Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Picture postcard material

During our many trips to France we’ve seen some lovely and very often even spectacular places. But one of the most impressive views we saw last year, were the ruins of the castle of Angles-sur-Anglin, overlooking the Anglin river.


The ruins sit on top of a bluff, with beneath it a large watermill. A weeping willow tree adds a dramatic effect to the whole scene. We couldn’t resist shooting several photos from different 'angles'.

The village is also known for ‘Les Jours d'Angles’ (openwork or appliqué embroidery). I wanted to visit the little museum displaying the techniques and some of the intricate creations. Usually my friend is a good sport when it comes to visiting castles, gardens and other unusual places, such as little soap factories, mushroom caves and wineries. This time, however, he couldn’t bring himself to go and look at ‘decorated pieces of textile’ as he disrespectfully called the openwork embroidery. In spite of my insistence, he hustled me into the car and drove straight on to our next destination, the village of Chauvigny.


On a hill overlooking the new town of Chauvigny, five castles and a beautiful Roman church, la Collégiale St. Pierre, will keep sightseers happy for several hours. The castles were all built and/or upgraded between the 12th and the 15th century, while the oldest parts of the church date from the first quarter of the 11th century. We only saw them from a distance, as by the time we got to Chauvigny lunch hour was almost over. Ever since the French government voted a law introducing the 35 hours working week in 1998, restaurants and shops have drastically reduced opening hours to avoid that their staff works overtime. This means that they open up for lunch from 12 a.m. till 1.30 p.m., where as opening hours till as late as 3.30 p.m. or even 4 p.m. were no exception in the past.

We only just managed to get a table at 1.30 p.m. on the terrace of a fast food restaurant in the main town square. My friend had a slice of grilled ham, while I chose a hamburger. Both came with French fries and a small green salad. The meal was satisfactory, although my hamburger was slightly overcooked. By the time we had had our coffee it was time to move on.

Instead of taking the motorway for our return trip, we decided on the ‘Route Départementale’ and followed the Vienne River. That is how we came across this lovely castle with the funny name: ‘Le Château de Touffou’ (pronounced like ‘tout fou’, which means ‘totally crazy’). It didn’t look like a ‘folly’ to me, though. As it was early June, the château wasn’t open to the public yet. Nevertheless, I managed to shoot some great photos.

Château de Touffou near the village of Bonnes

Angles-sur-Anglin, Chauvigny and Le Château de Touffou are sheer picture postcard material and they definitely made up for our disappointing visit to La Roche-Posay earlier that day.



chm said...

When in Chauvigny did you have a chance to see the "Spectacle d'oiseaux en vol libre?" Very impressive. Here is a link:

On your way back to the Loire Valley, I hope you didn't miss the abbey church at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, so-called the French Sistine Chapel.

ladybird said...

chm, I have to disappoint you on both accounts ... sorry!

I had read about the eagles but we were too late for the afternoon show and unfortunately didn't have time to wait for the next one.

Thanks for telling me about the abbey church as I didn't know about it. I'll certainly put it on our next to-to-see list. Martine

Jean said...

You had a very busy day !!

I will put the Château de Touffou on my must-see list. It looks wonderful.

Even though we have been visiting the Loire region for years, there is still such a lot we haven't seen yet. Then there are the places we want to go and see for a second, third or fourth time. And even then there are the places that "disappear" - châteaux and other things that are open to the public for a year or two and then are closed. We've seen a few of those.

There's just so much to do and so little time !!

ladybird said...

Jean, My friends don't seem to understand what there is still to see after going to the same place for 11 years. If only they knew :) Martine