Parçay-les-Pins is a small friendly Village with a beautiful church, family run general store and boulangerie. There is also a cafe bar beside which is the museum, dedicated to the work of the famous sculptor, Jules Desbois.

Sitting amongst fields on the edge of a beautiful ancient forest, the cottage offers an ideal base for those wishing to completely relax, surrounded by the peace and quiet of this beautiful part of France. While there are lovely walks through the forest for many miles, the national and regional cycle route runs alongside, meaning you can explore beautiful countryside in a variety of ways.

Nearby is the lovely Lac de Rille, with its tranquil atmosphere, historic steam train, fishing and wildlife reserve (including observation posts for the wide variety of birds), and within 12km is the nearby wine region of Bourgueil, which can be reached either by car or on bike, taking in the breathtaking scenery as you go.

As well as the nearby attractions, we are within 30 minutes of the Loire, providing the opportunity to explore the famous chateaux and towns. You will never grow tired of enjoying the splendour and history of these castles, as well as the variety offered by their gardens.

The larger towns of Angers and Tours are within an hour, offering a large choice of shops and restaurants and markets, as well as their own interesting history.

Lac de Rille

The Lac de Rillé was created in 1976/77 by constructing an earth dam on the River Lathan at Gué Morin near Breil in Maine et Loire. The lake stretches from Rillé in Indre et Loire to Breil and is bisected by a ‘digue’ forming two ‘separate’ lakes. The top part is known as the Lac de PIncemaille (literally ‘pinched waist’) and has a leisure beach, camping site and holiday cabins at what is known as ‘Huttopia’; the lower part is preserved as a nature reserve (classified as one of Europe’s key sites for wild life in the ‘Natura 2000’ series) and a special site for birds by the LPO, (‘Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux). The main part of the lake is also a great attraction for fishermen and is well stocked with carp, ‘silure’ (huge catfish) and various other coarse fish. There are numerous species of birds, from herons to rare migratory birds, and ospreys have visited the lake in some summers. The main purpose of the lake is for irrigation and when the lake is full at the end of winter, the River Lathan feeds irrigation schemes in the Loire Valley for horticulture and agriculture.

 Fishing

The Lake is also a well known spot for fishing, including night fishing. It offers real sport with carp up to 20kg, the renowned ‘silure’ or European catfish which can be enormous, as well as pike, zander, black bass, roach, perch, and tench. You can get more information from the local Federation de Peche and licences and permits can be obtained at the Gamme Vert in nearby Noyant.

Lac de Rille, A beautiful nature spot

Bourgueil

The pretty village of Bourgueil, in the Loire Valley France, is today probably best known for its quality (red) wines and this is what draws the tourists here and to the nearby village of St Nicolas de Bourgueil.

The French also celebrate it as the birth place of actor and writer Jean Carmet (1920 – 1994) who appeared in over 200 films. It is his former family home that has been converted to the town’s ‘Maison des Vins’ which has over 80 vintages of the areas fine wines for sale. Every year on the third Saturday of march 40 wine producers from the area exhibit at a wine fair on ‘Boulevard Heurteloup’ in Tours.

Another tourist attraction is the ancient Abbey de Bourgueil. Within the former Benedictine abbey which dates back to the Xth century you can visit some of the cloisters, refectory and the interesting ornamental staircase. The old monks’ cells now house a museum of arts and local traditions.

Visits from 2.00pm to 6.00pm from April 1st to October 31st.

The village has a pleasant feel to it and when its white ‘tufa’ buildings reflect the summer sun it gives it a nice ‘glow’. It has an active community with good facilities for leisure including a cinema, tennis courts and even an ice rink. There is also a leisure park ’Parc Capitaine’ with a swimming lake with resident lifeguard during July and August.

With its bakeries, restaurants, cafes and weekly market you will have plenty of opportunities to sample the delights of the ‘garden of France’ that is the Loire Valley.

It has a delightful market hall that hosts the weekly Saturday market, with the street market being held on Tuesdays. The village is also very close to a reasonably sized Hyper-U supermarket.

Its location between Tours and Saumur and a few kilometres north of Chinon make it a great location for visiting many of the other Loire Valley attractions, plus it has a few other villages nearby that are typical of this part of rural France. They won’t all have a giant wine bottle in front of their churches like nearby St. Nicolas de Bourgueil but that can only be a good thing.

Bourgueil, A local market town

Saumur

Prior to the French Revolution Saumur was the capital of the Sénéchaussée de Saumur, a bailiwick, that existed until 1793. Saumur was then the location of the Battle of Saumur during the Revolt in the Vendée. During the Battle of France, in World War II, Saumur was the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940) where the town and south bank of the Loire was defended by the teenage cadets of the cavalry school.

In 1944 it was the target of several Tallboy and Azon bombing raids by Allied planes. The first raid, on 8/9 June 1944, was against a railway tunnel near Saumur, seeing the first use of the 12,000 lb Tallboy “earthquake” bombs. The hastily organized night raid was to stop a planned German Panzer Division, travelling to engage the newly landed allied forces in Normandy. The panzers were expected to use the tunnel. No. 83 Squadron RAF illuminated the area with flares by four Avro Lancaster’s and marked the target at low level by three de Havilland Mosquitos. 25 Lancaster’s of No. 617 Squadron RAF then dropped their Tallboys with great accuracy. They hit the bridge, blocked the railway cutting and one pierced the roof of the tunnel, bringing down a huge quantity of rock and soil which blocked the tunnel, badly delaying the German reinforcements.

