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The nature of the Indre, Vienne and Loire valleys

Château d'Azay-le-Rideau HenneghienSerenity. That is the word that will come to mind as you discover the landscapes of the Indre Valley. Balzac sung the praises of the region in Le Lys dans la Vallée, and its mills, monuments and museums are a delight... 

The Château of Azay-le-Rideau symbolises the refinement of the Renaissance with its white walls reflecting in the waters of the Indre that embrace it. As you make your way through its prettily furnished rooms, you can retrace the evolution of the building through the centuries.

Near the village, in the hamlet of Les Goupillières, the troglodytic valley of the same name boasts a series of farms cut out of the rock and an underground refuge from the Middle Ages for you to explore.

Fort Saint-Georges Château de Chinon P. CornetA few miles further on, the small village of Villaines-les-Rochers has more than one trick in its... basket! It is the capital of wicker, which has been grown and worked here since 1849. As you walk through the streets of the troglodytic village, you can see the craftspeople at work, and there is an information trail to learn all about it in an enjoyable way.

Head for Chinon, next, and the Vienne Valley. Here in Rabelais country, there is the fortress of Chinon, where Joan or Arc came to seek the Dauphin, future King Charles VII, on the heights above the Vienne valley. The Maison de la Rivière provides an insight into the traditions of boating and fishing on the river, which for many years were important activities. There is more to Chinon than this, however, thanks to its renowned vineyards whose owners will be glad to open the doors of their wineries for delightful tasting sessions.

Fritillaire Pintade Hellio et Van Ingen
You are in the centre of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park. Over the seasons, a variety of guided nature trips are organised to let visitors into the secrets of the area's wildlife.
Come and discover the Snake's Head Fritillary which, as its name does not suggest, is a pretty bell-shaped spring flower.

Candes-Saint-Martin P. AucanteAmong the region's winged species, there are osprey and dragonflies, along with many others.

Candes-Saint-Martin is an old fishing village at the confluence of the Vienne and the Loire.
Listed among the Loveliest Villages in France, it is the starting point for some charming excursions. Embark on a traditional boat for a most enjoyable trip into the river's past.