The Indre Valley following the current
A few kilometres south of Tours stretches the Indre Valley, peaceful and green, the paradise for hikers, lovers of the bicycle and fishermen. The best way to discover this charming little greenery area is without any doubt, to follow the Indre by bicycle: This bicycle tour which will take you from Loches to Azay-Le-Rideau (for the most courageous from Châteauroux to Azay-le-Rideau) snakes along the river crossing rich and varied landscapes.
In particular you will find some magnificent villas 1900 which provide a little air of resorts to the places and some charming mansions, old properties of rich traders. Other highlights of the Indre Valley, the wash houses and the water mills, vestiges of an industrialization that nowadays has disappeared. One can be found almost every kilometre, the oldest dating to the 19th century. And if you take the 16-bike tour, have a « chlorophyll » break at the arboretum of the Martinière in Veigné.
The Indre Valley following the time
The Balzac Museum in Saché: Revisit the Honoré works
The most famous mills are most probably the mills of Balzac. Located in Pont-de-Ruan and Artannes, they are named by the author in his work the Lily in the Valley. The author stayed several times with friends in the Castle of Saché where today a whole museum is entirely dedicated to him.
Fortress of Montbazon: The Middle Age at reach of …. sword
If Honoré de Balzac is omnipresent when we talk about the Indre Valley, you will certainly hear about this other character who marked alone a whole part of the history of Touraine.
Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou, insatiable conqueror and famous builder, in particular for the Fortress of Montbazon (996), major place of the Indre Valley that will lead you to the Middle-Age during animated, entertaining and unusual visits.
Distinctive feature in Montbazon: it contains the oldest castle of Touraine, the fortress and the most recent, the castle of Artigny, built in 1923 by the famous perfumer François Coty.
The Domaine of Candé, the life of luxury between modernism and history
Not far away from here, another place, another time: the Domaine of Candé in Monts. Nestled in a huge park, the neogothic castle welcomed the Duke of Windsor and his future wife, the American Wallis Simpson for their wedding in 1937. In particular we can visit the art-deco style apartments of its famous guests and get a breath of fresh air under the century-old trees in the park.
The Wicker Basketry cultural place tells you about the small twig making the link
Going to Azay-le-Rideau, leave the Indre by bike for a while to reach the beautiful village of Villaines-les-Rochers, the top of the French basketry. You will meet world-famous craftsmen, last heirs of a unique know-how who will introduce you to the ancestral manners of the wicker work.
Continuing the Indre by bike to the west on the road of the troglodytes (in passing, don’t miss the visit of the Troglodytic Valley of the Goupillères), you will soon reach the town of Azay-Le-Rideau.
First main step of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, the town whose evolution is strictly linked to the history of the castle owing the same name, genuine icon of the Renaissance architecture shows multi-faceted items that are all more attractive than each other : a city centre with undeniable charms where decoration shops and fine grocery are ideally located with food shops and restaurants in a place marked by history. The river, essential element, also offers many possibilities to entertain yourselves.
And Castle side
You may not know but Azay-le-Rideau has two castles : the first one, the Castle of Azay-Le-Rideau, national monument newly restored and redecorated, magnified by a titanic jobsite for more than two years, offers new prospects of visit since July 2017 and its « little brother » located on the road of Langeais, the Château of Islette, theatre of the loves between the sculptor Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, small jewel of the renaissance surrounded by a huge English-style park.
Information to the curious and lovers of old mechanics, when you leave the town to reach Bréhémont, you will find on your way, the Maurice Dufresne museum, amazing place which houses an extraordinary collection of more than 3,000 vehicles.
The boatmen of the Loire Valley tell the story of the Loire Navy
In the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional natural Park, then you will reach a wilder environment, bordered by the Indre and the Loire in the north. Before reaching the small river port of Bréhémont, you can have a gourmet break to discover the delicate and delicious dried pear recipe of Rivarennes. Once in Bréhémont, we propose you to embark onto one of the traditional boats refurbished by some lovers who are very keen to revive the Loire Navy and perhaps you may have the opportunity to meet one of the last fishermen of the Loire Valley?
The Castle of Ussé, for all who still believe in fairy tales
Not far away from here, this is another story that we propose you to discover: that of the Sleeping Beauty in the Castle of Ussé. Built overhanging the Indre, the castle that inspired Charles Perrault for his tale has a fairy tale appearance which will seduce the imagination of young and old.