The drive from Mosnac was lengthy so we stopped at just one church, the Romanesque St Pierre in Aulnay. Situated in a graveyard dating well back, it is in pretty good repair. I remarked the carving on the front of St Peter being crucified upside down, with the soldiers appearing to work very energetically. Inside, the church has typically robust columns and a vaulted nave. It is lovely to consider that Christian worship has continued here for centuries, despite wars of religion and politics.
Crucifixion of St Peter
Sometimes travel brings a few surprises, like this roundabout on our way. No, I have no idea what it signifies but it was big.
Hand and cars at roundabout
The town we chose this time was Loches, a citadel with two castles, a severe donjon and a prettier Renaissance chateau, the Logis Royal, all embedded in a walled area and situated on the Indre River. The town within the walls is beautiful, with pedestrian streets, numerous ornamented gates and up in the citadel area some pretty houses with gardens and gates that I long to live in. Sigh!!!
The Cordeillers gate and Logis Royal behind
Can I have this one please? A house inside the citadel walls.
Gate and square. The markets are held here and further throughout the town.
Our accommodation at the gite at the Logis du Bief was a little hard to find from the street, but was delightfully situated just below the citadel on the mill pond of the Indre, so our back terrace was right on the river and also opened onto the terrace of the associated B&B. Our hosts were the delightful Moha and Jean Claude, who loved to fuss over us and had made a delightful little home for our week’s stay. Two bed rooms and a bathroom upstairs and a small kitchen and living/dining downstairs with the terrace. Lots of antiquities as they call them here in France, in the furniture and paintings
Our accommodation from across the river. The orange umbrella is our terrace
With advice from Jean Claude we soon found the supermarket to buy essentials. Love French supermarkets: they have a proper butcher who cuts to order, a proper deli section that cuts to order, including marvellous pates, terrines and cheeses. A fresh fish section, but only if the fishermen have been out the day before, their own bakery for baguettes, and a very comprehensive wine section. On Wednesday we shopped at a marvellous market (also on Saturdays). Great meat, sausage, cheese, smallgoods, wine as well as the clothing and shoes sections. We got white asparagus and stuffed canelloni in different flavours. I cooked three dinners at home.
The first night we found the Gerbe d’Or (Golden Wheat Sheaf) on JC’s recommendation and had a stunning meal on the terrace under the wisteria. Just one course, mine a plump chicken breast on four, fat, white asparagus spears with a cream sauce with truffle scents. Nick had tournedos rossini with real foie gras on the top. We drank rose. Heaven! We returned with another couple later in the week and had a similarly delicious experience.
The next day we had breakfast on the deck and then explored the citadel of Loches itself. It was Sunday and also French Mothers’ Day, so there was a well attended mass in the church followed by two baptisms. It was interesting that most of the attendees at the baptism wore white, a nice touch I thought. (Or maybe that was for Mothers’ Day)
The church of St Ours with its curious pointed pyramids over the nave
The Renaissance Chateau is mostly about Agnes Sorel who was the first woman to be named as “Official King’s Mistress” and who died at 30 from what now appears to be mercury poisoning. Maybe used as a medicine for her ascaris infection (Erk! ascaris is from infected pork and those worms are BIG) or to aid in prolonged childbirth, or maybe… Her grave and memorial are now in the citadel church of St Ours, moved there quite recently from the Logis Royal and is where she wanted to lie. I love the gentle look on the face of the angels at the corners. She was regarded as a great beauty and several portraits show her as such.
Roofs of the town from the citadel and the Tower of St Antoine
The tomb of Agnes Sorel in St Ours
Dog on the steps of the Logis Royal commemorate hunting dogs
Annunciation painting in the Logis Royal
Lavender at the foot of the donjon
Roses in the citadel
Roses on the wall at Loches
Massed climbing roses, Chedigny
Rose festival at Chedigny
The festival was very crowded, even late in the afternoon. People were buying roses but the town also had its own profusion. A sweet excursion.
And the best of all is the pink climber that fades to cream and is so heavy its heads hang downwards.
Next episode: Chateaux; from the marvellous to the mad