Saint Étienne Guide

AGENTS WITH PROPERTY FOR SALE IN Loire

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