It is in the village of Brehemont let your adventure begin. It is an ideal starting point (or arrival) since here is the junction between the Loire à Vélo and the Indre à Vélo.
On the way to Azay-le-Rideau, you will find the singular Maurice Dusfresne Museum, housing vehicles, weapons and posters that have survived the centuries (and a restaurant!)
Continuing on your way, you will pass very close to the Chateau de l'Islette, about ten kilometers away. Then discover this charming corner of nature from the Renaissance which once housed the loves of Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, both renowned sculptors of the XNUMXth century.e century.
Your next stopover will be in the village of Azay-le-Rideau. Will you take the time to observe his Castle Renaissance floating on the Indre?
You may prefer the Goupillières Troglodyte Valley (farm carved into the rock dating from the Middle Ages) at the exit of the village?
The village of Saché invites you to discover an unusual place: the Balzac Museum, dedicated to this author who marked the XIXe century. You will have the opportunity to contemplate various exhibitions over the cultural events on offer.
In Pont-de-Ruan, you might recognize the authentic Manor of Vonnes who inspired Clochegourde in The lily in the valley by Balzac.
Once again follow in the author's footsteps, this time in Artannes-sur-Indre, in the Bol de Lait Street where he himself made a stopover ... before a break at the Castle of the Archbishops. Just before arriving at Montbazon, take a detour via the Chateau d'Artigny, the most recent of the Loire châteaux.
Montbazon has the particularity of housing the oldest castle in Touraine, the Fortress built at the end of the Xe century by Foulques Nerra (don't miss the animations reconstituting life in the Middle Ages in a humorous way!). After passing through the typical alleys of the Angels and rue des Moulins, direction Veigné! The town is home to an imposing mill and a church with an astonishing stone-roofed bell tower, as in Esvres, the neighboring town.
In Esvres precisely, the course passes at the foot of a wind turbine Bollée superbly restored: thanks to passionate volunteers, you can visit its start-up on Saturday morning and its stop on Sunday evening.
Take the time for a little getaway in the village of Cormery. You can go under the Saint Paul tower and discover the remains of the old abbey of VIIIe century. And to regain your strength, stop in one of the two bakeries to taste the famous macarons from Cormery ...
In Truyes, take a look at the pretty bell tower (XIe and XIIe century).
Then come and discover the very steep town of Courçay, crossed by the Indre, which Balzac nicknamed "La Petite Suisse Tourangelle".
The long wall that you walk along when arriving at Reignac-sur-Indre hides a castle built from the XVe century. You will see it going down in the village. This one, like the manor of Follaine and castle in Azay-sur-Indre, all erected from the same time, was part of a fief of which the last lord, at the end of the XVIIIe century, is none other than the Marquis de La Fayette, hero of American independence.
In Chambourg-sur-Indre, at a place called Ile Auger, a stopover is essential! The crossing of the Indre was done in the Middle Ages on a bridge of which you will see the imposing remains. This " Roman bridge », Actually dates from the XVe century!
Loaches, royal city, waiting for you.
Arriving in Loches, you can head towards the former royal town or continue straight to return directly to Beaulieu-lès-Loches.
Entering Loches means entering through the main door into the history of France, with its royal splendor, its troubles, and… its loves! Perched above the alleys of the city and surrounded by high ramparts, the Royal city presents you with different faces. On the one hand, the fortress by Count of Anjou Foulques III Nerra, an imposing masterpiece of military architecture, with its keep millennium 36 m high. On the other, the royal residence, who has seen the most famous characters from the XVe century: the kings Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII and even François Ier, Queen Anne of Brittany, Joan of Arc, etc. At the end of the Hundred Years War, the house also hosted the loves of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel, the first royal favorite in history. The Royal City also contains many other treasures, such as the Collegiate Church of Saint-Ours, la House-Museum of the painter Emmanuel Lansyer, to discover around the alleys ...
Leaving Loches, you head towards the monastic city of Beaulieu-lès-Loches via rue du Docteur Martinais or via la Prairie du Roy, sensitive natural space, green link between the two cities. Beaulieu, labeled Petite Cité de Caractère, will seduce you with its medieval streets and monuments built on the banks of the Indre, divided into several branches at this location. You cannot miss the imposing XNUMXth century bell towere century of the abbey founded in XIe century by the Count of Anjou Foulque III Nerra. This one, with its 63 m, is one of the highest in Touraine! In summer, also enjoy the works of contemporary art exhibited in the open air as part of the Beaux Lieux event in the Prairie du Roy and in the city.
In Saint-Germain, you pass at the foot of the castle (XVe century) which remains in history for having been the scene of royal talks aimed at putting an end to the 5e war of religion in 1575. Catherine de Medici found her son François, Duke of Alençon there, to negotiate the peace which was signed at Beaulieu-lès-Loches in 1576, granting great freedom of worship to Protestants. The peace was short-lived and fighting resumed the same year...
