I dropped Joanna (my sister) and Janis (a good friend of hers) off at Charles de Gaulle airport yesterday morning at 8:30 and left them to stand in the line to get their baggage checked in. I wanted to hit the road and get back to Saint-Aignan as early as I could. It took me more than four hours.
I decided to drive my regular route through the countryside south of Paris, passing through Milly-la-Forêt, Malesherbes, Tousson, Puiseaux, Beaumont-du-Gâtinais, Bellegarde, Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, Tigy, Marcilly-en-Villette, La Ferté-Saint-Aubin, the Sologne forest, and Romorantin and Selles-sur-Cher before coming down the hill into the Cher river valley just before Saint-Aignan.
It started raining before noon at about Bellegarde, and I drove around the south side of Orléans and into La Sologne in a hard rain to the rhythm of the windshield wipers on the Peugeot. I guess my sister and Janice brought the good weather with them, and then took it home with them. Radio Bleue-Orléans was broadcasting from a very damp festival that was taking place on the banks of the Loire river all day Saturday.
On the blog, I'm running about a week behind events. I told Joanna and Janice that I would do a little travelogue over the next few days so they could remember the names of the places and monuments we visited and match them to their photos.
Last Monday, 17 September, we spend the day in Saint-Aignan. Callie had a late-morning appointment to get her stictches out, after her spaying a few days earlier, and J, J, and I were worn out after our travel adventures over the weekend. It was a morning of rest and of getting some food plans together for the following few days.
In the afternoon, we went to visit our village outside Saint-Aignan and the town of Saint-Aignan itself. The village has about 1100 inhabitants, who are spread out over a wide territory. The village center is fairly small, with a church, a library, a bakery, a post office, a grocery store, two cafés, and the village hall. We looked around inside the church and walked down to the banks of the Cher river, where there's a campground.
Then we went on to Saint-Aignan, population 4000, where we walked up onto the grounds of the château, which is privately owned. The owners live there, and you can't tour the interior, but you can walk around the courtyard and enjoy nice views of the river, the surrounding countryside, and the rooftops of the town. Part of the château is about 1000 years old and is in ruins, and another part dates back to the French Renaissance, 500 years ago.
We also went into the church, which is a massive Romanesque building. The interior was radically restored about 150 years ago. We walked down into the crypt, which is actually an older church on top of which the "newer" one was built hundreds of years ago. In the old church, there are frescoes painted on the walls between the 12th and 15th centuries.
The church in Saint-Aignan seen from the eastern riverbanks
It was a cloudy day but it was about the only cloudy day we had all week. The next morning we went to Valençay to see the street market and the château there. That afternoon, we had a good time climbing around in the medieval fortress at Loches. And finally, we went on our area's grand châteaux tour, which includes Chenonceau, Amboise, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Blois, and Chambord.