France Byways

France Byways · 07 August 2020
Chinon, https://www.experienceloire.com/chinon.htm the last major town on the Vienne before it joins the Loire, was a royal town for the French and the English. Here, in 1429 Joan of Arc met the Dauphin, Charles VII, who was holed up in the town and persuaded him to fight to regain his kingdom. However, the ancient château of Chinon is also said to have been the preferred residence of one of the Plantagenet kings of England, Henry II. He and his wife Aliénor (Eleanor) d'Aquitaine along with...
France Byways · 17 June 2020
Candes St Martin, a small village not far from Chinon in Touraine, (https://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk/candes-saint-martin-most-beautiful-villages-france/) is on the left bank of the Loire on the road to Saumur. At the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers, it is said to be one of the oldest Gallo-Roman villages in the area and still retains its mediaeval street layout. The best panoramic view of the village is from the "Pointe du Véron" on the North bank of the Vienne, facing the...

France Byways · 25 May 2020
As we came down the road from Macon, we saw the Hostellerie d'Héloïse, a Logis beside the river La Grosne and the road bridge to Cluny. Cluny is a commune of more than 71,000 people in the eastern French region of Burgundy-Franche-Comte. Opposite was a little square with some shops and a memorial to the martyrs of the deportation. Nearby was the old railway station, now a bike hire place, beside the old railway line. Today this offers a green lane for exercise and picnicking and a pleasant...
France Byways · 11 May 2020
The road from St Pierre-de-Maille suddenly dipped off the upland plateau down towards the river Anglin, a tributary of the Creuse, where a simple old bridge crossed it in the shadow of the ruins of an impressive fortress on limestone river cliffs. We gentle drove up the steep narrow winding streets of Angles sur l’Anglin passed that ruined fortress and the entrance to a pre-historic site where people had lived in the stone age. Towards the top of the village we found Le Relais du Lyon d’Or...

France Byways · 02 May 2020
Perched on a steep-sided valley above the river Dronne, this picturesque site on the mediaeval pilgrims’ route to St Jacques de Compostela, is a beautiful old town, full of character but with very little parking space. Indeed, we had to leave our car in the town park and walked to our apartment. We had a first floor apartment in part of an old 15th century monastery with beautiful views across Aubeterre from the terrace where we ate many of our meals, watching the birds swooping around the...
France Byways · 25 April 2020
St Valery sur Somme, near to Abbeville is easy travelling in under an hour down the main road from Calais to Rouen. Located on the south side of the Baie de Somme, it is an attractive and historic town that forms a useful centre for exploring the area, whether to the Channel coast at Le Hourdel, a tiny hamlet at the mouth of the Somme with a little harbour and extensive shingle beaches, overlooking the mouth of the Somme, or to Cayeux sur Mer with its amazing shingle beaches and its marshes for...

France Byways · 20 April 2020
One of the most exciting birdwatching sites in Northern France is very easy to access from the main road south from Calais to Rouen. [01] Less than an hour from the Channel tunnel, if you turn west off the main A16 road near Abbeville you’ll find the Marquenterre (https://www.baiedesomme.fr/lieu/1-14-5933-parc-du-marquenterre) [02] a vast wetland nature reserve of 200ha of marsh, sand dunes and reed beds on the edge of the Baie de Somme [03]. This last is an extensive area of salt marsh and...