We live just outside a small village with good facilities on the border between the Departments of the Indre (36) and the Indre et Loire (37) in the Centre region. It is a truly calm area with a population density in the Indre of 34 people/km2, (Harrow, where I lived as a boy, has 4,910 people/km2!) While I live in a small hamlet of just 5 houses, there is still plenty to do in the village and the local area. The peace and tranquility here are a treasure. The sky at night is a carpet of stars and the Milky Way is easily discernible on a reasonable night. The land is gently rolling rather than seriously hilly and is part of the vast river valley regions which feed the mighty Loire. The majority of the land is given over to farming - mainly arable - and forests. Each village around here will host at least one brocante (like a car boot sale) or fair in the summer months when all the villagers turn out for a convivial glass of something. Whether it be a brocante, the snail fair or a festival of roses, there is always an excuse to enjoy the sunshine and meet friends. There are many chateaux in the vicinity including Montresor - its lovely village is ranked among the most beautiful villages of France. The beautiful lake of Chemillé is close-by. Zoo Parc Beauval, with its Giant Pandas, is fifteen minutes away and is reputed to be one of the top 15 zoos in the world. The Brenne National Park (1000 lakes) is also nearby. One of my fascinations is the wildlife. The wonder of a mother Kestrel teaching its young to fly, swooping and spiralling, encouraging its family to follow in every twist and turn. Baby Deer wandering across the road. House Martins and Swallows, Egrets, Herons, Cranes and Storks, Hoopoe, Lapwings and Buzzards - all are commonplace at varying times of the year. Last, but not least, the diminutive Red Squirrel is abundant here.
My wife, Sophie and I decided to come to France for a number of reasons. Firstly, Sophie had a long daily commute into the City and a very stressful job. My own business needed a major overhaul so the stress levels were high all round. Secondly, we have never shied away from an opportunity for adventure and finally we wanted to get away from the crowds and the rush for the sake of our health and sanity. We knew we wanted to do something like a little hotel or a B'n'B. We wanted easy access to families in the UK and looked on France, where we had enjoyed many holidays, as a good bet. The Loire Valley is a great place to be with good climate (generally around 5 degrees warmer than Hampshire). History, gastronomy and culture also featured highly. Importantly for us, it also had very reasonably priced houses. Our pet Pointer dog, Charlie, put in a bid for a decent garden to run around in. Some extra space to convert and renovate for our B&B/gite idea was highly desirable. The family love coming here as there is so much to do and see. Finally, when all the doing and seeing is done, just to sit quietly and listen to the birdsong is a beautiful thing. It reminds us of the stress and clock-watching we have left behind and the great life we now enjoy!View Loire Valley Information Homepage
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