Around Le Grand Pressigny Indre-et-Loire
- Le Grand-Pressigny, Château d'Étableau La Guerche, Château de la Guerche Paulmy, Château du Châtelier
In the immediate surroundings of Le Grand-Pressigny, it’s worth making a detour to visit three private monuments built between the 12th and 17th centuries.
The Châteaux of Étableau and Paulmy can only be appreciated from the outside, their impressive architecture providing the opportunity for a pleasant walk.
The ruins of the Château d'Etableaureveal themselves as you follow a footpath.
The Château du Châtelier de Paulmy is a striking sight viewed from the outside, sat perched on a rocky platform surrounded by water. The inner courtyard offers an outline of the various buildings that have followed each other since the 12th century.
The nearby La Pierre Chaude dolmen is a typical example of a local dolmen.
The Château de La Guerche, which stands majestically above the Creuse River, is a remarkable example of 15th-century architecture. It was restored in 1830 with the development of the drawing rooms and an English park. If you visit the Château, you’ll be taken through the prison, the attics and bunkers, and the furnished drawing rooms.
The Fortress of Chinon is a jewel of medieval architecture and is closely linked to the history of the Hundred Years War. It was successively English, under King Henri II Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 12th century, then French, under King Philip Augustus in the 13th century. The most famous incident of this war between the English and the French was the meeting of Joan of Arc and the future King Charles VII in 1429, which would lead to the liberation of Orleans.
The dungeon, part of the lodge, the clock tower and the ramparts, which bear witness to the splendour of the military medieval architecture, all date from this important era.
You will find yourself drawn into this site, which is so rich in history, by its modern, interactive and fun museography and scenography.
Cravant-les-Coteaux, Sanctuaire Saint-Léger Indre-et-Loire
L’Île Bouchard, Prieuré Saint-Léonard Indre-et-Loire
Tavant, Église Saint-Nicolas Indre-et-Loire
Visiting the churches of Tavant, Cravant-les-Côteaux and L'Île-Bouchard (10th–15th centuries), which are all close to each other and in the heart of the wine route, is a must for religious architecture enthusiasts.
The Saint-Nicolas Church in Tavant contains internationally known 12th-century paintings, characterised by an immediatestyle, having been executed very quickly. Their interpretation remains mysterious: a burial service, the struggle between Good and Evil or the combat of Christ the Redeemer?
The Shrine in Cravant is a rare example of 10th-century Carolingian architecture. It houses a lapidary museum displaying, notably, an exceptional Merovingian pillar. The 15th-century apse and chapel still have some frescoes.
The Saint-Léonard Priory on Bouchard Island is partially conserved and provides a majestic image of 12th-century Roman architecture. The richly sculpted capitals recount episodes from the life of Christ.
Nouans-Les-Fontaines, Église Saint-Martin Indre-et-Loire
A city of art and history, Loches is surprisingly rich in heritage: it has a dungeon and fortifications, Royal lodge and small medieval streets.
The 36-metre high dungeon was built in the 11th century and is one of the most imposing and best preserved in Europe. Transformed into a prison by Louis XI, its most famous inmate was Ludovic Sforza.
The nearby Royal lodge, a jewel of the French Renaissance was favoured by the Valois and welcomed, in particular, Agnès Sorel.
Next to these two Indre-et-Loire Local Council monuments is the Saint-Antoine Church, which has been exhibiting two paintings by Caravaggio (1571-1610) since 2006.
The church of Nouans-les-Fontaines, 25 kilometres away, has another pictorial masterpiece: the extraordinary Piéta by Jean Fouquet, painted around 1450. This is one of the very rare religious paintings by Jean Fouquet that has been preserved. The painter’s house, recently inaugurated, rounds off the local visit.
Oiron, Château Deux-Sèvres
Built between the 16th and 17th centuries by the seigneurialGouffier family, the Château d’Oiron allows the potential splendours of the Château of Le Grand-Pressigny to be evoked. The lower galleries, open onto the courtyard, belong to the same Italian style. The dazzling upper gallery, with its floor made of glazed terra cotta tiles, its ceiling of decorated coffering and its mural paintings recounting the Trojan War, is remarkable evidence of the sumptuousness of the décor in these gallery walkways and is reminiscent of the upper gallery of Le Grand-Pressigny.
The Château has had a collection of contemporary art since 1993. This exhibition interacts with the Renaissance architecture and responds to the idea of a cabinet of curiosities to which the fabulous art collection of Claude Gouffieris linked. It is said that Gouffier, Grand Equerry to King Henri II, was the model for the Marquis de Carabas in Charles Perrault’s Puss in Boots.
Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Abbaye Saint-Savin Vienne
Abbaye Saint-Savin (Abbey Church of Saint-Savin)
On the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1983, the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe is reputed for its Romanesque frescoes.
Although founded in the Carolingian era, it was not until the rein of Louis the Pious (814-843), heir to Charlemagne (768-814), that Benedictine rule was established. The Abbey Church then became so prestigious that its monks were sent to other regions in order to reform or found monasteries and abbey churches.
The church has a long nave of an imposing size. The rich decor adorning the walls and the vaults over almost 460m2 was painted in the 12th century and has earned the abbey church the name Sixtineromane (the Romanesque Sistine Chapel.) This ‘huge book’ of images, recently restored, recounts the various episodes of the Old and New Testaments.