The architectural heritage of the French kings is nowhere as present as in the Loire valley. Magnificent castles, sophisticated gardens and sweeping parks demonstrate both the monarchs' power and appreciation of art, attracting and fascinating uncounted visitors to this day. 60 of these works of art have been captured in brilliant color photographs for this book - the Hall of the States General at Blois, the Saumur and Angers fortresses, the picture-postcard castle of Azay-le-Rideau, built in the middle of a river, and, impressive and shrouded in legend, the massive Chambord castle. The substantial texts describing individual castles are complemented by a map, a timetable, a genealogy of the kings of France, a glossary and a bibliography. This is a fascinating book for all lovers of the Loire valley, all travelers and anyone with an interest in history.