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150km (93 miles) SW of Paris; 85km (53 miles) NE of Tours

On the right bank of the Loire, the town of Beaugency boasts a 14th-century bridge that's unusual because each of its 26 arches is in a different style. The heart of town is an archaeological garden called the City of the Lords, named after the counts who enjoyed great power in the Middle Ages. A major medieval event took place here: the 1152 annulment of the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her cousin, Louis VII. She then married Henry II of England, bringing southwestern France as her dowry, an act that set off the Hundred Years’ War. This remarkable woman was the mother of Richard the Lion-Hearted. (The film “The Lion in Winter” dramatizes these events.)