Special dates in 2018 (the Year of the Dog)
There are plenty of traditional things to do while you’re visiting the Loire valley: châteaux, wine, horses, nature . . .
But there are also more specific activities that you might like to bear in mind when choosing your dates to stay at La Maison Aubelle (distances by car, or on foot where indicated).
March 23-25 Salon des Vins et Terroirs at Thouars: wine & food fair, highly recommended. (15 minutes)
April 23 Le printemps du Thouet: wine, plants, activities (and more wine) beside the river Thouet. (Short walk)
May 12-13 Art en fête: Montreuil-Bellay’s annual fête. The town goes back to its medieval roots: staged battles*, medieval market, and if you really want to get into the swing of things, you can hire an outfit to blend in. (*The Plantagenets won!) Participate in medieval dancing or a feast on Saturday evening.
May 26-27 Au Cœur des Bulles: strip cartoon festival at the Nobis monastery beside the river. Special guest: Beatrice Tillier (Short walk)
June 16-17 Gala du Cadre Noir: a gala spectacle demonstrating the purest tradition of French equestrianism See also September 29-30. (15 minutes)
June 23-24 Anjou Vélo Vintage: bring your vintage bike and wear the appropriate clothes, or just bring your bike and join in. See Sarah and Nick on our guest book page participating in 2017. (15 minutes)
July 13-16 Les Journées de la Rose: an incredible exhibition of roses in cathedral caves in Doué la Fontaine, rose centre of France. (10 minutes)
July 14 Bastille day: the national celebration of the French revolution.
July 20-21 Le Carrousel de Saumur: France's answer to the Royal Tournament. (15 minutes)
July 28-29 Grand Prix Rétro at Le Puy Notre Dame: glorious days of veteran cars and motorbikes racing around the streets of a nearby small town. (10 minutes)
August 5 Les Peintres dans la Ville: an all-day art competition with any view of picturesque Montreuil- Bellay as the subject, any medium, open to participants of all ages with prizes for amateur and professional artists.
September 1-9 Festivini: all sorts of festivities to celebrate the local Saumur wines, including the annual marché des vins beside the Loire in Saumur, where you can taste, and buy if you wish, a wide variety of Saumur appellation wines. (15 minutes)
September 15-16 Weekend du Patrimoine: France's heritage weekend, when you can visit all sorts of historic, sometimes privately owned, buildings not normally open to the public. (Nationwide)
September 29-30 Gala du Cadre Noir: a gala spectacle demonstrating the purest tradition of French equestrianism See also June 16-17. (15 minutes)
For all those of you who like to spot a bargain at the monthly bric-à-brac markets: