If you are interested in a vacation where visiting and history are the main themes, I highly recommend the Loire Valley and its wondersul castles.
Every castle is astonishing.. With a little bit of imagination you can picture the old times with kings and queens, music and good wine, banquets and chase parties.. Everything is perfectly preserved, and the tourist can easily find his way around..
Chambord, Chenonceau, Villandry, Usse, Azay le Rideau...
We have been there in August 2008 and stayed in Nantes, which was not the best choice as a location; we found out that we should have chosen Tours or Blois, cities that are located right in the middle of the Loire Valley.
There are numerous castles to be seen. We could only visit the most important ones (I think one needs 2 weekes at least to visit everything and not get tired of driving and walking and.. )
But.. the feeling is great! Although we spent quite some time in the car, it paid off when we became part of the French history..
I think Loire Valley is a must for everyone. Enjoy!