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What the area offers

La France Profonde

As yet, this part of France is largely untouched by mass tourism, unlike some of the other regions of France. This doesn’t mean to say that it doesn’t have much to offer, on the contrary, there is plenty to do, no matter what your interests. Alternatively, you can simply relax and enjoy the countryside from the comfort of your own garden.

Our gîtes are situated in what is known as the Boischaut - in the southern part of the department of Cher, which straddles the Berry, north to south. An area of beautiful scenery, quiet roads, abundance of wildlife and delicious local cooking. We border the Auvergne and Bourbonnais and both the Brenne and Sologne regional parks are within a comfortable drive.

The Berry is the traditional heart of France, as well as its geographic centre. Bourges, the capital of Cher, has played a major role in France’s cultural and religious life. Every year the lanes in the area play host to the many pilgrims forging their route to Santiago de Compostella in Spain.

In the local area, there are châteaux at Culan, Ainay-le-Vieil (near the Fôret de Tronçais, a former royal hunting ground), and Lignières, to name just a few, all with their own special charms. The historic Abbaye de Noirlac hosts concerts and antiques fairs throughout the year, whilst the Roman remains at Drevant near St Amand-Montrond and at Argentomagus near Argenton-sur-Creuse help to put the local history into perspective. Amongst others in the area, there are notable abbey gardens at Orsan (featured in the BBC series Monty Don's French Gardens), as well as the marais gardens in Bourges.

Bourges itself is well worth visiting for its riches of history, as well as its traditional 'son et lumière' display in the old town on summer evenings It also hosts the annual 'Printemps de Bourges', a music festival staged at various locations throughout the city in April. The annual antiques fair at Touchay (fourth weekend in July), or the Foire aux Ânes et aux Mules (Whit Monday) or the Pôle du Cheval et de l'Ane (races and equestrian events throughout the year), both in Lignières, provide an alternative touch to your visit.

Not forgetting this region’s literary heritage, George Sand, one of France’s most famous writers lived in the area around La Châtre; her artistic circle included Fréderic Chopin and Gustav Flaubert, and this connection is realised by just some of the numerous festivals and fêtes in the area. Alain-Fournier, born in Chapelle d'Anguillon, also used local places as settings in his book 'Le grand Meaulnes', as did Honoré de Balzac with Issoudun.

The Berry also offers a more traditional feast for the taste buds too with markets and restaurants serving up delicious and very reasonably-priced meals (for example, it is not uncommon to be served a good three-course lunch for around €13). It also has its very own wine region around Chateaumeillant.

For those who need activity after too much indulgence, then the Lac de Sidiailles provides a variety of water sports, with fishing and walking always an option in the area. There is a Formula 3 race-track at La Châtre and karting at St Amand-Montrond or Levet for those who would like to try their hand behind the wheel, plus microlighting at St Christoph le Chaudry for those who prefer a little more excitement and a buzzard's-eye view. For an alternative day's entertainment in August, the annual 'Fête de la batteuse' samples a day in the agricultural life, re-enacting a typical summer's day of old with working vintage agricultural machinery including threshers and ploughs.

Further afield, but still easily within a day’s outing, are the more famous châteaux of the Loire (Chambord, Chenonceau, Villandry); the wine regions of Sancerre and Burgundy; car and bike racing at Magny Cours ; Futuroscope at Poitiers, volcanos and spas in the Auvergne and skiing at Mont Dore (Clermont-Ferrand) - a day’s trip by train to Paris is also eminently possible.

If all this sounds like too much activity, why not pass the time fishing for carp in the local fishing lakes or bird-watching from - anywhere! We regularly see buzzards, owls, jays, woodpeckers, hawks, kestrels, herons, hoopoe, as well as the magnificent cranes twice a year on their migrations.

What more could be asked for?

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