The elegant citadel of Loches towers above the Indre Valley. Visitors must pass through the Porte Royale to enter the royal city
. The grace of the Logis Royal bears testimony to Agnès Sorel, the favourite of King Charles VII, known as the Dame de Beauté and the first official mistress of a King of France.
Her ashes were authenticated in 2005, and lie in peace in St-Ours collegiate church
near the Castle.
Go on through the cobble streets to the keep built by Foulques Nerra in the 11th century, and used as a royal prison under King Louis XI. Cardinal La Balue and Ludovic Sforza were among those imprisoned in its terrible cells.
The most courageous visitors will climb the 36 metres to the top of the keep to enjoy an unrivalled view of Loches and the surrounding countryside.
Continue your route as far as Valençay and its white-stone, slate-roofed château
, formerly the property of Talleyrand.
Lovers of Empire style will particularly appreciate a visit of the reception rooms and apartments with their remarkable furnishings and decoration.
Valençay has not one, but two Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC).
In red, white and rosé, the wines of Valençay
(AOC) go perfectly with the Valençay pyramid, also an AOC.
The tip of this famous goat's cheese is said to have been cut off at the request of Talleyrand to avoid reminding Napoleon of his campaign in Egypt!
To enjoy the bucolic atmosphere of the novels of George Sand, you should head for Nohant
. In this house she loved so dearly, she wrote La Mare au diable, La Petite Fadette and François le Champi. The rooms hold memories of their prestigious guests, the emblematic figures of romanticism, such as Flaubert, Liszt, Chopin, Delacroix, Balzac, Turgeniev and Dumas, who stayed here at the invitation of the novelist. The Bonne Dame de Nohant felt a strong attachment for her house and her dear "Black Valley", and rests in peace in the small family cemetery a short distance away.
Nestled in the Creuse Valley, Gargilesse is now listed among the Loveliest Villages in France and was much appreciated by George Sand. The author had a charming little house here, the "Villa Algira
", where she liked to come and rest. Step through the door for an insight into the personality of this remarkable woman.