France, Loir-et-Cher (41), Mennetou sur Cher au bord du Canal du Berry
Orleans city in France
Castle or chateau de Sully-sur-Loire at sunset, France
Fleury Abbey at Saint Benoit sur Loire, France
Typical house of Aubigny-sur-Nère
Street in Bourges, Auvergne, France
B22-940084 - © - Jean-Marc Charles
Roadtrip From Orléans to Bourges
A land whose harsh climate is hostile to soil cultivation, but which is nonetheless home to a profusion of game, as well as being a land of forests loved by princes and kings, Sologne is also and above all a region rich in history guarded by many buildings and fortresses. Come and discover Sologne as you’ve never seen it before – through the lens of its colourful medieval history. Orléans, Sully, Aubigny Sur Nère, Vierzon, Bourges: all names that will tell you the epic story of great figures of the past.
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The memory of Joan of Arc is still very much alive in Orléans, theatre of the Hundred Years’ War (the conflict in which she played a role) and is commemorated each year with a medieval-style celebration throughout the city. Stroll through this centuries-old city, admire its cathedral, a true marvel shaped over six hundred years and visit the Groslot mansion built by the Bailiff of Orléans at the beginning of the 16th century, then explore a different era by visiting the crypt of Saint Aignan, a 10th century Romanesque building, or the collegiate church of Saint Pierre-le-Pueillier, the oldest church in Orléans.
Drive along the banks of the Loire towards the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire. Built in the 8th century, a masterpiece of Romanesque art with twelve Corinthian capitals, it is the resting place of its founder, St Benedict, as well as of King Philippe I, who chose to be buried there rather than in Saint Denis. On the way, come and admire the tiny but exquisite church of Germigny-des-Prés, a brilliant specimen of Carolingian art. Continue your journey to Sully-Sur-Loire, where you can grab a bite to eat near the castle of the Dukes of Sully. This imposing fortress overlooking the Loire bears the marks of the many upheavals of the last six centuries. Stop off in the city of the Stuarts, Aubigny-sur-Nère, to visit its Renaissance chateau and have a walk around its unique collection of half-timbered houses before arriving in Salbris.
After leaving Salbris, why not enjoy a stroll through the streets of Romorantin Lanthenay, capital of Sologne, which the great Leonardo da Vinci was fond of? Then continue on to Mennetou-sur-Cher, a small medieval town that has retained its picturesque features from this period: its proud ramparts, fortified gates, towers, tithe barn and cobbled streets all remind visitors of its history. Take advantage of your arrival in the middle of the afternoon in Vierzon to pay a visit to this characterful small town. As the gateway to Sologne, it’s worth lingering in its winding streets to discover the historic buildings that line the route through the old town.
From Vierzon to Bourges, the road passes through Mehun sur Yèvres. Stop in this little village on the doorstep of the Berry region, a region known for its porcelain. Stroll through the gardens of Jean, Duke of Berry, located at the foot of Charles VII Castle, which owes its name to the fact that that king and his court regularly stayed within its walls. Don’t arrive too late in Bourges to enjoy the history-steeped atmosphere of Berry’s regional capital by strolling amongst its 400 half-timbered houses. It’s impossible to miss the impressive UNESCO-listed cathedral or the Jacques Cœur Palace, considered one of France’s most beautiful Gothic feats of civil engineering. The legendary laid-back Bourges lifestyle will allow you to leave feeling peaceful at the end of this beautiful medieval journey!
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