23 June 2011

Montrichard, Chenonceaux, et Loches

We woke up to rain yesterday morning. We were a house-full: our friends from California were all sleeping downstairs. Ginny said it was nice to listen to the rain fall as she was waking up.

Partly because of the rain, we spent the morning in the house. We had cups of tea or coffee and ate good bread from a bakery in Saint-Aignan along with butter from Brittany and home-made plum jam. Some had cheese: an Italian peccorino (ewe's milk cheese), a local goat cheese (from Selles-sur-Cher), and others.

The château at Montpoupon, near Saint-Aignan,
Montrichard, and Loches in the Loire Valley

Then we decided to go to a crêperie for lunch. The one in Saint-Aignan is closed on Wednesdays, so we headed toward Montrichard. It's on the way to Chenonceaux, which was our first sightseeing destination of the day. In Montrichard, the clouds broke and we had blue skies and sun.

The ancient Royal Résidence — le logis royal
in the old town at Loches

After lunch, we did the river walk along the Cher up to the Château de Chenonceau. It was a little muddy because of the morning rain. Strangely enough, I didn't take a single picture of the château. There was scaffolding covering part of it.

Views out over the town of Loches from
up in the old medieval quarter

We drove on toward Loches, passing the Château de Montpoupon along the way and stopping to take a photo or two. When we arrived in Loches, we had to park some distance from the gate to the old city because of road works. We trudged up the hill under bright sun.

The crowd (minus yours truly) enjoying the views
over the rooftops of Loches

There were people but no crowds. After looking around in the old church where Agnès Sorel's tomb with a recumbent statue sits as a kind of shrine — Agnès was the first woman to be officially recognized as a French king's mistress, back in the 1400s — we bought tickets and went to see the castle and the fortress.

The towers of the old abbey at Beaulieu-lès-Loches

We walked through the Royal Residence up on the hill, and then enjoyed the nearly aerial views of the town of Loches below, from the ramparts of the medieval town. We walked to the other end of the old town and climbed all the stairs of the old towers of the fortress to get more views from up high. The wind blew hard, but the sky stayed just partly cloudy with many moments of sunshine.

View out a window in the Logis Royal at Loches

After we got back to Saint-Aignan, Ginny, Molly and I took Callie the Collie for a walk in the vineyard. And Bertie the Black Cat came with us. He followed us along the edge of the vineyard. At different points, Callie chased him a little, but she finally just lost interest and continued her walk without paying too much attention to him. That's real progress in dog-and-cat relations. Bertie seemed to enjoy following us around.

The unusual architecture of the church
in the medieval city of Loches

We also found that the afternoon's winds had broken a huge branch out of the biggest and oldest apple tree in our yard. That will mean more firewood for the winter and fewer apples in the fall, which makes the loss of the limb less distressing. That old tree is not going to live forever.


  1. Ken, Thank you for posting these photos. They bring back so many happy memories ... Martine

  2. Your breakfast choices sound delicious! I very rarely eat bread at breakfast-time at home here in the UK, opting for home-made fruit smoothies generally, but when I'm in France a tartine or two with jam (and yes, you can't beat home-made!) accompanied by good coffee really hits the spot.

    Bon appetit a tous!

  3. Great photos of Loches. We tend to visit just for the market and shops these days so it's good to be reminded that we should not forget the great sights and stories that are there.

  4. I just finished my breakfast croissant (not bad at all for being from a U.S. supermarket!) and coffee, while reading this morning's post. What great photos! All are from different perspectives than we ever normally see of these spots. That shot of Montpoupon is great -- it's a place I'd never heard of before previous posts by you (or Walt).

    I just ran across a comment by you, Ken, on Slowtravel Talk, from back in April. I was googling Ina Caro's entries on Loches and Montrichard (from her book, The Road From the Past: Traveling Through History in France, and also found it mentioned on the SlowTravel Talk forum :) I see, as well, that Ina Caro has a new book out on Paris (Paris to the Past: Traveling Through French History by Train , just published... I'm going to try to get it today :)

    Happy June day and happy visit with your friends (who are certainly getting the royal treatment in many ways!)


  5. The surroundings of the logis Royal look less crowded than a month ago. Mind you there were a lot of school kids inside the medieval city.

    btw: for futur visitors- if you buy your tickets from the office du Tourisme, you save yourself 2 euros ( that's what we were told by the office director)

  6. Our cat likes to go on walks with us too, even if the granddog is along. Cats are interesting animals.

    Love the photos of familiar places that I never tire of seeing...

    I will try to find Caro's new book. Thanks, Judy!

  7. Evelyn, I believe that Amazon listed it as IN STOCK, but Borders and Barnes & Noble listed June 27 as the availability date for the book (everyone has the digital download available, though).


    p.s. Ken, I forgot to mention that I was also very excited to hear that Bertie and Callie both accompanied you on your walk!

  8. Hello! I came across your blog whilst googling Montrichard! We arrived in the Loire today, it's lovely. Any favourite places you'd recommend? We have only 4 days here! Especially dinners - the farmhouse we are staying in doesn't have a very workable stove!

  9. What a very small world! I am visiting from Iceland near Loches. I have been reading your blog for a while to get inspired by it for our vacation. Then we visit the same places on the same dates, the Zoo yesterday and the old city of Loches the day before.
    Thank you for a wonderful blog :)


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