An Amorous Escape in an Old Fortress
The town of Loches (pop. 7K) surrounds a steep hill upon which the castle is situated surrounded by ramparts which enclose a large area containing also a massive tall keep and an older Romanesque church. The only entry to this protected area is through the Porte Royale, a reinforced gate. The14 and 15C castle was the last addition, the first part for Charles Vii who judiciously lodged his mistress there (thus avoiding the discomfort of the Dauphin) and the second part by Louis XII who used the keep as a vicious confinement prison for select enemies.
"How We Came There"
We arrived at Loches by car and parked below the ramparts in a large parking area at the edge of town. We spent half a day visiting the castle grounds: castle, church and keep. A heavy rain drove us to have mostly indoor experiences and we did not explore the town.
"Outside the Walls"
There were old houses whose tile roofs were still maintained. Parts of the old moat were cultivated as gardens
A great t(r)ip!
During the 3-day trip that i took driving back from the south of France, i ended up in a small hotel in one of the many small places along the way. It was already a little later and i wasn?t very hungry anymore. So i had some soup in the bar part instead of having something to eat in the dinner-part of the hotel. Of course there was some conversation and somewhere during that evening the girl behind the bar told me of Loches. She had visited it herself and had liked it very much. It wasn?t very far, though just a bit of the route i intended to take. But i decided to check it out nevertheless. And am i glad i did. It is a very old town with entrance gates. though of course the town has expanded beyond the gates. A level a bit up the hill, there is the entrance to the citadel. And within this walled ring you find the Royal Lodge (hunting castle), a church and of course the very impressive Donjon (Keep).
I had intended to be only in Loches for an hour or so. But i stayed much longer then that. And i didn?t see much of the surrounding city since i wanted to visit Chenonceau as well that day. I thought i really needed my time for that. Looking back i wished i had spend a bit more time in Loches though...
As stated above.. Loches was a great tip. And relatively unknown. Since i did visit Chenonceau that day i could compare the 2 a bit. Chenonceau is a very pretty castle while Loches had a hunting castle and a keep. But i did enjoy that more. Furthermore, while Chenonceau was already flooded with vistors even half may, in Loches there were few tourists so i had the place to myself sometimes. Much more to my liking until i ended up in the dungeons.....