Breathing in the countryside air among the Bourges marshes, learning ceramics in the little potters’ village of La Borne, walking on the Jacques Cœur’s trail from castle to castle : the neibourhood too is full of plenty nice spots to discover.
Bourges the capital city of Berry
At Bourges, the Berry capital city, one can admire genuine medieval and renaissance pieces of architecture especially with the half-timbered houses, winding cobbled lanes and also its majestic cathedral registered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Once you have walked up the 396 steps up the steeple, you can enjoy a breath taking view !
You may find lots of parcs in the town, but 270 acres of marshy land in the core of the city have been registered and provide a real quiet refuge : this is unique in France. You mustn’t miss the « Spring of Bourges » a very famous music festival which has taken place every year in April for more than 40 years.
Jacques Cœur : a highly representative Berry figure
In the heart of the town which is officially registered as « Art and History Town », there is a sumptuous palace from the XVth century which belonged to Jacques Cœur, a rich merchant and king Charles VII’s finance councellor. He wished to have a large house built in his native town. This mansion is considered as one of the most gorgeous buildings of gothic style and it will take about 10 years to be achived.
In various parts, it shows his emblems, and his motto « Nothing is impossible to a valiant heart ». But having fallen into disfavour, he could in fact never live in it. This palace was registered on the first list of the French national monuments in 1840. The first national touristic route of France was named after him : La Route Jacques Cœur.
Sancerre, the city of the wine
At hearing the words « vineyards, Loire, Chavignol, » one automatically thinks of Sancerre ! A well known and world famous place for the wine. This cute medieval village was built as soon as the IXth century on a rocky promontory 312 meters high. It is also considered as one of the loveliest diversions of France. Its 6000 acres of vineyards extending as far as you can see spur people to contemplation, the old stones of the medieval-like village led Sancerre to be officially called a « Heritage town ».
This accomplished wine-tasting touristic spot may be proud of sheltering two famous AOC productions : one for the wine and the other one for its goat cheese « crottin de Chavignol ». Furthermore, it is an ideal spot to practise open-air activities such as cycling, hot air ballon or microlight steering.
This town was granted the label « heritage town » in 2018.
Nearby : Chavignol, the crottin “grand cru”
Sancerre is well known for its wines, but did you know that the territory is also famous for its « crottins de Chavignol »?
In the Sancerrois, the breeding of goats is a traditionnal job since the XVIth century. They are represented in all the farms of the time were goats and vineyards stand alongside each other. The crottin would get its name from the berrichon word « crot » which means « hole ».
The Chavignol has the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1976, a term of controlled origin, and Protected Designation of Origin since 1996.
According to the degree of ripening, the crottin de Chavignol offers multiples flavours : half-dry, bluish, very rare or matured. You can taste it from in thousands of different ways, there is something for every taste. Over 14 millions of Chavignol are sold each year.
For more information, please visit the official website of crottin de chavignol.
La Borne, the potters’ village
This small village of only 200 inhabitants is situated in between Sologne and the Sancerre area. It has been famous for ages for its ancient knowledge. This little potters’ village near Ivoy-le-Pré enjoys a priviledged location in the midst of the forest and by a sizeable sandstone vein.
As soon as the XIIth century, the village comes up from the ranks and becomes a high place for ceramics creation. La Borne enjoys a world wide fame for its pottery and its ceramics. Not less than 80 potters and ceramic-pottery makers work at or near La Borne. Go and dare open their workshop doors and do watch them practise their knowhow. You will be dazzled by the World scope exhibitions in the Contemporary Art Center.
Gien, the earthernware kingdom
A 200 years old knowhow lies in the Loire valley at only 25 minutes from Aubigny. In the XIXth century a lot of earthernware production sites came out as a continuation of the past centuries different potters’ production.
At that time, Gien was an important commercial junction and raw materials such as clay, sand, feldspar from the Loire river are plentiful, but most important is the fact that the Loire river going across the town allows the transport of the wood from the Orléans forest to feed the furnaces.
The Gien earthernware is then worldwide famous.
Known as the largest place for it in Europe. It symbolizes the refinement, luxury and the French Art of living. It takes its fame mainly from the realisation of crookery bearing the arms of the most prestigious French and European families, but also from the making of the tiles of the Paris underground railway in 1930. The colours, the plaster moulds, the coloured enamels are all designed at Gien ; so the Gien earthenware is 100% French.