The Loire is the longest river in France. With a length of , it drains an area of , which represents more than a fifth of France's land area. It is the 170th longest river in the world...
in central France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
. Its area comprises approximately 800 square kilometres (308.9 sq mi). It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...
s, fruit orchards, and artichoke
-Plants:* Globe artichoke, a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean* Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower with an edible tuber...
Asparagus officinalis is a spring vegetable, a flowering perennialplant species in the genus Asparagus. It was once classified in the lily family, like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae have been split and the onion-like plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and...
, and cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....
fields which line the banks of the river. Notable for its historic towns, architecture and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period.