Fun things to do in Pays de la Loire

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    The beach at Les Sables d'Olonne

    by gwened Written Apr 17, 2014

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    a wonderful beach town not far from me and easy on the A11 road from Paris or the train station in town. I like the history of all these places so here it is a bit on les sables d'olonne

    At the end of the middle ages, marine trade develop and the flourishing D'olonne country exports to Northern Europe its salt and its wine, the surrounding villages (Château-D'olonne, Vairé, Ste Foy) dedicated to more farming, land of Seigneuries.The 13C will see out of the shadow, or rather of sand, a small sister: les Sables-D'olonne. Indeed, to replace Talmont port , prince Savary de Mauléon decides to develop the harbour of Olonne. It attaches to the District of La Chaume in 1218 land and rights to install an urban ensemble. king Louis XI in 1472, separated Les Sables-D'olonne from the town of Olonne to the main port of the country. The 17C marks the peak of the town of les Sables-D'olonne, become first fishng port of the Kingdom. More than a hundred boats went fishing for cod on the banks of Newfoundland.

    During the Revolution, the region remained Republican no less six prisons at les Sables D'olonne, a guillotine and a revolutionary tribunal. Under the Empire, the city must face the continental blockade by Napoleon 1ér as well as the threat of the British war ships.

    The main beach Grande Plage (see photos) of 3 km, with an arch oriented towards the south.You, also, have the beaches of Sauveterre, Tanchet, Paracou, and Granges.
    The city page is here on beaches in French
    http://www.lessablesdolonne.fr/patrimoine/patrimoine-naturel/sites/

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    Chateau de Chateaubriant

    by gwened Written Apr 17, 2014

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    It is a wonderful medieval castle with some lower part from the renaissance, in a picturesque town in pays de la loire. I go here often passing by most of the time but you always never too far from a beauty in France.

    A bit of history
    The Château de Châteaubriant is a highly reworked medieval fortress to the Renaissance era. The castle was established in the 11C on the marshes of Brittany and, like those of Vitré, Fougères, Ancenis and Clisson, he was responsible for defending Brittany against the Kingdom of France.

    The castle was redeveloped several times during the middle ages, and the city of Châteaubriant is developed around, surrounding itself of walls in the 13C. All belongs to the barony in the 12C, then goes to the families of Dinan and Montfort-Laval. During the mad war, in the 15C, the castle was taken by the French after a siege. The logis and the Dungeon, damaged, are restored. Finally, in the 16C, the Castle takes its final appearance, with the construction of new housing and a large Renaissance Gallery.

    The barony of Châteaubriant returned to the House of Condé in the 17C. After the French Revolution, the Château, repeatedly sold, welcomes various administrations. The closure of the tribunal in 2009 then the departure of sous-préfectoraux services enable us to envisage a new presentation of the castle.

    This castle is on the list of the 1 034 first historical monuments of France in 1840!!!. However, the protection was removed in 1887. He again subject to a classification in respect of historical monument since 11 July 1921.

    worth a detour;A SITE in French, with video,
    http://grand-patrimoine.loire-atlantique.fr/jcms/sites/chateau-de-chateaubriant-fr-eja_77026

    the tourist office in French in contact.

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    Cathedral Saint Julien -Le Mans

    by gwened Written Apr 15, 2014

    one of the most symbolic buildings in town and one of the biggest gallo roman churches in France, the Cathedral of Saint Julien is awesome and a must see.

    Its construction began in 1060AD by the bishop Vulgrin, but it was not done in its actual form only in 1430. The Cathedral was not really never finish, efforts to enlarge it went sour for lack of money ever since 1500.

    The Cathedral is a real museum of stained glass, with the oldest is the glass of the scene of the ascension or rising of Christ. The big organs in the back of the Cathedral were done between 1529 and 1535 by Pierre Bert in a renaissance style, sculptured by Symon Hayeneufve. The paintings of the chapel of the virgin or chapelle de la Vierge were discovered in 1842; they were hidden by a mortar wall. They show the 47 angels musicians that decorates the vaults ceilings. These paintings dates from the end of the 14C and they are the works of an anonimous painter in the court of the kings of France Charles V and VI.

