The Loire valley has some of the most affordable housing in France but there is a big differential betwee. . . read more
The Loire valley attracts tourists from around the world who come to enjoy the food, sunshine and, above . . . read more
Leggett immobilier is a family firm with a reputation for professionalism and friendly service. We have been selling houses in France for two decades now and are long standing members of the FNAIM.
Leggett immobilier is a family firm with a reputation for professionalism and friendly service. We have been selling houses in France for two decades now and are long standing members of the FNAIM. We have a bilingual team in the Loire valley and we know the area and local property market intimately. We cover all six departments and have a growing portfolio of property for sale. We also have a central support team to ensure that your house search passes smoothly and successfully. This team is headed by ourChief Executive, Trevor Leggett – one of the most experienced and respectedproperty experts in France. It includes lawyers, accountants, marketing experts and a call centre team who will arrange a viewing schedule to make the most of your visit.
The Loire Valley, spanning 280 kilometres (170 mi), is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France and is referred to as the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards (such as cherries), and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river.
Known notably for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the middle stone-age period. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites. The Loire Valley is one of the biggest valleys in France.
The “Garden of France” held many attractions for us. Having lived and worked in other regions of France; Normandy, Poitou Charentes and latterly the Limousin. We wanted to be nearer the Channel Ports and also to be living in a more temperate climate.
The area to the north of Saumur, between the rivers Le Loir and La Loire, was well known to us from the many camping holidays we’d had both from the U.K. and whilst living over here. A region of vineyards, orchards and field vegetables and cereals. A very fertile land, good for gardeners.
The garden here at Les Gouas had been neglected for many years. The elderly lady from whom we bought hadn’t been able to farm it or keep it clear of brambles, thistles etc. There was a lot of work to be done on the house, but our priority was to get the garden going. Initially we cleared three areas: one for soft fruit, one for a poly-tunnel and one for a vegetable plot. A neighbouring farmer dropped us off a good load of farmyard manure and we were off!
Having the poly-tunnel meant we could raise plants quite easily from seed. Though the plants on sale at the weekly markets were very good value, we couldn’t always find the varieties we wanted. A word of caution, varieties that are popular locally are so, because they do well under local conditions. For example, in the U.K. we’d always grown the cherry tomato “Gardeners Delight”. Here it didn’t do too well, though another cherry tomato “Sweet One Hundred” was a terrific cropper and to our mind a better flavoured tomato.
We were determined to be as green as possible, not to use chemicals, to use only well water for irrigation and keep things simple. The good life is here and what’s more it saves you money Our outgoings for electricity, water, firewood and local taxes amount to about two thousand euros a year. We grow most of our own fruit and vegetables, make jams and chutneys and though we no longer keep hens, free range eggs are available just down the lane.
Our central heating is wood fired as is the range cooker; an indispensable items for any country kitchen. We keep busy! The simple life isn’t an easy option, but to us it seems a more natural way of life. You spend more time outdoors working with nature and you become more aware of your environment and what goes on in it. The pace of life is dictated by the seasons; people really do have time to stand and stare. We know it wouldn’t be possible to have the quality of life in England that we have here on our modest budget. It was our choice twenty odd years ago and we’ve never regretted it. As we’re both well into our retirement years, we are now looking to scale down our outside work. Les Gouas is on the market with Leggett Immobilier.
Contact Denise LONG today to learn more about life at Les Gouas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anjou, Touraine, the Valley of the Kings, the Plantagenets and Joan of Arc; the Loire Valley abounds with history and romance. As it flows gently westward, La Loire passes many of the Châteaux and Abbeys that make the Valley a world-famous location.
Saumur is an ideal centre from which to explore the delights of the region. The grand Châteaux at Azay-le-Rideau, villandry, Usse, Amboise and even Chenonceaux are all within an hour’s easy driving. When you include Chinon, Abbaye de Fontevrault and Richelieu, you realise why so many visitors come back year after year. Andy why so many people have decided to buy holiday homes in the region.
There is another River Loir, not as famous as its big sister, but just as alluring. Less than fifty kilometres to the north of Saumur is Le Lude, which nestles on the banks of the river; Le Loir. This little town with its 15th century Château and historic buildings is a good base from which to explore the area. Le Loir meanders through meadows, fields of sunflowers, orchards and vineyards, through an undulating countryside, passing ancient Manor House, fairytale Châteaux, Churches and Troglodite dwellings. The stretch we’ve come to know well is from La fleche to Montoire-surle-Loir. Having spent numerous holidays camping in many of the small towns and villages in this lovely area, on retirement, we bought a property halfway between Le Lude and Saumur. Though Saumur is a lively town with special interest for anyone keen on equestrian activities, having great shops, hotels and restaurants, the “little Loir” never fails to enchant us.