On 22 June of the same year, nine Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the United States Army Air Forces used Azon 1,000 lb glide bombs against the Saumur Bridge; escorted by 43 North American P-51 Mustangs. During the morning of 24 June, 74 American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses were again dispatched to the bridge; 38 hit the primary and 36 hit Tours/La Riche Airfield without loss; escort was provided by 121 of 135 P-51s. The town of Saumur was awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm for its resistance and display of French patriotism during the war.

Dream with your eyes wide open!

Saumur has a soft tuffeau heart, a myriad of châteaux, manors, sixty listed churches, the largest monastery in Europe, but also dozens of megaliths. Nature, landscapes and a gentle climate have inspired humans here for many millenniums! An untamed river that likes to give it a whirl! It’s like a giant mirror that reflects beauty for nearly 30 km. The Loire glides past religious jewels, ports, tuffeau cliff sides and a multitude of protected bird islands. The term masterpiece is none too strong for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Eating out in the Saumur area, a paradise for gourmets.

Vines as far as the eye can see, troglodytic cellars and vineyards all grace the Saumur hillsides along the delectable ‘wine route’. A path, trailing through the fields and under the earth, leading to the discovery of the famous Loire Valley vintages. You can’t get too much of these highly prestigious cellars!
It’s not just wine that matures in the cellars. Mushrooms are cultivated also into. In the warm intimacy of the cellars, you can have a Rabelaisian feast: succulent fouées (hot-breads), or galipettes (large mushrooms), stuffed and cooked in the oven.

Magic depths life underground.

Men first dug the Saumur rock to extract tuffeau, the delicate stone to which we owe most of the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Gradually, these cellars and quarries were transformed into houses. There are nearly 1,000 km of underground galleries in the region. Some of the troglodytic hillsides overlook the Loire; others, troglodytic dwellings of the plains. These unusual places have also inspired tourism professionals: restaurants, guest houses and B&B which offer the public originality and charm.

Land of Knights

In Saumur, the capital of equitation, the signs are everywhere. The Cadre Noir, heir to the French equestrian tradition, has been part of the Riding School since the 17th century. The Equestrian Museum, Cavalry Museum, Armoured Vehicle Museum, carriage rides, saddlers and boot makers, all reflect the strong influence of this activity. Saddle-up!

Saumur, Our larger neighbouring town

Local Markets

Nothing beats a trip to the market for discovering all the excellent Loire Valley produce. Come and marvel at the variety of different stalls selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, flowers and Loire Valley wines. It’s here that everything happens, in direct contact with the producers!

Markets on the banks of the Loire in Basse-Indre, Orléans and Amboise

These Loire Valley markets are certainly worth a visit for their produce, but not only that! To get to the Basse-Indre market, for example, you can take the ferry from south bank of the Loire, and as the boat crosses the river you will gradually catch sight of the market with its 150 stands. 5,000 or so people come here every Sunday morning, which gives you an idea of its reputation!

In Orléans the Saturday morning market takes place on Le quai du Roi, also on the banks of the Loire. 130 traders come here to sell their local produce and on Friday evenings (until 9.30pm) you can visit the market in the town centre, at Place du Martroi, with its flower-covered terraces of cafés on sunny days.

Lastly, still on the quays of the Loire, don’t miss the Amboise market on Sunday mornings, which is one of the biggest in Touraine.

Tours, Loches, Angers, Nantes: quality markets

A city of gastronomy, Tours boasts no less than twenty markets. Le marché du carreau des Halles on Saturday mornings, right next to the Halles Centrales, is one of the oldest in the city. It has existed since 1833! You’ll be able to find excellent local farm produce here. Also in Tours, but on Sunday mornings, is the pleasant marché Rabelais, which will inevitably remind you of the insatiable appetite of Pantagruel…

Not far from there, go to Loches on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, where an adorable market is held in the lower part of this little medieval city. The high-quality produce proudly represents the gastronomy of the area: Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine goats cheese, Géline de Touraine…Only the good stuff!

In Angers, there are a large number of markets you won’t want to miss out on. Firstly, on Saturday mornings there is the big market at Place Leclerc, and lovers of flowers or antiques will want to go to Boulevard Bessoneau (a flower market) and Place Imbach (a flea market) on the same day. Near the station there is also the famous Marché Lafayette on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 8am to 1.30pm.

While in Nantes, stock up on great produce at Le marché de Talensac, both inside and outside (every morning except on Mondays).

Other markets:

in Blois, in the town centre (Place Louis XII) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings;
in Saumur, Place Saint-Pierre, Place de la Bilange and Place de la République, on Saturday mornings;
The big market in Saint-Brévin, on Sunday mornings;
The market in Pellerin, on Saturday mornings;

Local Markets, great for fresh local produce