The Region

 

 

 

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La Soultire and Bournan

La Grange des Hirondelles is situated in the quiet hamlet of La Soultire, comprising of a dozen houses. The hamlet is 800 metres from the village of Bournan, with its 13th century church, pictured below left and centre. Bournan, together with La Soultire, has about 200 inhabitants; and is surrounded by open fields. The tiny village of Civray sur Esves, pictured on the right below, is just a short walk down the hill to the south of La Soultire. The hamlet of La Soultire is on a rise, and from the gite and gardens you have unrestricted, far-reaching views over the countryside for approximately 300. For example, from the orchard you can see Cussay and Ligeuil, both of which are about 8 kilometres away to the east.

The village of Bournan The church at Bournan The village of Civray

The area is renown for its wonderful Sainte Maure goats cheese.  Just a few minutes drive away, on the other side of the valley; you can purchase this cheese from a farm and also see the goats and other farm animals.  The region is also famous for the unspoilt villages, the majestic chteaux, the Loire and other rivers that meander through the area, the excellent restaurants, and the local wines.

Bournan, situated in South Touraine, is an excellent base for discovering the Loire Valley area of France.  Within easy travelling distance, typically less than 45 minutes, are many of the world famous Chateaux of the Loire Valley, such as Amboise, Chenonceau, Loches, Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau, Montrsor, Uss, Langeais and Villandry.  Just a little further are the well known chteaux of Chambord, Cheverny, Chaumont, Saumur and Angers.  Many of the chateaux have extensive ornate gardens through which you can wander, some of which are illuminated at night during the summer season. The major chateaux are open all the year round , and in many of them you can admire the French antique furniture of the 17th to 19th century. For the more adventurous it is possible to take helicopter or hot air balloon flights over the chateaux. Apart from the chateaux, the region is abundant with countless small, timeless, and picturesque villages.  It is a delight to stroll through these villages, admiring the flowers and the old buildings, and it is very easy to imagine that one has been transported back a hundred years. It is no wonder that the Loire Valley has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Chenonceau

Chenonceau from the air The chateau of Chenonceau spanning the river Chenonceau lit up in the evening

Perhaps the most well known Loire chteau is Chenonceau, spanning the river Cher, and with its extensive gardens on the northern bank.  It has an intriguing history, being associated with a long list of famous historical figures, including Diane of Poitiers, Catherine de Medicis, and Mary Queen of Scots.

 

Amboise

Chapel of St Hubert The chateau at Amboise The interior of Amboise chateau

Amboise sits on the banks of the Loire river, and is dominated by its chateau rising above the roofs of the houses in the town.  Leonardo da Vinci lived the last years of his life at Clos Lucie in Amboise, which you can visit and see an exhibition of his inventions.  He is buried in the chapel Saint Hubert (above left) in the grounds of the chateau.

 

Cheverny

Chateau of Cheverny Feeding time for the hounds at Cheverny The chateaux at Cheverny has an excellent collection of period furniture.  For lovers of comics it is also the basis for the home of the famous Tin Tin character created by the Belgian artist Herg. It is also famous for its pack of hunting hounds.  Here they are waiting patiently for the command to start their daily meal.

 

Chinon

The chateau of Chinon The town of Chinon seen from the chateau  Medieval procession at Chinon

Chinon, apart from producing one of the best red Loire wines, is also known for its medieval chateau, with its associations with King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, and Joanne of Arc. From the chateau you can look down over the town and the Vienne river. There are many good restaurants in Chinon if you want to spend the day there. If you happen to be here at the beginning of August, it is well worth a visit to see the medieval market and procession on the first weekend in August.

 

Other Chateau

There are many other chateaux to visit within an easy drive of La Soultire.  Among them are the chateaux of Saumur, Azay le Rideau, Langeais, Uss, Loches, Montrsor, Chaumont-sur-Loire, and Chambord.

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Pictured above are the chateaux of Loches, Chaumont-sur-Loire, and Montrsor. 

 

Picturesque Villages

Crissay sur Manse Angles sur L'Anglin Chedigny

The region is full of small charming villages, which you can find quiet easily just by taking the minor roads. Pictured above, left to right, are Crissay sur Manse, Angles sur l'Anglin, and Chedigny. Chedigny is famous for its roses embellishing many of the buildings, the rose festival in June, and for the Jazz festival in August each year.

 

Tours

Place Jean Jaures in Tours Place Plumereau in the old quarter of Tours Tours is an excellent shopping centre, as well as having an interesting old quarter full of pavement restaurants.  There is also a 13th century gothic cathedral, and several museums and an art gallery. Photo on right courtesy of Le Plessis Thilouze.

 

Even a day visit to Paris is possible, as it is only 55 minutes away from Tours with the TGV high speed train.

 

Feeding time for baby swallows

 

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