With scenes of the idyllic French town of St Savin still fresh in our minds we didn’t imagine our next stop could possibly be so scenic. Heading towards the Loire valley, we drove another 80 km North entering the Indre-et-Loire department, to the small town of Montrésor. Listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages (one of 150 or so currently awarded ) we had high hopes it would be another winner and we weren’t to be disappointed.
There is a dedicated, very pleasant motorhome aire just at the top of the town (up the hill of course) which is free and has all services except electricity and a couple of picnic benches and grassy areas. On first glance it appeared to be full but it was slightly deceptive and we found a roomy space easily enough. It took just 10 minutes to walk down into the town coming out onto the road right opposite the Chateau de Montresor with overlooks the lower part of the village. The original 11th century defensive fortress was restored as a Renaissance Mansion in the 15th century like many other chateaus and still stands within the original fortifications. We walked up to the outer wall looking out over the view of the village and the tiled and slate rooftops and saw the chateau gardener busy working, cutting and snipping, keeping the place tidy.
A path led us down through the village and its charismatic little buildings including some half-timbered homes and lovely old stone walls. As we wandered through the village we came to the conclusion that we’ve never seen a place with so many roses in bloom. Reds, pinks, oranges, yellow, two tone even – you name it, there was a beautiful rose in every concievable colour, and many of them fragrant too making it a lovely place to walk around. As we stood looking at a restaurant menu, the chateau gardener came walking by telling us that if we wanted a meal, that would be the place to go, the best place in town!
Carrying on towards the other side of the town we came across a wonderful old former market hall with giant wooden columns and beams, built in the 1700s. The ‘Halles de Cardeux’ has a large open air space for stalls at the bottom and several rooms on the upper floor which now house a wool working exhibition detailing the traditional local trade and a range of art works. We were a bit disappointed that there wasn’t an actual market there any more but it was a beautiful structure nonetheless. As we stopped to look around us, the friendly chateau gardener, now on his trusty bike, cycled up to us and started chatting, asking if we’d seen this, that and the other, making sure we’d seen the best of the town and telling us he’d been to a wedding in Wimbledon not long ago! Maybe he should quit the gardening and get a job as a town guide!
We spent some time taking a slow stroll along the pretty Balcons de l’Indrois riverside walk giving an alternative view of the chateau and some pretty bank side properties. The old metal Jardinier Bridge spanning the river was designed by was built by Gustav Eiffel’s workshop and there is an information board describing its history.
After exploring every nook and cranny of the town we went to the local supermarket, got ourselves something for dinner and went back to Buzz. The sun was still hot, bright and blazing, not what we expected being this far North, so we made the most of it, grabbed ourselves a picnic bench and sat out with a drink and a book until the sun went down.
If you’re looking for things to do Montresor may not be for you as there’s not much here. But, if you’re looking for somwhere to spend a relaxing day, taking slow strolls, enjoying lovely scenery and appreciating interesting old buildings then you’re in for a treat.