Culan, forteresse féodale dominant l'Arnon.
Jardins de l'archevêché de Bourges.
Château de Meillant.
Issoudun, la Théols et le Parc François-Mitterrand, la Tour Blanche derrière.
Le cloître de l'abbaye de Noirlac.
Pays de la Loire
Roadtrip from Bourges through the Center of France
Gardens, vineyards, castles and abbeys … the Berrichon region is as much a delight for the eyes as it is the taste buds. Between hedges, behind meadows and thickets, are hidden beautiful villages, remarkable gardens and castles that are among the most beautiful of the Route Jacques-Cœur… not to mention vineyards of real quality.
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17km north-west of Bourges (D2076), you will arrive at Mehun-sur-Yèvre. You can discover Berry porcelain in the remains of the castle,. Lovers of medieval frescoes should take a detour to the church of St-Agnan in Brinay on the left bank of the Cher, a charming village whose vineyard is connected to that of Quincy (6 km). Continue south-west (D20) to Reuilly. The vineyard extends to Diou (a nice stop on the Théols). Visit the village of Chârost (church), before Issoudun.
Issoudun offers some interesting monuments. Streets such as Boucher-Gris, Champs-d’Amour and Ass-Vert recall its medieval past. Be sure to also visit the bell tower of the St-Cyr church for its windows and the old hotel-Dieu which houses the museum of the hospice St-Roch. The D9, south, takes you to Lignières, from where you can reach the beautiful gardens of the Notre-Dame d’Orsan priory (10km further south on the D65). Continue south to Chateaumeillant, a pleasant place for a stop-over.
Head east (D943). Culan awaits with its medieval fortress built on a spur (300m of wall). After a few kms on the D997, stop in the artistic gardens of Drulon. Head north and branch off the D1, you will find the Cher valley at Ainay-le-Vieil and its castle nicknamed “Little Carcassonne”. Enjoy the gardens and then move on to the Gallo-Roman remains of Drevant, on the road to St-Amand-Montrond, alongside the Berry Canal.
Take the D2144 north to visit the splendid and unmissable Cistercian Abbey of Noirlac. Follow the D35 north and take the D92 to discover the Château de Meillant which combines flamboyant Gothic style and medieval towers. Continue along the D10 and take a short break at Dun-sur-Auron (a beautiful fortified bell tower and the Museum of the Berry Canal). Next, take the D10 and then the D2076 heading towards Sancoins where you can spend the night. Visit the medieval fortress of Sagonne on the way.
If you’re in Sancoins on a Wednesday, rise at 5am and head to Parc des Grivelles where one of the largest livestock markets in France (cattle and sheep) takes place, a timeless event that continues in the centre of town with live poultry. A little further north, the Grossouvre hall tells the story of the steel industry extremely well. Reach the village of Apremont-sur-Allier where you can enjoy a very nice stop-over strolling through the village and exploring the beautiful floral park.
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