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

Monday, 10 May 2010

Waterside picnic

On previous occasions I’ve posted about picnic spots on the banks of the Loire River, its tributaries or near some village pond or lake.

Going through the many photos I’ve taken over the years, I’ve found one of yet another lovely picnic spot. It’s located across the Loire in Montsoreau and offers a splendid view of the castle. That is, if you are lucky enough to secure one of the two tables by the water front …

We’ve had our picnic lunch there on at least two or maybe even three occasions. But each time we arrived too late and other people had already parked their mobile home or car near the best tables. However, this never stopped us from having a nice meal there.

Our first visit goes back to 2005. In the morning we had been to the weekly market in Bourgueil. On the way back we inevitably stopped at Candes Saint-Martin before driving to Montsoreau, where we visited the castle. We had bought our picnic supplies at the market but still needed to get a bottle of wine. According to the notice board at the entrance of the castle, the visit included a wine tasting session.

We spent a pleasant and interesting hour exploring the castle before returning to the courtyard where tables and chairs had been set out to receive the thirsty visitors. We sat down and waited for a while. Nothing happened though. Ten minutes later, we were still the only ‘patrons’. Behind the closed door that let into the bar, nothing stirred. In the end we got up and walked over to the souvenir shop. It was well past noon and the girl at the reception desk was about to leave for lunch.

She was surprised to see us as she thought that all the morning visitors had left the premises. When we asked about the wine tasting, she looked slightly embarrassed. Apparently, the tasting was part of the ‘summer program’, starting on June 15th. This was early June, and the people that had been recruited to man the ‘bar’ would only take up their duties the following week. When we asked her if we could at least buy a bottle of wine at the shop to accompany our picnic lunch, she immediately proposed to get us a bottle from fridge. We accepted her offer and left the château with a nice chilled bottle of Sauvignon and detailed directions to the picnic area across the river.

2005: The picnic area in Montsoreau seen from the River.

Crossing the bridge at Montsoreau is a bit of an adventure as it is hardly large enough to accommodate two cars at the same time. When you find yourself on the bridge with a lorry coming in the opposite direction, you only have on option: to back up!

In case you’re interested in a riparian picnic yourself, here are the driving directions: when leaving the castle of Montsoreau, turn left and follow the road along the Loire River till you reach the roundabout near the Champignonnière ‘Le Saut aux Loups’. Turn right and cross the bridge. On the other bank, turn right again. Some 3OO metres down the road, on your right, you’ll see an asphalt road leading into the woods. At the end of it is a clearing and the picnic area with four or five tables, two of which offer a magnificent view over the river and the Château of Montsoreau. I’m sure you will enjoy it!



Leon and Sue Sims said...

Montsoreau, the bridge, the little cafe and the Chateau. Memories flood back. The gate keeper when told we were from Australia said his favourite Aussie movie was Crocodile Dundee. Obviously without any taste in the cinema.

Jean said...

The viewes from the top of the chateau at Montsoreau are wonderful.

The last time we visited, there was a video playing showing the same scene along the river gradually changing throughout a whole year with the different seasons. It was superb.

chm said...

Have a safe and pleasant sightseeing trip to the Loire Valley. Right now the weather is rather chilly there and not too promising. Hope it will clear up and warm up for you.

Also, I hope against hope it will be nice and warm Saturday went I get to Paris, volcano willing! You can dream, can't you?

ladybird said...

Leon and Jean, Montsoreau is a great place indeed and the views are spectacular. Btw, did you see the video about La Dame de Montsoreau that they were showing in one of the rooms of the château?

Chm, Thank you. I hope it'll be warmer by the time we get there. The main thing, however, is that it doesn't rain, because that would spoil all the fun.
Have a safe flight yourself and a lovely time in France. I'm sorry I won't be seeing you in Saint-Aignan this year.