By the waterside

  • A gothic bridge spans the Loir to get to this village that lies nestled at the foot of a fortified castle that withstood an attack by Richard the Lion Heart but was taken by Henri IV’s troops. Today, visitors can admire what is left of the walls and towers and the 26-metre-high keep. There is a mix of architectural styles and periods in the village, from cave dwellings to gothic and Renaissance houses.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Genest
    • By the waterside : River Loir
    • Castles and ramparts : Fortified castle
    • Wine : Coteaux du Vendômois wines

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  • The village gets its name from the Benedictine abbey established here in the Middle Ages and which turned the Senouire valley into “la vallée de Dieu” (valley of God). The abbey is one of the jewels of Auvergne’s religious heritage what with its Romanesque cloister and the Byzantine-inspired mural adorning its refectory. The village is just like it with its creamy-stone, round-tiled winegrowers’ houses

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The Benedictine abbey
    • By the waterside : The River Senouire

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    • Bec-Hellouin (Le) artisanat monastique

    Situated between Rouen and Lisieux, in a verdant setting made up of fields criss-crossed by hedges and apple trees, Le Bec-Hellouin is a typical Normandy village with timber-frame houses and flower-decked balconies. It gets its name from the stream that runs alongside it and from the founder of its famous abbey, which along with the Benedictine monastery bears witness to the great religious activity alive in the site.

    Themes

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  • Limeuil is situated where the Rivers Dordogne and Vézère meet. It lived through the horrors of Viking invasions and the Hundred Years’ War but today only three fortified gates are left to bear witness to those times. A bustling river port of old, the medieval village with its stone-built, dark-tiled houses so typical of Périgord Noir is now a charming, refreshing place in which to stop.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Sainte Catherine
    • By the waterside : Rivers Dordogne and Vézère
    • Panoramas : View of the Dordogne and Vézère valleys
    • Wine : Pays du Périgord wines

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  • 45 kilometres south of Besançon, Lods, with the River Loue cascading through it, is a village where smithies and vineyards long governed the pace of inhabitants’ lives. The village has kept the winegrowers’ houses of days gone by and has set up a Musée de la Vigne et du Vin (wine and vineyard museum) along with an ethnological museum relating the history of its former blacksmiths and winegrowers.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Loue

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  • The high set houses of Montbrun-les-Bains overlook a plain swathed in lavender and protect the ruins of a medieval castle. The narrow streets lead from one fountain to the next down to the bottom of the village where, for the past twenty years, the pump rooms have given a new lease of life to an ancient spring that has beneficial effects.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The sulphur springs
    • Castles and ramparts : Ruins of the Renaissance castle
    • Panoramas : View of the plain and Mont Ventoux

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  • At about 70 kms from Nîmes, Montclus set up in a meander of Cèze river. The dungeon of the medieval castle still overlooks the village which has kept a part of the former Benedictine monastery built in the rock by the Templars. Surrounded by vineyards and fields of lavender, Montclus is nicely restored and offers to the visitors the charm of its small alleys with its white-stone houses, its covered ways, its stairs and its luxuriant vegetation.

    By themes

    • By the waterside : the river Cèze
    • Castles and ramparts : the dungeon
    • Unusual sights : remains of the monastery built in the rock

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    • Montrésor vue rivière

    50 kilometres southeast of Tours, Montrésor stands on the banks of the Indrois which reflects the remains of the double enclosure walls of this old fortress and its Renaissance castle. In the village, the houses with their white tufa walls or half-timbering mix with semi-cave dwellings.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Indrois
    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Jean Baptiste (15C)
    • Castles and ramparts : The remains of the double enclosure wall (11C), the Renaissance castle

     

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  • Montsoreau lies between Anjou and Touraine and has the River Loire as prestigious setting. The 15C castle made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ novel "La Dame de Montsoreau" is reflected in the waters of this legendary river. All around, flower-decked streets with slate-roofed, white tufa houses and green pathways lead to the Saumur vineyards.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Loire
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle (15C)
    • Unusual sights : The mushroom farm, cave dwellings
    • Wine : AOC Saumur wines, Saumur-Champigny, Crémant de Loire

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    • Mornac-sur-Seudre chenal

    Mornac-sur-Seudre is an old fishing and commercial port which today focuses more on oyster farming and the salt produced by its marshes. As you wander through the village, which is a classic example of Charente coastal villages, you will discover its white painted houses with their green or blue shutters that are often hidden by hollyhocks.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : Atlantic Ocean
    • Gastronomy : Oysters and salt
    • Unusual sights : Les Mouettes miniature train (to discover Charente-Maritime)

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