The Indre Valley is an exceptional heritage jewel, dotted with villages from which the conquerors of French America left. the Castle of Saint-Cyran-du-Jambot was the birthplace of the Franquelin family and of Mgr de Laval, the first bishop of New France. Jean-Baptiste Franquelin, cartographer to the King of France and companion of Frontenac, put his talents to the service of Quebec.
In Châtillon-sur-Indre, the Caesar's Tower, the most imposing vestige of the fortified castle built by the King of England Henry II Plantagenêt around 1160, stands out in the landscape and invites you to climb to its terrace which offers a splendid 360 ° panorama over the surrounding countryside and a bird's eye view of the medieval walled town.
You will dominate:
Going to Le Tranger, the Priory of Saint-Martin-de-Vertou and its memorial to the pioneers of New France constitute another beacon on the road to Quebec.
Between Clion and The Stranger, the Chateau de l'Isle-Savary is designed on a square plan; in its current state, built in a single phase at the end of the XVe century, it is undoubtedly one of the best witnesses of the advent of the Renaissance in Berry. In Clion, the Hammer Mansion worth a detour. On a rocky outcrop, Palluau stands out for its superb castle, dominated by its high tower from the XNUMXthe century which recalls the suzerainty of the Counts of Anjou. The main building of the XVe century is flanked by 2 towers from the XNUMXthe century. The Gothic St-Sulpice church and the St-Laurent Priory (Romanesque, crypt from the XIe and superb frescoes from the XNUMXth centurye and XVe centuries) are worth a visit ...
As you continue your journey towards Buzancais you will not fail to visit the abbey church of Saint-Genou.
Before gaining height by crossing Saint-Genou you will pass behind the church of the old abbey of the XIIe century, you will walk along the mill canal and pass near the porcelain museum. At the end of the village you will find the lantern of the dead of Estrées.
If you want to relax and refresh yourself, at the crossroads at the end of the canal taking direction Argy, 2 km away, you access the body of water of Saint-Genou. It offers beach and swimming (supervised in summer) as well as a space reserved for fishing, playgrounds and picnics.
Once observed from above the valley of the Indre, you will be able, freewheeling, to rest and let you slide in the direction of Buzancais. You will follow the river as closely as possible Indre especially in the heart of the city. BuzANCAIS offers you a rich heritage: the Dukes pavilion, Saint-Lazare Chapel of the XIIe century, Sainte-Croix Priory of the XVe century the Church of the Sacred Heart… The city has a diversified tree heritage to discover, with several remarkable trees aged 40 to 300 years.
At the exit of Buzancais you will follow the river to Bonneau to reach the Chapelle-Orthemale.
Then, a landscape of cereal cultivation will lead you to Villedieu-sur-Indre and, before the place called Chambon, you will pass in front of the Chamousseau Castle and his farm.
In Viledieu-sur-Indrev, you will discover the Saint-Sébastien church near the former Saint-Sauveur priory. You will see the remains of the Villedieu Castle and, if you wish, the Val de l'Indre golf course offers you its 18-hole course on the former grounds of the castle.
You approach Châteauroux by taking several rolling paths allowing you to enjoy the calm of nature before reaching Saint-Maur, the Castelroussine agglomeration. Châteauroux is revealed to you at the bend of a path then a marked path inviting you to enjoy the natural beauties of the Ebbes Valley, which you will approach by Saint-Gildas meadow. Proudly overlooking the banks of the Indre with its powerful volumes, characteristic of reworked Gothic architecture, the Chateau Raoul never ceases to contemplate his reflection in the peaceful waves of the river from the Xe century. Once this is crossed, a north-south crossing of Châteauroux opens up to you. Of the Saint-Martin gate to the Golden Virgin of Notre-Dame church, you will be seduced by this route in the heart of the city which will reveal all the treasures of Châteauroux, between historic district and contemporary city.
Nature follows you beyond the river and the city walls, in the heart of the state forest de Châteauroux, the largest oak grove in France. The one which extends mainly over the communes of Ardentes and Poinçonnet over more than five thousand hectares offers a pleasant course in the undergrowth. This one will lead you from the lovely little Romanesque church of Saint-Martin of Ardentes with its pretty glass roofs and keystones of Saint-Maximin church of Jeu-les-Bois. Ornithology enthusiasts will be seduced by a slight detour to Lys-St-Georges pond and its bird observatory.
The rest of the route invites you to a literary and sporting journey, where you will pass from the plains of Berrichonne champagne to the hilly landscape of Boischaut Sud. A route where you will never be alone, surrounded by the novelist George Sand ; it is she who will guide you in her country of bocage which she liked to call "The Black Valley". At the different stages, you will find the memory of this committed woman, thanks to the many sites which served as frames for her novels.
Here we are heading towards Mers-sur-Indre, the place of inspiration for George Sand for his novel “La Mare au Diable”. A small detour to Lys-St-Georges is strongly recommended, there you can have lunch at a "gourmet table of Berry", discover the castle XVe where Ludovic Sforza languished eighteen months and contemplate a very vast panorama over the valley.
