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Whether you come from the north, the south, or the east, the Indre à Vélo takes you to Loches from Beaulieu-lès-Loches, either by a street lined with beautiful residences and the castles of Sansac and Armaillé, or , more bucolic, by the path that unites the two towns crossing the Prairies du Roy (Natural and Sensitive Area classification)

The panorama which is offered to you provokes a indisputable "Wahoo" effect. Set on its rocky outcrop overlooking the valley, the impressive Royal city of Loches has watched over this place for over 1 years. A millennium rich in stories that you will discover by visiting the medieval dungeon, one of the best preserved in Europe. Fortress, then prison, the keep of Loches culminates at more than 34 meters. The climb is definitely worth the effort. From above you kiss a 360 ° panorama. During the visit a Histopad® guide your steps and reveal to you, through the magic of 3D reconstructions, the rooms that no longer exist.

The visit continues at Royal Lodge, a palace where women played a major role in the history of France, Jeanne D'Arc à Anne of Brittanywithout forgetting Agnes Sorel, which rests in the Saint-Ours collegiate church. It was in this residence that Joan of Arc came to convince Charles VII to go and be crowned king of France in Reims. The tour is made up of digital animations. Each year, the site hosts a temporary exhibition and participates in Christmas in the Land of Castles, an event that combines beauty of party decorations et magic fairy tales for children.

© Arnaud Deplagne

Agnès Sorel's magnificent alabaster recumbent statue is installed in the Saint-Ours collegiate church, Romanesque church topped with surprising pyramids, dubes, architectural fantasy that you will not see anywhere else! Its polychrome portal, very well preserved, in pure Romanesque style, is decorated with sculptures of characters and animals taken from the medieval bestiary.

The upper town has another curiosity not to be missed: the Lansyer Museum. Emmanuel Lansyer, painter of the 19e century pupil of Gustave Courbet and Viollet-le-Duc, bequeathed his family home to the City. Built on the ramparts, the house-museum has retained all the charm of this period. Completely restored, the museum presents works by Lansyer produced in Touraine and during his many travels. a "family" space pleasantly complete the device. In the romantic garden, an access allows you to get on the terrace of the Royal Gate, in line with the lower town.

City of art and history

As you walk, you discover the medieval doors of the City and Renaissance mansions. The Chancellery, and its facade, inspired by the Laurentian library in Florence, demonstrates how Loches was at the heart of the artistic movements of that time. The Chancellery hosts the heritage interpretation center. A stone's throw away, you can discover the richly decorated facade of theHôtel de Ville. This Renaissance building, from 1543, attached to the Picois gate, is a wonder. Continue the visit with theSaint-Antoine church and gallery, with its fine collection of paintings, including the famous Caravaggio of Philippe de Béthune, is freely accessible.

The historic center of Loches © Loic Lagarde

The streets of the historic heart make up most of the city center. The bustle of medieval merchants and hawkers, who traveled from Paris to Spain, gave way to pretty shop windows and welcoming terraces of bars and restaurants. Taking a gourmet break fully participates in the discovery of the art of living of the Lochois. Touraine is Rabelaisienne: gastronomy is essential here. There are so many good addresses that your only embarrassment will be to choose one!

Moreover, if you spend a Wednesday or a Saturday morning, the market and its 130 fresh produce stalls will fill your eyes and nostrils before stimulating your taste buds. An essential stopover to compose your next picnic to enjoy, why not, on a bench in the public garden ?

Nature and authentic

Au 19e century, botanical gardens bloomed in the main French cities. Loches inaugurates his on the banks of an arm of the Indre. Its hundred-year-old trees open up panoramic windows on the royal residence which is reflected in the calm waters of its pools.

You will also find the keep and the Saint-Ours collegiate church which rise above the roofs mixing flat tiles and slates, a characteristic of this part of Touraine.

Proudly enthroned at the crossroads of the alleys of the public garden, the bandstand resonates with the beautiful season of free outdoor concerts. A great opportunity to come back to the night fell to admire the silhouette of the Royal city of Loches bathed in the calming light of the moon.

Loches en Voix Festival © Léonard de Serres