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

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Next stop: Candes Saint Martin - 1

Visiting Candes Saint Martin, on the confluent of the Loire and the Vienne, is like returning to my roots. Don’t ask me why, because before ‘finding’ Candes almost by accident on our first or second Loire Valley tour, I had never even heard of the village. I know I have written about it many times before and that I’ve posted scores of photos of the place. But I just can’t help it; it’s a magic place that really has gotten under my skin. I’m not sure that it had the same effect on my friends Bea and jean-Luc when I took them there in 2010. But it certainly did something to Mats and Vera. After showing them the-to- me-most-beautiful-spot in the Loire Valley – the village seen from the bridge over the Vienne 

... I guided them along a narrow alley to the banks of the river to enjoy the peace and quiet of the water’s edge and the view of the two rivers merging. A French writer called it the spot where ‘a King (the Loire) receives a Queen (the Vienne) in his bed’. Vera was much impressed and moved by this and we sat for a long time on the one and only bench overlooking the confluent. Soon we were joined by other tourists taking in the view. The stream seemed to have the same effect on them, because, although people were talking freely, pointing out elements of interest to each other, nobody raised his or her voice. In fact, I had the impression that they were almost whispering.
On two or three occasions they looked at us, secretly hoping that we would leave soon, so that could take over the bench! We were in no hurry though and lingered a little longer. This was the first time that I noticed a difference in colour between the Loire and the Vienne. Maybe it was the speed at which the water was travelling, but you could clearly see where the two currents touched and mingled.

But, but however peaceful the river looks, one shouldn’t underestimate its power. Carved into the white limestone walls of the houses along the river bank, you’ll find several carvings, indicating the level of the water when, due to a swell of the river, the water invaded the charming village. We saw some carvings from the 19th century and this one, dating from March 3rd, 1923. The line you see under the date was at a height of 80 cm or even more.

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The Broad said...

There are certain special places in the world that seem to belong to God alone. This sounds like one of them.

Susan said...

Some of those flood markers are frighteningly high, aren't they.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a beautiful peaceful spot. Diane

Carolyn said...

At Candes you get two for the price of one, because next to the Plus Beau Village of Candes is the PBV of Montsoreau. I'd be happy to visit either place again.

ladybird said...

Kathie, I couldn't have said it any better.

Susan, They are. The floods must have caused a lot of damage in this lovely village in the past. I wonder whether they could still occur nowadays.

Diane, It is and certainly deserves the title of Plus Beau Village de France.

Carolyn, I've never actually visited the centre of the nearby village of Montsoreau. But the castle and the view over the River from the top of the tower are breath taking.