    Really a beautiful church to see in the beautiful old town of Le Mans by the river Sarthe. More on the Cathedral official site
    http://www.cathedraledumans.fr/renseignements-paroisse/accueil

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    Chateau de Saumur

    by gwened Updated Mar 28, 2014

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    first of all do not missed this event in the castle
    http://www.chateau-saumur.fr/

    it would be the highlight of your visit to it. The castle is emblematic of the Loire region, the town been already mentioned and pillage in 845AD.

    a bit of history which for me is the importance of visiting these wonderful buildings

    The Château de Saumur was first strengthrenen under Thibaud , count of Blois, in the 10C. In 1026, he became property of the count of Anjou, famous Foulques Nerra who bequeathed it to his Plantagenet heirs. Philippe Auguste, King of France and Capetian, annexed it to the Crown.In 1227, Saint Louis made enhance the fort, then from 1367, Louis I of Anjou, grandson of Philippe VI, made replacing the old round towers by towers octogonales.
    King René of Anjou, the good King René, writer, cultivated man and Builder of Fortress (Tarascon) significantly improves the comfort of the castle that he nicknamed the "Castle of love".

    In the 16C, the Italian Bartolomeo reinforces the defences of the Castle. He built around the medieval castle of the low defenses of forts (bastions) and curtain walls following a plane star modern wonder a century before Vauban. The castle was immortalized in the manuscript of the très Riches Heures du duc de Berry in the folio of the month of September which represents the harvest at the foot of the Castle.

    The castle became a prison under king Louis XIV and Napoleon 1er, then an ammunition depot.At the beginning of the 20C, the city bought the Château from the State, renovates it gradually settled the Museum of decorative arts (donation of the count Charles Lair for a major part of the works exhibited, ceramic and furniture) . The ramparts were renovated in 2001. There were some walls collapsing on the north wall area and project to stabilised it began that ended in 2007

    Another beauty to visit. If you want to know about this castle, too long to write for me, you can translate this site in French, detail architecture and historical of it
    http://saumur-jadis.pagesperso-orange.fr/lieux/chateau.htm

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    Chateau du Roi Rene, Angers

    by gwened Written Mar 27, 2014

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    one of the oldest castle fortress still in good condition, a lovely passing for me on my job duties in Angers. you paid 8,50€ as of now to enter but Worth it indeed, good for the whole family and learn the history of France.

    You have an excellent view of the city as it is at an altitude of between 35 and 45 meters. Dominating the river Maine that runs by at a height of 20 meters.

    It is very old feudal castle from 851AD the bishops allow a land to the Count of Anjou. You have successive raids by Normans, Bretons, after the counts built what eventually will be the count palace. This as a base to conquered the regions of Poitou, Maine, Normandie and, Aquitaine.

    The castle falls into the dynasty of the house of Valois and became a duchy in 1360AD. the king René as the castle is sometimes call the castle of the king René or roi ,and gives it great notoriaty, until, René d'Anjou entered into conflict with his nephew and king of France , Louis XI as conflict with the heritage of the castle developes. king Louis XI decides to come in for it with an army and gets it in 1474 ,making René stop on his projects.

    Here in1661, king Louis XIV orders d'Artagnan to arrest Nicolas Fouquet, his finance minister that the king suspect of stealing his money (see vaux-le-vicomte castle tip in Maincy). AFter his arrest at the castle of Nantes (dukes de BRetagne) , Fouquet is brought here where he spent Three weeks.

    The revolution change a bit and the castle becomes a prison. The castle sufferes bombarments during WWII. It is today one of the most visited in the region.

    you have the wonderful gate or porte de champs and the main entrance today the porte de la ville. Ditches were dug from the construction of the fortress during the reign of Saint Louis. To the South, they then separated the Castle, the suburb of the Esvière. To the North, they imposed the limit between the city and the Castle. They were extended in the 14C and the 16C. Two wells are located: one in the East, the other to the North. Although the Maine pass at the foot of the Castle, it has never been question to build ditches in water, mainly because of the slope of the terrain.

    Under King René, ditches would have been transformed into lices for the running of tournaments that the Duke appreciated . In the 18C, the ditches host gardens and vegetable gardens. Today, the ditches have been transformed into gardens.

    nice a must in Angers.more on the interior courtyard Inside the castle, and the Grand Salle from the 11C, the chapel of Saint Laud, logis royal built in 1410 by Louis II of Anjou, interior chapel and the galerie du Roi René,the small castle or chatelet, ,logis du gouvernor, and the famous galerie de l'apocalypse built in 1953-54!

    see more in tourism of Angers,
    http://www.angersloiretourisme.com/en/discover/places/angers-castle

    the line of Kings of France lies here, as the pretender Louis XX is also,now known as the Duke of Anjou.

