the area offers
this part of France is largely untouched by mass tourism, unlike
some of the other regions of France. This doesnt mean to say
that it doesnt 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
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
regional parks are within a comfortable drive.
Berry is the traditional heart of France, as well as its
geographic centre. Bourges, the capital of Cher, has played a major
role in Frances 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.
local area, there are châteaux at Culan,
(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 two notable abbey gardens
in the area at Orsan
(featured in the
BBC series Monty Don's French Gardens) and
(the latter encompassing an unusual sculpture garden), and the marais
gardens in 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
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
du Cheval et de l'Ane (races and equestrian events throughout
the year), both in Lignières, provide an alternative touch
to your visit.
this regions literary heritage, George Sand, one of Frances
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.
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
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
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.
afield, but still easily within a days outing, are the more
famous châteaux of the Loire (Chambord, Chenonceau, Villandry);
the wine regions of Sancerre and Burgundy; car and bike racing at
; Futuroscope at Poitiers, volcanos and spas in the Auvergne and
skiing at Mont Dore (Clermont-Ferrand) - a days trip by train
to Paris is also eminently possible.
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
more could be asked for?
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