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 Places to visit 

 

Fontevraud        
Nave at Fontevraud                        

Places to visit

Within Montreuil-Bellay, do not miss the château and collegiate church, as well as the walking route taking in the town’s historic sights. La Maison Aubelle is listed among the buildings to see, and is featured in the annual Journées du Patrimoine weekends, when historic buildings are open for visits.

The nearest major town, Saumur, ten miles to the north, is the equestrian centre of France. The Cadre Noir, the national riding school, is open for visits and has occasional gala evenings to rival the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Among Saumur’s other attractions are the château and the Combier distillery, which claims to have invented Cointreau, now produced in Angers. The Saumur sights may be visited by horse-drawn carriage or the town’s mini-train.

Epitomising the historic Plantagenet links between the English and French, the Royal Abbey at Fontevraud is the burial place of Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband Henri II, as well as having a fascinating history spanning several centuries.

Doué-la-Fontaine is a rose-growing centre as well as having spectacular caves. One area of excavations has been sympathetically transformed into a zoo, which takes part in programmes for the conservation of endangered species. You can visit other troglodyte dwellings in the area, typically the farming village of Rochmenier, as well as mushroom production caves. This area is the mushroom capital of France.

A day trip to Futuroscope at Poitiers, 80 kms to the south, provides a 21st century day out, whereas if you want to step back in time there are a host of châteaux, as well as museums illustrating everything from machines (Azay-le-Rideau) to traditional trades (Doué-la-Fontaine), tanks and armoured cars (Saumur) to silkworms (Le Puy Notre Dame).

We have details of all these and many other interesting places to visit during your stay.

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