If I could freely choose a place to live in France, it would be in the Loire valley, near Tours. This region is called "the garden of France", but also the "valley of the kings". On a large area from Cosnes sur Loire to Saumur castles, abbeys and châteaux dot the landscape along the Loire river. Historical buildings are made from the white stone typical of the region, with their roofs covered in slate. Along the Loire river, caves have been dug in the cliffs to store the fine wines of the region (my favorite is the Vouvray tranquille) and you can stop there on a hot day for a short "degustation" and maybe buy a crate or two.
The town of Chinon is located on the banks of the Vienne river, not the Loire. It old town has kept its original character with narrow cobbled streets leading to the royal castle on a hill behind...