Monday, 29 February 2016

'Taken in Touraine'

This calm scene of a boat on a river was taken at the weir on the river Indre at Azay-le-Rideau. It can be a different place when the river is in full flow when the full force of the river Indre appears to want to swallow up the boathouse,

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Chaumont Garden Festival 2016...


This year the festival gardens are open between April 21st and November 2nd.

The theme for this, the 25th edition of the festival, is ‘GARDENS OF THE CENTURY AHEAD’

Over the years (it started 1992) the INTERNATIONAL GARDEN FESTIVAL in the grounds of the chateau at Chaumont-sur-Loire has built a reputation for presenting innovative garden designs around various themes by landscape gardeners from around the globe.We visit the festival every year to view the new displays and are yet to be disappointed.

Here are some images from previous years...

 Prés du Goualoup

.The 10-hectare park of the chateau also hosts large art installations and the area 'Prés du Goualoup', a 2012 addition, has, among other things,a log whirlpool and a box-hedge lemon squeezer!

Jardins de Lumière

From the 1st July to the 31st August 2016  you can also take in " Light of Gardens " where original lighting transforms the festival gardens every evening (except Friday), from 10.00pm until midnight. You must enter before 11.00pm and can use your purchased day ticket for free access.

Illuminated garden photographs courtesy of Armand de Foucault

Looking for accommodation - check out these village houses

Monday, 22 February 2016

Chateau d'Oiron and art for art's sake

One of the most unusual of the 'Loire Valley chateau' has to be the 16th century Chateau d'Oiron in the département of Deux-Sèvres making it the most westernly of the great castles of the area.

The chateau is less about its history and more about its collection of art works and curiosities.


You can read more here

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day...

Did you know that here in Centre-Val de Loire we have our very own village of Saint-Valentin.

If you head out of Tours on the A85 and down towards Loches and then continue onto the D8 you will eventually (1hr 40mins) come to the little village nestling in the department of Indre. They have embraced the festival and every year the village dresses itself up and they have a programme of events including a grand lunch to enjoy.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The lure of the Loire Valley...its natural

The lure of the Loire Valley? For many it is the glorious chateaux or fine wines for others it is the areas cultural heritage. 'Centre Val de Loire' the region which plays host to the majority of its premier chateaux and a large stretch of the river is also rich in natural landscapes as diverse as the country (France) itself. 

The modern region is made up from the historical provinces of Orleans,Berry and Touraine. These have now been divided into 'departments' but each still hangs onto their own unique heritage.

The department of Indre formally part of Berry contains one of the gems of the region in the form of its nature park at La Brenne. An area of area of 160K+ hectares and home to around 2000 ponds/small lakes (French: ‘etangs’) it is naturally rich in fauna and flora, which means that it is home to a vast number of animal, bird and plant species. This draws the nature lovers and birdwatchers but because of the size of the park sometimes you can feel as if you have it all to yourself.

To help appreciate its rich biodiversity the park offers a selection of discovery trails (20) where you are lead along your way with the help of information boards. These include; “Sentier du Blizon” (Sentier: trail) near Rosnay with a nature trail about 1.5km (1 mile) in length there and back where you could fill your day watching and listening to wildlife. The trails vary in length and on what can be observed with the park offering viewing points and ‘hides’ around the lakes at Foucault, Bellebouche and Massé.

 The Chérine nature reserve near Saint-Michel-en-Brenne was initially set up to protect species of water fowl but their remit has since been extended to include insects and plant life. so here you have a very natural environment to explore.

The park caters for nature lovers (obviously) but also for others who just like to explore new environments. There is a visitor centre (Maison du Parc) at Le Bouchet near Rosnay plus during July and August you can visit the nearby Chateau du Bouchet. 

The castle which dates from the thirteenth, fifteenth and seventeenth centuries stands on high ground and offers great views over the lake ‘Mer Rouge’, the biggest in La Brenne. It is well worth adding to your itinerary if visiting the ‘Maison du Parc’.

At Bellebouche there is a sandy beach and the park offers swimming and other water sport options on the lake so really everyone is catered for.

La Brenne is easily accessible from the Southern Touraine area of Centre Val de Loire where you have a choice of pretty village houses for your accommodation.