Au Moulin d'Angibault time stopped ; a country break at the foot of the mill wheel is essential. Unless you prefer the freshness of church by Vic ; behind its large bell tower are hidden magnificent frescoes dating from the XNUMXthe century.
In Saint-Chartier, you will meet Tiennet or José, bagpipe players and heroes of the novel “Les Maitres Sonneurs”, who have gone in search of music on a long initiatory journey that will take them from the cellars of the castle even in Bourbonnais!
Your next stop is the village of Nohant. Motherland of George Sand since his childhood, the National domain is one of the must-see places to visit. There you will find guides passionate about this great lady, a Home on a human scale that has hosted so many celebrities and a park of more than 5 hectares.
The novelist's footsteps will take you to La Châtre, where she regularly visited her friends from Berry. You will find here a picturesque small town, rich in heritage which will not fail to amaze you, to discover absolutely!
You arrive at the last part of the route leading to the source of the Indre, transition between the department of Indre and that of Cher. But before completing the journey, there are still universes to explore. The bocage will become more hilly, revealing the first foothills of the Massif Central.
Still guided by George Sand, you will pass through Briantes, the setting for an incredible adventure that she recounted in her novel "Les Beaux Messieurs de Bois Doré" and that she located in the castle (private) dating from the XVe century. But you will especially see the dovecote which is made up of 2500 boulins (small pottery niches), which can accommodate a couple and two children.
The route begins to become more sporty when arriving at Pouligny Notre Dame. On your way, well hidden under the Virginia creeper, you can see the Gazeau tower which was part of an imposing military fortress which was one of the oldest strongholds of the châtellenie of Sainte-Sévère, described in the novel Mauprat.
A stop at the Ligny leisure center is strongly recommended to regain strength, picnic or learn to ski.
And then, Sainte-Sévère-sur-Indre, a movie star village, welcomes you. In 1947, the inhabitants were surprised to see Jacques Tati arrive with technicians, actors and equipment for the shooting of the film " Celebration day ". Enter the world of the film and push the door of the " Feast Day House »Which recounts this great adventure which, during one summer, was an everyday celebration and mobilized all the inhabitants of the village.
Further on, Perassay reveals itself, a landscape interspersed with hedges, typical trees where a few dry stone walls and old buildings made up of the main rock of the basement, Gneiss, recall the proximity of the Massif Central. It is there, in Saint-Priest-la-Marche, that Indre takes its source and that your journey on the Indre à Vélo comes to an end stricto sensu.
We now invite you to leave the Indre valley to join the Creuse where other cycle routes will allow you to continue your journey. By joining the Tour de Creuse by bike from stage 4, you will quietly enter the Creuse countryside where nature is omnipresent. On the outskirts of Boussac-Bourg you can make a tasting stop, depending on the season, to taste the fresh blueberries of Trimoulet.
It is in Boussac that you will discover the castle where George Sand and her lover Prosper Mérimée stayed. Under the charm of the castle, George Sand found inspiration there to write her novel "Jeanne" and it was also the novelist who discovered the famous tapestries of the lady with the unicorn. As soon as you leave Boussac to head towards Toulx Ste Croix, your ascent will be gentle and gradual with an elevation gain of 283 meters.
On your way, before reaching the village of Toulx you can stop at the Pierres Jaumâtres. You can drop off your bikes at the Châlet and climb Mont Barlot. This natural site reveals an impressive pile of huge blocks of granite. Recover your strength by enjoying the panorama from the stone dedicated to Hesus, now known as La Boussacquine, which offers 14m of panorama over the Boussac valley.
Savor your descent before getting back on your bike to reach the highest point of the route in the village of Toulx Ste Croix which rises to 650m. You will discover a church split into two parts including the remains of the St Martial chapel. This church is guarded by Gallo-Roman stone lions at the entrance. Nearby you can still gain height by climbing the 74 steps of the panoramic tower. From its windows you will appreciate the 360° view from the Monts d'Auvergne to the plateaus of Berry via the mountains of Limousin.
Now let yourself be carried to Chambon-sur-Voueize, the center of Romanesque art in Limousin. Leaving Toulx Ste Croix, for several kilometres, you still admire a few panoramas that are offered to you before arriving at the village of Bord St Georges. It is here that the Clautre farm has been established for several years and where the managers have only one ambition: to conserve endangered species.
Before arriving at Chambon-sur-Voueize, you will pass through the flowery village of Lépaud which regularly hosts gatherings of gliders. It will be pleasant this arrival downhill with its small 60 meters of negative elevation along the Gorges de la Voueize. Here you have arrived in the den of Ste Valérie whose relics are stored in the abbey which dates in part from the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries. Stroll through the narrow streets and cross the Romanesque bridge where you can take a break along the Voueize.