La Fleche, Le Lude, Vaas, Château-du-Loir and La Chartre are riverside towns with lots to offer the leisurely visitor. There are small Châteaux, artisans workshops to browse from metal workers, glass blowers, artists and potters. Not least, there are great little restaurants and unexpected delights round every bend of the river. The area between the two Loire rivers is a vast fertile plain, “the Garden of France”. Apart from dairy and beef farming, the cereals, field vegetables, orchards and vineyards create a mixed farming landscape that is as colourful as any Aubusson tapestry.
Having a gentle climate and being less than three hours drive to the Channel Port of Ouistreham (Caen), its no wonder that so many Brits have made it their home.
Mole wasn’t wrong – there’s nothing like it on a summer’s day !
The Loire Valley of course takes its name from the majestic Loire river which meanders its way 600 miles from the Masssif Central to the Atlantic at St Nazaire. The central section of the Loire is dotted with castles and beautiful parks to visit, which earned it UNESCO World Heritage acclaim. However the Loire Valley also benefits from its tributaries, the Vienne, Indre and Cher ; much smaller rivers with less current and less traffic which make them ideal for family boating, fishing, canoeing, and paddling in the shallow bits !
The Loire à Vélo is a very well known cycling route which provides thousands of tourists every year with unforgettable holiday memories – unspoilt views, breathtaking châteaux and winding paths along the river banks. Boat rides in the traditional ‘Barques’ of the Loire are available every day in tourist season at Chinon, Candes St Martin, the confluence of the Loire and Vienne, and Montsoreau. The antiques markets or ‘brocantes’ run alongside the Loire at Montsoreau and the Vienne at Chinon every month. Or why not take to the air in a hot air balloon ride to really appreciate that bird’s eye view ?
A regular blog of life in the Loire Valley by Leggett Agent, Denise Long
THE LOIRE VALLEY ROUTE
The initiative to create this route sprung into life to link a series of bike routes, mainly dedicated to this ecological and healthy two wheel form of transport.
The Loire Valley Route is in total 800kms and runs from St Nazaire on the west coast of France to Cuffy in the Alliers department 03. This Loire route is part of ‘eurovelo 6’ (ev6) also known as ‘The Rivers Route’, and runs for a total of 3653 kms, from St Nazaire through to Constanta on the Black Sea. It travels along much of the Loire, some of Soâne, a little of the Rhine and almost all of the Danube. 800,000 people take to the Loire valley route each year! WOW!
EQUIPMENT AND LEVEL OF FITNESS – NO EXCUSE!
Bike – bring your own or rent at various outlets, website addresses at bottom. The aim of the cycle routes are to guarantee no vicious hills and if inevitable there is an alternative suggested (hopefully with a pub diversion!).
So we have talked about this for months, we can join the route about 50m from our house in Saint Radegonde in Tours. Gareth had prepared the equipment like we were about to ascent the north face of the Eiger. The bikes had been in the workshop for weeks undergoing last minute tests, I had new tyres, brakes checked, and there were no more excuses left. So the day arrived and I got ready to go. Shorts, trainers, bike helmet, bike. Gareth got ready to go, cycling shorts with padded inserts, sports t-shirt, bike helmet, cycling gloves, a back pack with a change of clothes, litres of sun block. He proceeded to undress outside the back door and lather himself up with a gallon of sun block, if the sun wasn’t to kill him chemical poison surely would. I was worried!
Leaving the house without eating, the idea was first stop would be before leaving Tours to have a croissant and coffee in a bar, but forgetting it was August and all trade was suspended until September we had to press on.
The route we were taking was Tours to Amboise, Gareth told me that at 17kms it would be a good beginner’s distance. The actual route is like a wide footpath which is really well signposted, and well looked after. Leaving Tours we thought it was going to be a bit crowded as there was a flood of cyclists leaving the city. What amazed me from the start was the shared camaraderie, the majority of people smiled and blurted out a singsong ‘bonjour’, the atmosphere was wonderful, as was the scenery.
Going east from Tours, forget the beach, we have sand along the side of the Loire littered with families bathing and picnicking along the sides of the river. The traditional wooden boats ‘toue cabanée litters the river sides. The Loire is described as Royal, mighty, impressive, and it is all that, Gareth has just told me it is the last untamed river in Europe, hoorah for Wikipedia! On the far side of the river at intervals there are troglodyte houses in the rocks but that deserves a blog entry all to themselves.
The first notable stop was a popular local picnicking and bathing spot for families called ile de la Metairie, and then the open air swimming pool on the outskirts of Montlouis, which I passed at an impressive speed because by this time I still had not managed to find breakfast. From here we pressed on to Montlouis Sur Loire, which is a really picturesque traditional village with quite a few viewpoints looking out over the river. We found a croissant shop, of which we got the last two remaining croissants and was one of the best examples I ever tasted. The eating experience didn’t take place until we reached a nice spot to sit down under the shade of a tree. The first leg of this stage of the Loire route was proving to be better than I had dared hope it would be. The hills are gentle and fun, the straights are fast and the views are spectacular. We travelled quite a few kilometers through vineyards, I forgot to add that by this time I had been made acutely aware that Amboise was in fact another 15kms from Montlouis, Gareth’s mathematical ability had spectacularly failed him or was he resorting to my tactics to getting what he wants, um!?
