They are renowned, the castles along the Loire. There are more than one hundred and forty along the distinguished river that flows through France. A large number of them are located in the Cher, the department that is bordered on the east by the Loire.
On a wander past the castles and interesting towns of the Cher? Then follow the route named after Jacques Coeur, treasurer of Charles VII who was King of France from 1422 until his death in 1461. Or rather: from what was left of France that at that time for the most part sighed under English rule. Recommended: Argent-sur-Sauldre, Aubigny-sur Nére and Angillon. Apprémont-sur-Allier with its royal gardens and picturesque bridges is also worth a visit, as are Mehun-sur-Yèvre and Saint-Armand-Montrond, known for its goldsmith's art.
Charles VII is also mockingly called "King of Bourges", after the current capital of the department. Under the English occupation, Bourges was the capital of France for a short time. One of the most famous sons of Bourges is Jacques Coeur, a man of simple descent who made a fortune in the skin and arms trade. With this he spoke to the little manic Charles VII, as a result of which he became treasurer and minister of foreign affairs. The ambitious Jacques Coeur had a magnificent Palace built for himself in his home town, which is now one of the most important monuments, along with the Bourges Cathedral.
Not only the monumental buildings make Bourges a historic celebration. The medieval center with more than four hundred half-timbered houses, narrow alleys and nightlife is unique. The slightly sloping Rue Bourbonnaux and Rue d’Auron and the pleasant Place Gordaine are worth seeing and photographing. In summer Bourges organizes interesting, nocturnal city walks, accompanied by lanterns and light images. In April the "Spring of Bourges" is celebrated annually, the opening of the cultural season with numerous concerts throughout the city.
Together with the Indre, the Cher forms the former province of Berry, a name that we still find everywhere, including the Canal de Berry, dug in the 19th century and equipped with 116 locks. The landscape of "le Berry" is friendly rolling, green and water-rich. In the Cher, the vast forests of Sologne form a green oasis and the Loire Valley and the vast landscape of the Champagne berrichonne nature park are perfect for walking and cycling trips. The hiking enthusiast can also walk a part of the pilgrim route to Compostella, past numerous Romanesque churches and chapels.
The second city of the Cher is called Vierzon, a modern industrial city with a nice medieval center. And then of course there is the high-lying wine town of Sancerre with a view over the Loire Valley. In the vast vineyards along the Loire, since the Middle Ages, grapes have been grown for quality wines, which can be perfectly combined with a Crottin, the beloved goat's cheese of the region, of which the Crottin de Chavignol is the undisputed topper.