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Visiting Loches and Montresor, France

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 5/27/2015 - www.Littleviews.com ]

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May 26: OMG! Arriving at Loches

>> OMG! I never known a city could be so beautiful, tranquil, and free of overwhelming crowds as ancient Loches, France. I chose our hotel for six nights, the Pierre & Vacances, based on a hotels.com description. Not only is this hotel spectacular (it consists of small apartments that include large patios), the city of Loches is a stunning medieval French town, complete with deep history, a castle, and a donjon.

The picture above is a view from our porch. Its "old town" retail center starts a block away and is where we have gotten our fill of French pastry, bread, and hearty meals. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is even a full-fledged street market in the area featuring fresh produce, live (!) chickens, and street-vendors (art, clothing, and lots of Chinese imports).

This spectacular city is slightly off the tourist radar, although it is mentioned in guide books. The reason for this is there is no public transportation to it from large cities such as Paris or Tours. And because the heart of the city is medieval, a few tour busses are present, but are not lined up like at other popular attractions with a lot of parking. Tourists on those busses also need to be fit enough to climb stairs and walk around. This makes it a perfect haven for anyone on a French vacation who is not afraid to drive through some pretty challenging streets.

Our "hotel," provided by the Pierre & Vacances organization, is one of many found throughout France and Spain. Its residential hotels feature full apartments under the control of the chain, as opposed to the AirBNB and similar organizations. Pricing, blocked out for 7 nights, is very reasonable and I assume that their other facilities are as stunning as where we are staying (we even have an inside/outside swimming pool and beautiful common patio).

May 27: A day trip from Loches to Montresor

The Loire Valley around Tours is spectacular! Lush farmland. Manicured trees and shrubs. Flowers galore, especially May's roses. Medieval villages. Forts and castles. Chateaus. Walled villages. Monasteries. And history! It is beautiful no matter where you travel.

Prior to starting our trip, I researched and "mapped" areas listed on Les Plus Beaux Villeges de France, all of which are usually missed by tour buses. Loches and nearby Montresor are included on the list.

As I am still limping, I felt perfectly happy sketching, while Phil roamed Montresor's chateau (it was established in 1000 and rebuilt in 1500). Landscaping was perfect, which is amazing as the chateau is privately owned, but available for public inspection, and the surrounding village's preservation efforts were well coordinated.

On returning to Loches, we continued to explore parts of the city unavailable to us in the morning due to a large street fair.

Loches features a defensive work, a walled city, cave dwellings, a castle, and a donjon. History tells us that the area was filled with strong war lords who had a willingness to fight for new territory as well as fight to save their own. Evidentally, all ancient Western European kings coveted the place.

To drive through the walled town, a very small car is needed. The following photos shows what one path looks like from the top of the village cliff to the street at the base of the curtain wall.

Most of the walled town's roads are a little more than one car wide. We were quite lucky we didn't meet any on-coming traffic during our travels.

The roads in the old city outside of the curtain wall, which is also filled with medieval buildings, are also very narrow, but at one-and-a-half cars wide, they seem like speedways. Parking is often accomplished by driving half onto a sidewalk. There is, however, a new section of town where the streets are normal. The architecture in that section blends nicely with the historic flavor of the area.

Walking (somewhat):
My thrilling accomplishment today was in buying a leg brace.

French pharmacists are more doctor-like than in the United States and I was fortunate enough to find one who spent time fitting a leg brace on me. As of tonight, it has allowed me to walk a short distance without crutches and I'm hoping that by tomorrow, I will be able to walk again with a simple cane.

The above picture of me was taken in a Loches cafe where we enjoyed ultra-fresh lasagna (with homemade noodles), and fresh greens, all washed down with Leffe beer and a glass of house red. The meal cost only 20-euros! In the States, it would have come in at $45 or higher. Even with currency exchange rate differences, our meals and lodging have been a relative bargain in France.

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Questions? Just ask!

Karen Little - Karen@Littleviews.com

Article series by Karen Little for www.Littleviews.com. Photos by Karen and Phil Little. Series began on May 13, 2015. All rights reserved.

Questions? Just ask!
Karen Little - Karen@Littleviews.com

Article series by Karen Little for www.Littleviews.com. Photos by Karen and Phil Little. Series began on May 13, 2015. All rights reserved.

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