After Montlouis we went on to the village Lussault sur Loire, where we were amazed to pass an aquarium, a day out for another occasion. It took us 2.5 hours to reach Amboise, which introduced itself with the extensive Sunday morning market along the banks of the river, riding along the riverside the cruel finale to our by this time 30km cycle was a section of cobbled pathway which after this amount of time on a slightly padded knife edge felt like the rumble strip from hell.
The château at Amboise ambled into view, a breathtaking vision of 15th century medieval architecture, but my prize was a hot chocolate in the café Bigot opposite the chateau, calories don’t matter sometimes, and I think I had earned it after my first ordeal along the Loire valley route, I felt no guilt.
So how did we get home? The train is specially equipped for the cyclists on the route, so for 12 euros between us we got the train back to Tours. When I found out it was only going to take 19 minutes I felt that was the final straw, surely all that effort deserved a longer train ride back to base!
Going forward, there is another stage of the journey to be done this week, but I will tell you about that in the next instalment. For further information on the cycle route: http://www.cycling-loire.com/
Markets etc: http://www.experienceloire.com/amboise-market.htm
Chocolate shop, Amboise: http://www.maisonbigot-amboise.com/
A regular blog of life in the Loire Valley by Leggett Agent, Denise Long
I LOVE THE LOIRE ! … There you go in a nutshell, this is one of the most interesting and vibrant places that I have lived, and I am quite the nomad. So, I feel somewhat qualified to try and convey to you my enthusiasm for this location for a full and satisfying life.
A quick synopsis of my life thus far, commenced in Northern Ireland, from there to London, then Leeds, back to Northern Ireland. Seven years later and off again, this time to Lyon in France, after this it was a couple of locations in Scotland, then back to Lyon, over to Poitou-Charente and now Tours in the Touraine.
What I have been looking for is a life where I can enjoy the ‘French way of life’ but still benefit from a life full of experiences and also have opportunities of work. This is quite difficult to find in rural France, and I always felt that there was more to be seen and experience, that I didn’t think existed in a quiet, sleepy backwater. Where I lived in Poitou-Charente was a typical traditional French village, but my children and I have always hankered after somewhere to walk after dark to have a drink in a bar, to go to the cinema on foot, eat in a different restaurant every night. This I have found in Tours, it is full of culture and fun but at the same time with warmth and friendliness that has truly taken me by surprise. There is a fête every weekend and markets and brocantes every day of the week, but I am not here to convince everyone to move to the city, but to the Loire valley as a whole. When the rest of rural France drifts into the winter lethargy and grey weather, the Loire lives on with plenty to do, something to suit everyone.
The first myth I need to dispel is the climate. I lived in Poitou-Charente for 10 years and the climate in the Loire valley, which is about an hour north on the A10 from Poitiers, is on average about 2 degrees less, but sometimes it is hotter. To really see a significantly hotter climate you would need to travel another 3 hours south of Tours, to perhaps Angouleme and further.
My experiences living in France has lead me to the conclusion that you need to have lots to do, beautiful views and summer sun isn’t enough. To do my part in converting the international buying public to a stimulating life in the Loire, I have decided to cycle the Loire Valley route. Not in one go as it would kill me, but in manageable chunks. And not on my own, enter my able and fabulous co-conspirator Gareth, who in fact is my unfortunate life partner.
To be continued …
The weekly markets in most towns in France are the theatre of everyday life, where people take time to stop for a chat and exchange pleasantries whilst smelling the fruit for perfect ripeness, choosing the ultimate cheese to follow lunch, and getting recipe tips from the fishmonger for his catch. Yes, food is a serious business, and the queues at the best stands speak volumes.
Here in the Loire Valley we are spoilt for choice when the markets set up: fresh river fish, poires et pommes tapées – a local dried fruit speciality, the most amazing selection of goats cheeses, not forgetting the stunning wines of the area. You’ll also find a great selection of plants, herbs and spices, pottery and tableware in amongst the clothes, soaps and toys…
The markets to head for in the area are Langeais (Sunday), Bourgueil (Tuesday), Chinon (Thursday), Richelieu (Friday) and Saumur (Saturday). Bon appétit !
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Buying a house in the Loire valley could prove the most rewarding and enjoyable investment you ever make – but a different language, laws and buying process can be quite daunting. We have been helping clients through this process for two decades now and have an unrivalled reputation for friendliness and quality of service. We have a bilingual team and all of our agents live in one of the six beautiful departments within the region. They will help you find the most suitable property and will even help sort out your broadband and all utilities. On top of this our central sales support team will guide you through all the documentation and legal process.
Many of our agents contribute to a blog about their areas. These blogs are a great place to find out what life in France is really like.