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A very small part of a very large collection at Musée Maurice Dufresne wines including dry whites, sweet wines, reds, rosés and sparkling wines. Follow the Loire Valley wine route and explore the vineyards and domaines along the counrtry lanes of this lush region. There's evidence that vines have been grown here since Gallo-Roman times and the wines of Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau reflect the centuries of savoire-faire. Don't forget to sample the delicious Touraine cheeses such as Sainte-Maure de Touraine, a tangy goats cheese that's perfect with the regional wines! Just outside the centre of Azay-le-Rideau in Marnay you'll find the quirky and fascinating Musée Maurice Dufresne, the latter an obsessive collector of things. Set on an island, it holds an authentic and amazing collection of ancient vehicles, cars, bicycles, planes, trucks, motorbikes, tractors, agricultural or military machinery, vintage posters and peculiar objects - including a mobile guilotine. With more than 3000 pieces, allow a minimum of 2-3 hours to see it all. There's also a restaurant on site which is popular for lunch, so book your slot on arrival if you can. Also close by is the Chateau de l'Islette, a bit of a hidden gem and not on the main tourist route. Still lived in, the pretty Renaissance chateau is known locally as the little sister of the Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau. Here, the great Rodin conducted his stormy love affair with fellow artist Claude Camille, it's charming, authentic and has lovely gardens, perfect for a picnic or a boat ride on the small lake. Hotel: Grand Monarque a former 18th century post house in the centre of Azay-le- Rideau is charming; lovely restaurant too. Take a tour with Val de Loire Travel Tourist office: www.touraineloirevalley.com; www.loirevalley-france.co.uk
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