On the left bank of the Loire, forming a triangle, Blois, Romorantin, Montrichard, the AOC Touraine, AOC Valencay.
The Château, François I’s royal estate, a masterpiece of the Renaissance, with its remarkable double headed staircase, is a classified UNESCO World Heritage site. www.chambord.org
Domaine des Huards. A good household, a vocation for wine, which exists since 1846 and a biodynamic vineyard to discover the AOC Cheverny and Cour Cheverny and an address not to be missed to taste their François I vintage made with some Romorantin. A rare and ancient vine, which was introduced by the King. Exclusive to them is the Cheverny Rouge “Jean François Deniau” vintage, grown from a vineyard belonging to Grégoire, the son of the late writer, minister and member of the Académie française. www.domainedeshuards.com
Access to Organic wine
The Château, in the classical tradition of the seventeenth century, has been in the family of the Marquis of Veloraye for generations. It was the inspiration for Hergé’s Château de Moulinsart, which belonged to Captain Haddock in the Adventures of Tintin. www.chateau-cheverny.fr
Château de Beauregard, François I’s hunting lodge. This small château in the classical style houses one of the most unique portrait galleries in Europe as well as contemporary gardens that were designed by the landscape designer Gilles Clément. www.beauregard-loire.com
L’Auberge du Centre. Gilles Martinet owns a fantastic collection of local wines and takes great pleasure in seeing his guests enjoy them over dinner. Tel.: +33 2 54 70 42 11. www.auberge-du-centre.com
Tours in Sologne
Le Domaine de Montcy. A fast expanding wine estate thanks to new investors since 2007. 20 hectares of vines, three of which are devoted to the romantin grape, the vines over 60 years of age are of Cheverny and Cour Cheverny designation, of which the Claude de France vintage in monovarietal romorantin and a Cour Cheverny – the Plenitude 2008 vintage. This property offers both discovery and educational trails for which it has received the Interloire excellence prize for wine tourism.
Romorantin is the capital of Sologne and the birth place of Claude de France (1499), future wife of Francois I. The King wished to make this town his capital and instructed Leonardo da Vinci to make it happen, yet the plans were never carried out.
For those interested in sports cars, do not overlook the Matra Car Museum, which offers 3000m² of racing cars and prototypes going back over Matra’s great history as a constructor. www.museematra.com
We are in the Selles-sur-Cher cheese territory, which should only be savoured with a glass of white wine!
The Union for cheese promotion AOC (Certification of Origin) groups together a dozen local cheese producers, one of whom is Noël Père. 65, rue de la Collinière.
Domaine du Château de Quincay. Frederic and Philippe Cadart produce wine in a traditional manner, being the fifth generation of wine makers, whose ancestor was General Charles Cadart from the Second Empire. The estate boasts a 19th century tower, an avenue of plane trees and is set in 25 hectares of AOC Touraine and an AOC white Valencay in a Chardonnay and sauvignon blend, a red in a Gamay, Pinot and Côt blend, which are light fruity wines, supple on the palate. www.chateaudequincay.com
Below the vineyards, one can enjoy a walk in the Fouzon fields, classified Natura 2000 and discover the local fauna and flora at leisure.
Le Domaine de la Chapinière. Florence Veilex is a new generation winemaker since 2003 and has flung herself wholeheartedly into the “Terra Vitis” label for AOC Touraine. The Hachette Guide has singled out a Voltaire blended vintage, a wine to put down made with côt, a grape from the Lot. The Côt Garnon is the pride of the estate, a powerful, round wine with flavours of violet. Florence organises ‘from vine to wine’ tours throughout July and August, together with hand grape-harvesting weekends with meals included. Book in advance. www.lachapiniere.com
Noyers sur Cher
One can browse around the Magasin d’Antiquité belonging to Christian Giron which offers quality furniture as well as vine related objects and some very handsome eighteenth and nineteenth century paintings Tel.: + 33 2 54 75 42 42
Saint Aignan sur Cher
This peaceful medieval city built atop the hills along the Cher River boasts a Renaissance castle and an eleventh and twelfth century college and is representative of the quiet Loir and Cher villages.
Monthou sur Cher
Chateau de Gué Péan. A former fortress turned Renaissance dwelling is set in an outstanding site on an old Roman camp surrounded by fields full of horses. Open to the public in high season. www.guepean.com
Thésée la Romaine
A typical winemaking village with numerous cellars open to visitors together with wine tasting. Also worth a visit is the archaeological site of a former Roman camp.
Saint-Georges sur Cher
Le Prieuré de la Chaise. Surrounded by vineyards, this ancient Benedictine property is full of charm with its twelfth century chapel – still in use for weddings. Daniele Therizols takes great pleasure in showing off her wines, one of which is a monovarietal AOC Touraine white sauvignon and a red from côt cabernet grapes well worth tasting. Tel.: +33 2 54 32 59 77. www.prieuredelachaise.com
A charming town dating back to the Middle Ages on the edge of the river Cher, dominated by a feudal dungeon where, word has it, Richard the Lion Heart was held captive.
From Montrichard to Bourré. A whole collection of troglodyte caves dug into freestone with kilometer upon kilometer of galleries on different levels, including the Monmousseau and Paul Buisse ones producing a sparkling wine using the ‘traditional’ method.
A typical troglodytic house village stretching out into freestone and a silk worm nursery and farm. Magnificent views unfold from the right bank of the river Cher over a succession of vineyards planted with côt, gamay and cabernet certified grapes.
Château de Vallagon. A nineteenth century château, beautifully restored and furnished by its Dutch owners. A decent fare of organic products from the château’s greenhouse and AOC Touraine wines from the estate, of which a sparking rosé made in the ‘traditional’ way, perfectly delicious as an aperitif. For sale at the cellar cooperative in Oisly Thésee. Tel.: +33 6 09 24 63 19. www.chateaudevallagon.com.
Chaumont sur Loire
The International Garden Festival is well renowned beyond borders. The art of gardening and innovation are at their highest and the summer evening walk is a real delight. The château’s park, running along the river Loire was designed in 1884 by Henri Duchêne and is quite magnificent. www.domaine-chaumont.fr
Le Château de Chaumont. This castle was Catherine de Medici’s residence, wife of Henri II. Upon the king’s death, Catherine forced Diane de Poitier to exchange it with Chenonceau – let us say it was a question of feminine rivalry. Later still, Chaumont was re-styled by the Broglie Princes. www.domaine-chaumont.fr
Restaurant Dallais – La Promenade. Jacky Dallais, the Chef of the restaurant, offers gourmet cuisine prepared with local products. The wine menu includes great wines from Loire Valley, but also from Burgundy and Rhone Valley. 37350 Le Petit Pressigny. 02 47 94 93 52. restaurantdallaislapromenade.com