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    Musée de David,Angers

    by gwened Written Mar 27, 2014

    a wonderful gallery next to the fine arts museum or beaux-arts but nicer in my opinion, you see great sculptures by Pierre-Jean David, dit David d'Angers (1788-1856), and founded in 1839.

    It has been there for nearly 150 years in the refectory of the Musée des Beaux-Arts of the city. Then back in the 80's the decision was taken to transfer in the former Abbey of all saints, dating from the 12C and fully renovated in 1984 to accommodate the Museum. The roof and its frame were for example made in metal beams covered entirely of glass panels allowing natural overhead light, all being decorated with local materials such as the limestone and slate.

    Collections of impressive sculptures by their size, are placed at low level to create a perspective from the mezzanine which hosts small works, drawings, and collections of medals by the artist. A major work of the Museum consists of the preparatory work for the realization of the pediment of the Panthéon de Paris, including a sculpture carried out in the third size and visible from the height of a man.

    Really interesting sculptures to see. One of my old photos from the region. Have some apart in cities but most are concentrated in the Centre region of my pages.

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    Chateau Cheverny

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Dec 7, 2013

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    The home of the Count of Cheverny, this castle is one of few still in private hands. It was built in 1624 and although less "castle like" on the outside has a more complete view of period life in the rooms inside.

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    Church of Notre Dame_ Vouvant

    by gwened Written Jul 8, 2013

    This is one of the most beautiful towns of France or the plus beaux villages de France, and the church is a must. Also one of the petite cité des character du pays de la loire.

    Originally, the Church was made up of two aisles and nine bays. The crypt, which the shape fits that of the choir, has retained its old low parts. Several sculptures, among which the effigy of a Knight, remain. The entrance gate and the Great Gable demands admiration. The lower part is Roman Bas-Poitou (representation of acrobats, fantastic animals...), the upper part is Gothic (representation of the last supper and the Ascension).

    All the three spans is the only witness of the original church of the 11th century. Separation was built late 19th century during restoration of the worship building. In 1994, archaeological excavations have updated a large number of burials of children from the 17th and 18th century. An oven that could melt the bells on the spot was also found.

    Next to the sacristy, surrounded by dry stone walls, this garden is divided into regular flowerbeds, the "square". Each performer in a way square contemporary one of the themes of the monastic Garden:1. the vegetable garden (vegetables and condiments)2 utilities (textile and dyeing plants)3 simples (medicinal plants)4. the garden of Marie (flowers for an ornament of the chapel.

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    If you can only visit one chateau . . ."

    by Beausoleil Written Aug 20, 2012

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    Someone asked on the forum "If you could only visit one chateau, which would it be and why?" Here is my answer. (Obviously choosing one is very difficult.)

    Chateaus are a little more difficult because there are so many and such different styles. I suspect Villandry is my favorite although I dearly love both Azay-le-Rideau and Chenonceau. It would be fun to visit all three and they are fairly close to each other. I like Villandry because it has everything. They continually work on the renovation so it's in good shape, well cared for, has nice furnishings and even a section in the attic that shows you how it was built. Of course the gardens are famous and you get great views of them from many windows in the chateau. You can also climb the stairs in the tower for fabulous views from the top of the tower. You can see all the gardens, the adjoining village and on across the countryside. When you've finished the chateau, you start the gardens and that can take the rest of the day. There is the love garden directly behind the chateau and the very organized and beautiful kitchen garden beside it, the water garden with swans above it and the sun garden behind the labyrinth. They have small hedges of espalliered fruit trees. You invariably find a cat wandering the garden doing his job. When you can't stand up any more, there is a small cafe just outside the entrance where you can sit in good weather and have an ice cream or coffee. The church in the small village is worth a quick visit, but the Chateau and gardens are spectacular. Many people say to skip the chateau and only visit the gardens but we love the chateau and its lovely furnishings. There are always fresh flowers and it is a very homelike castle.

    If you can visit more than one, there are interesting chateaus in many towns in France and most are not famous but are interesting in their own way. Fougeres-sur-Bievre is one of those, very medieval but off the beaten track.

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    If you can only visit one cathedral . . .

    by Beausoleil Written Aug 20, 2012

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    Someone asked what cathedral we would visit if we could only visit one . . . and why. Here was my choice.

