29 September 2012

Maisons de Montrésor

We started our brief tour of the region on Thursday with our friends from California by driving down to Montrésor, a village just a few minutes south of Saint-Aignan. Montrésor, where there's an impressive château and a Renaissance church, is officially one of the 157 plus beaux villages de France ("most beautiful villages in France").

A house at the foot of the château in Montrésor

A small river, the Indrois, runs past the château, with a walking trail from which you get good views. We started there and walked a big loop all around the village just taking in the sights. The pictures here are some of the houses I especially enjoyed seeing. You can click on the pictures to see them at a larger size.

Montrésor is about halfway between Saint-Aignan and Loches

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France is an association that was set up in the early 1980s to preserve villages and small towns that were being depopulated by growing exodus of young French people from the countryside to the cities. Instead of letting the picturesque villages fall into ruin and abandon, the new organization encouraged restoration and tourism while trying to help local people avoid turning their towns into "theme parks" and tourist traps.

I like the way the color of the lichens on the roof
matches the color of the paint on the door.

According to the Plus Beaux Villages web site, the association doesn't "recruit" villages but instead accepts applications for membership and inclusion on its list of  picturesque and historic places, which must be in rural settings and have fewer that 2,000 inhabitants. The goal is to create a grass roots movement and local involvment and commitment, rather than impose a "top-down" approach.

This one looks like the archetypal Touraine house to me.

From Montrésor, we went on to Montpoupon, Chenonceaux, and Amboise. The weather has been cooperating nicely.

8 comments:

  1. Great photos. But then they always are with you and Walt. Stone buildings are one of the things I like most about France. They are usually well proportioned and solid-looking. Houses built out of local stone always express their own time and place. The trim color varies from place to place, but that soft blue in the second photo is my favorite.

    We'll drive for miles to see a Plus Beau Village. Thanks for telling us the history of the program. Becoming a PBV has a ripple effect, producing cafes, shops, gites, and B&Bs nearby. And probably raising home prices.

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  2. Some lovely and different photos of the much photographed village. Good informative overview of the plus beaux villages scheme too.

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  3. We'll outdo Carolyn. We'll fly thousands of miles to see a Plus Beaux Villages. Well, not quite, since we first plan a trip and then see what PBV are in the area. We've set an informal goal of seeing them all, which won't ever happen (partly because they keep adding to the list), but it's fun to fantasize about. These pictures are great, and make me want to visit right now. I'm not sure if we've been to Montresor, but we'll definitely stop there on our trip next Spring.

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  4. Montresor is still looking great after all these years;-)
    Your photos are beautiful- we loved our visit there il y a quelques ans.

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  5. My sister gave me a book about Les plus beaux villages for my birthday this year :) I knew of the name, but didn't know this background at all--thanks :)

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  6. sounds like a great organization and so pretty

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