Immerse yourself in history
Our Terres du Val de Loire are perfect for amateurs of history and old stone buildings, as there are so many treasures in our area. Through the centuries, many illustrious figures have marked the history of our territory, through their commitment, conviction, passion or talent. Follow in the footsteps of these people and discover our exceptional heritage. Welcome to our Terres!
Marvel, learn and get away from it all
You cannot stay in our Terres du Val de Loire without stopping at Cléry-Saint-André which is, without hesitation, a must-see monument when discovering our heritage. Whatever road you take, you will see the massive silhouette of the Notre-Dame Basilica in the distance. Cléry-Saint-André owes this large building to the discovery of a statue of the Virgin Mary in 1280 and due to the favours of the kings of France, and in particular Louis XI who chose it as his final resting place. Feel free to step through the doors of this masterpiece of the flamboyant Gothic style to discover its treasures and history. The Tourist Information Office offers guided tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from May to September (by reservation).
For many centuries, Cléry-Saint-André has been a major place of pilgrimage on the Santiago de Compostela route. Stroll through the streets which have kept some old inns that used to welcome the many pilgrims, and take the time to observe the architectural details of their façades.
Not far from Cléry-Saint-André, the village of Mézières-lez-Cléry also houses a true treasure! By car or on foot (on the Cléry to the Butte des Élus circuit), follow the Ardoux river up to the Butte des Élus. A place which will astonish you for sure! Built by the hand of men, it is believed its origins date back to the Iron Age. This tumulus is dominated by a statue of the Virgin Mary which is said to have been put up in gratitude for the village’s protection during the 1870 war. Amazing, isn’t it?
Time is ticking, what if you stopped for lunch before continuing towards more discoveries? We suggest you return towards Cléry-Saint-André to taste the innovative and refined cuisine of La Villa des Bordes, set in a magnificent mansion.
This is the opportunity to tell you a bit about “Cléry Raconte” in Dry, a show that may interest you. Every summer, this Sound & Light show mobilises some 200 volunteers to bring great moments of French history back to life. This is one of the great shows offered by the region, and is a must-see (it is advised to book in advance).
Next, head for Meung-sur-Loire, located on the other bank of the Loire river. Visiting the medieval town promises a true journey back in time. How pleasant it is to wander through the old streets with their half-timbered and stone houses. Follow in the footsteps of the poets and artists of Meng-sur-Loire. Listen up, François Villon is murmuring a few verses to you from his prison in the Château whereas Jehan de Meung will tell you the “Roman de la Rose.”
Let your steps guide you to Place du Martroi to discover two emblematic monuments of the town. The Saint-Liphard Collegiate Church, which has stood here for close to a thousand years, and the Château de Meung-sur-Loire, one of the largest and oldest Châteaux in the Loiret department. Built in the 12th century, it was once the prestigious residence of the Bishops of Orleans until the French Revolution.
The Château has welcomed great historic figures such as the famous Joan of Arc, who delivered it from the English after her victory in Orleans. Many kings of France stopped there such as Louis XI and François Ier. The Château de Meung-sur-Loire, which hosts many events throughout the year, is a must-visit monument during your stay in our Terres du Val de Loire. Step through the main gate and discover the “two-faced château” as it is nicknamed.
After this journey back in time, why no go to the banks of the Loire? The evening light is so beautiful there! You can never grow tired of the stunning and moving sights offered by the royal river. If you go to the Port du Bout du Monde, depending on the level of the Loire, you will see the vestiges of a bridge which Joan of Arc crossed on 15 June 1429 to cut off the English’s route. Opposite this old bridge, stands the Relais Louis XI, a vast building laden with history and now transformed into a hotel and restaurant. Whether you sit out on the terrace or in one of the vaulted rooms dating back to the 18th century, enjoy this exceptional setting while you dine.
You can also go to La Capitainerie, right next door, to sip a drink and eat a good meal with a view on the Loire. A “guinguette” style café not to be missed in the summer season! If you fancy a more creative and generous cuisine, head back to the Place du Martroi to sit at a table in À La Maison (book in advance).
On the same Place, you can also taste the bistrot-style cuisine prepared by the Café du Commerce and thus enjoy its terrace with a view on the Collegiate and Château. It is now time to put your suitcases down. We have selected several accommodations, some unusual and others more modern. As many addresses to inspire you!
A new day is dawning in the Terres du Val de Loire. What if you continued to visit Meung-sur-Loire? Don’t miss the Cultural Centre “La Monnaye”, the name of which is a reminder of the presence of a “liard” (copper coin) mint in this spot in the 17th century. This is a perfect opportunity to discover the life of Gaston Couté, a famous revolutionary chansonnier of the Butte Montmartre (Paris) who spent his whole childhood in Meung-sur-Loire. Along with rare and precious works of François Villon, Jehan de Meung and Alexandre Dumas, all three having written some of their works here. This will delight amateurs of historic literary works! When visiting the town, you must have noticed several small rivers running through it. These are the Mauves, which used to drive the waterwheels of the mills. There were some thirty mills which make Meung-sur-Loire a unique site in France! Don’t miss the “Balade des Mauves et des Moulins” trail to discover the Mauves and the mills.
