Pouançay and neighbouring St Leger de Montbrillais
Just a quick walk from La Bellevue is the reputed restaurant Trésor Belge open for lunch, dinner and ‘happy hour’ between 5pm & 7pm (closed Mon & Tue). A scenic walk, 9km or 12km, is mapped and starts in front of the Mairie passing by vines and troglodyte caves, while a leisurely potter to the Table d’Orientation, particularly spectacular at sun-set, gives an impressive 360° view of the surrounding area, highlighting châteaux and points of interest.
St Leger de Montbrillais
Neighbouring Pouançay (2km) is a great little village for pick-ups. St Leger has a post office, hairdresser, baker (closed Wed), and a highly reputed butcher, much favored by ourselves, we highly recommend trying the rillettes d’oie, and be prepared to queue on a Sunday morning! Breads can be purchased from the butcher on Wednesdays.
Montreuil-Bellay - Saumur - Chinon - Places to Visit
(8kms) boasts a magnificent château whose impressive walls circle the town today. A weekly market and monthly brocante (flea-market) there are also a variety of brasseries and restaurants to choose from.
Hire a kayak/canoe and spend time on the river, Le Thouet. Visit the château, take a tour, sample their wines and picnic on a lovely grassed area shaded by trees at the edge of the river.
Places to Visit
Discover fresh food markets, weekend brocantes (flea-markets), chocolate box villages on the banks of the Loire river. Explore the gardens of Villandry, the exceptional Bioparc in Doué, take a boat ride along the Loire, sample local wines, discover The Plantagenets and visit the châteaux towns of Amboise, Angers, Azay le Rideau, Brézé, Brissac-Quincé, Candes St. Martin, Chenonceau, Chinon, Fontevraud l'Abbaye, Langeais, Loches, Montsoreau, Montreuil-Bellay, Saumur, Richelieu, Tours, Ussé, Villandry - all of which make a fabulous day out!
(25kms) twined with Warwick in England, Saumur is home to the Cadre Noir the National Equestrian School of the elite French Cavalry whose remarkable horsemanship can be seen at shows between April & October.
Stretching along the banks of the Loire river the town is dominated by the impressive Château de Saumur originally constructed to protect the river crossing from Norman attack, later destroyed, the château was rebuilt by Henry II, King of England (1154) and first Plantagenet king.
Saumur is a delight to discover. Take a river boat ride or potter around the town enjoying the architecture. Visit the famous Distillery Combier where the liqueur d’orange is made, created by Jean-Baptiste Combier in 1834.
Saumur hosts a weekly market and monthly brocante (flea-market), the wonderful Anjou Vélo Vintage (June) and Festivini wine festival (September), alongside other activities and exhibitions throughout the year.
(31kms) sitting on the banks of the Vienne river Chinon’s rich history dates from early man. The impressive Fortress de Chinon set above the town served both French and English Kings, also famously visited by Joan of Arc - a visit is highly recommended.
Henry II King of England and first Plantagenet king (1154) extensively developed Chinon, married to Eleanor of Aquitaine they are buried in neighboring Fontrevraud l’Abbaye, alongside their son Richard I the Lionheart, King of England (1189). After Richard I’s death (1199) Chinon was passed on to his son. In 1205 King John lost the fortress to Philip II Augustus.
Worthy of a visit is Chapelle Sainte-Radegonde, it’s a steep walk from the town and remarkably half constructed in the rock face. Once a pagan site of worship, Christianized in the 6th Century, it is the fresco of 5 riders, believed to be Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine with their son which is the attraction and remains in wonderful quality today.