    If I could only visit one cathedral, it would have to be Chartres. The cathedral itself is amazing. When you walk in, there is an amazing feeling of history. If the sun is shining, the stained glass windows throw glowing reflections on the floor. The floor itself is amazing. I'll never forget the first time I saw it. The stones are polished from a millenia of footsteps. All the carvings around the altar are white stone, not painted as in many churches. It's almost like a wedding cake and the intricate detail in stone is unbelieveable. If you are there on a Friday, the labyrinth is uncovered and you can walk it or watch others do so. On rainy days, the stained glass isn't so impressive, but a deep silence descends inside the church and you feel you've stepped back a thousand years. Not as many tourists in the rain either; perhaps that's why it's so quiet. It is a comforting place then.

    The rest of Chartres offers a lot. There is a tourist office in front of the cathedral and they will give you a free map with a walking tour of Chartres. There are a couple other gorgeous churches, the Old Town area with fascinating trade signs at the stores. There is a walk along the Eure River with half-timbered houses and amazing views of Chartres Cathedral from the river. This is even lovely in the rain. There is a stained glass museum that is definitely worth a trip and there is a small but pleasant Beaux Arts museum behind the cathedral. We love the little park there. It's where we usually write out postcards.

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    Château de Chenonceau

    by SurfaceTravel Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This estate has been around at least since the 11th century. In recent history, it was used as a temporary hospital during WW1. In WW2 during the Nazi Occupation, a many escaped through the castle to unoccupied France on the south side. Its entrance was in occupied France.

    A visit here can easily take half a day and the photo opportunities are endless. You can also go for walks in the 70 hectares of wooded park and among the 40,000 flowers.

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    Medieval fortress of Chinon

    by Martinewezel Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This Medieval French-English fortress has become famous because of the movie Joan of Arc. Her spirit must still be dwelling somewhere between the castle ruins on the rock.
    It's here in this place that she recognized the real king Charles VII among the nobles.

    I visited the castle earlier in 1980, and then this place was nothing but a messy ruin. Nowadays some parts have been rebuilt, and the remains are well preserved.
    The garden and the reconstruction of the wooden slingshots are theming the dry castle moat.

    There is a little souvenirs shop at the cash desk. You'll find the same stuff as in the other castles of the region.

    The visit of this fortress is highly recommended as variety's sake. Most other chateaux are younger.
    Also children will like this one because of the Medieval atmosphere of knights and maidens.

    Free parking at the square down the castle.

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  • Visit the chateau of Chambord

    by bicky Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    In this region of France, you should visit a couple of the world-famous chateaux.
    They are considered as World Heritage by the Unesco organisation.

    We visited Chambord, Chenonceau and Azay le Rideau since we were there only for a week.

    Chambord is the biggest of all these castles.
    It was used by the former king of France (François).
    If there is 1 castle you need to see it is this one.
    It is big and although there are hundreds of tourists a day visiting the castle, it is never crowded.
    You visit first the lower floors. There is a headphone system which is pretty useful telling you the historical context, etc.
    When going to the 2nd floor, take the special double staircas. An idea taken from the great Leonardo Da Vinci.
    This floor consists of the private bedrooms of kings, queens and other nobility.
    Finally you reach the rooftop where you can see the many fire exhausts and a beatiful view of the surrounding park that you can visit as well (if time pemits).

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    Angers

    by sheldon_j Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    If you're touring the Loire region then the town of Angers is worth a stop. It's also a good town to base yourself in, not too huge but with plenty of life & nightlife.

    The town features many must-sees: the Château d'Angers (a massively impregnable fortress with impressive grounds), the St.Maurice Cathedral (a wonderfully ornate 900 year old gothic masterpiece), the medieval cloth hanging of The Apocalypse, and The Maine River just for starters. Angers is also the home of Cointreau distillery (the world-famous orange liqueur) which you can tour.

    For more details see my Angers Page, or browse section on Angers (see Popular Places" above and select "Angers"). I have included many tips on nightlife there.

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    Chateau Chenonceau

    by Jim_Eliason Written Jan 23, 2011

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    Built in 1515 by Thomas Bohier, this became royal property in the reign of Francis the first when Bohier defaulted on debt. Henry II gave this property to his Mistress Diane, however in 1559 upon his death Catherine Medeci his legimate wife had Diane booted and took over the castle for herself.

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