It is often said that walking whets the appetite. What if you headed to Saint-Ay to sample the gastronomic and refined cuisine of La Grande Tour, located in an elegant house? A well-deserved gourmet break before continuing on to Huisseau-sur-Mauves, a village which will please all Middle Ages enthusiasts!
Discover with delight the Château de Huisseau (from the outside only), built in the 12th century, and around which several dwellings grouped to form the embryo of the current village. Don’t forget to take a look at the “Favéant” towers, the vestiges of the Château de Montpipeau, which was destroyed during the French Revolution on the orders of Robespierre. Now, step off the beaten paths and discover the small heritage of our villages.
In Baccon, a strange tower will inevitably draw you attention. It is the Chappe Tower, imagined at the end of the 18th century by Claude Chappe, the famous inventor of the aerial telegraph. This tower is a survivor! Over 500 were built in France, yet only a dozen remain today. If you continue you journey on to Coulmiers, you will be able to admire an impressive funerary monument commemorating the victorious battle of 9 November 1870, when the Loire Army triumphed over the Bavarian troupes.
Have you ever heard of the Beauce Oratorienne federation of municipalities? To the north of the Loire, lie unsuspected historic and archaeological riches. Make a detour and take a trip in time! This is the opportunity to discover the Chandry cross in Beauce la Romaine, a monolith of the late 15th century which marks the location of a very ancient cemetery. At the same time, make a stop in Verdes, a former Gallo-Roman town, to contemplate the “voie de Jules César” Roman road visible in the town centre.
After this second day of visits, it is now time to rest and relax. Weather permitting, you can pick-nick in the Parc de Verdes, located just in front of the Roman road. Taste the traditional cuisine of the restaurant Le Commerce (open at lunchtime and in the evening on weekends) before staying in one of our accommodations.
For this new day, head for Beaugency, a town which has always been part of the many treasures of the Val de Loire region. With the Loire river brushing along it, Beaugency has lived through the ages, overcoming trials and tribulations. From the Religious Wars, to the power struggles during the French Revolution, it has also had to overcome the regular floods of the Loire. Take the time to wander through the medieval town and follow in the footsteps of the many famous names who have walked through its streets before you. Observe the Caesar Tower, one of the last vestiges of the Romanesque military architecture. This 11th century dungeon used to command the defences of the citadel and the bridge over the Loire. A fire during the Religious Wars and the collapse of the internal vaults in 1840 have left only the skeleton of the dungeon. Don’t forget to also take a look at the Town hall and admire its elegant Renaissance façade.
If you are looking for a gourmet address to eat, we recommend you go to L’Idée, which offers a true culinary journey. For bistrot-style cuisine, go to Chez Henri II or the P’tit Bateau to taste a gastronomic and refined cuisine using local products.
We hope you enjoyed this journey back in time. There are still so many treasures and stories to discover! Here are a few more exceptional places to visit, in order to complete your experience. Any opportunity is good to visit the Terres du Val de Loire again and continue to marvel and get away from it all. See you soon!
To complete your experience:
Château de Chambord 41250 Chambord • An architectural masterpiece, this is the symbol of the Renaissance throughout the world.
Château de Talcy 41370 Talcy • A Renaissance château which a medieval look which has seen many poets.
In the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Orleans • Discover the must-see sites in the city linked to Joan of Arc.
Château Royal de Blois 41000 Blois • A royal residence, this the perfect introduction to visiting the châteaux in the Val de Loire.
Our favourite accommodations to immerse yourself in history:
Château de la Touanne in Baccon • Bonus: Stay in a 17th century château.
Grand Hôtel de l’Abbaye in Beaugency • Bonus: A unique hotel with a view on the Loire and breakfast using local products.
La Maison des Quatre-Vents in Beaugency • Bonus: Guest rooms in a beautiful 17th century private mansion, in the heart of the historic centre.
L’Ecu de Bretagne in Beaugency • Bonus: The elegant and recently renovated hotel rooms.
Le Clos Tilia in Cléry-Saint-André • Bonus: A warm atmosphere in a building full of charm.
Le Petit nid du Pipou in Cléry-Saint-André • Bonus: A recently renovated gîte between Cléry and Mareau-aux-Prés.
La Chapelle du Gué du Roi in Cléry-Saint-André • Bonus: Unusual setting in the chapel of an 18th century château.
Chambre Saintry in Epieds-en-Beauce • Bonus: Guest room in an pretty “longère” (traditional farmhouse).
The Relais Louis XI in Meung-sur-Loire • Bonus: The historic past of this relay, now turned into a hotel and restaurant.
Domaine de Saint Hilaire in Meung-sur-Loire • Bonus: A house full of character located alongside the Mauves.
Les Coursives de Loire in Meung-sur-Loire • Bonus: Unique location in the heart of the old town.
Hôtel Best Western La Porte des Châteaux in Meung-sur-Loire • Bonus: The rooms with their modern and warm décor.
L’Étape des Châteaux in Meung-sur-Loire • Bonus: Located in the heart of the old town.