The amazing Royal City of Loches
Located at the heart of the Loire Valley, land of many castles, the charming town of Loches is classed as one of the most beautiful sites in France ("Plus Beaux Détours de France") and a "Town of Art and History". This citadel town, whose story goes back a thousand years, has an amazing medieval complex within its walls. With its paved streets, Tuffeau stone façades and intertwined roofs, it's a delightful place to stroll around.
Park with a view
What better way to start than with a stroll through the park! The public gardens offer the best panoramic view on the Royal City and the Saint Ours Collegiate Church, both perched on a rocky spur. Take your time to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of this leafy haven, in the shade of the centenary trees, with the Indre river trickling by. The children will love it too; there's a slide and swings for them to play on, so everybody gets a sunny start to the day! Standing by the kiosk is a statue that'll grab your attention: a bronze bust of Jaques Villeret, a famous French actor who was born here in this lovely corner of the Touraine.
Stroll through the town
After the peacefulness of the gardens, it's time to go and look around the town! From the Porte des Cordeliers, you can see the outline of the Saint Antoine Tower, a former belfry that rises above the town to a height of 52 metres. The street that leads up to the castle is great for window-shopping. If you're into architecture, make sure you see the town hall and the fascinating sculptures on the Renaissance façades of the Chancellerie and the Maison du Centaure. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the town comes alive with a market that's considered one of the region's best. You'll just love the friendly atmosphere and the colourful stalls stacked with all kinds of appealing goods.
Get set for a trip through 1000 years of history
Are you ready to travel back in time ? Step through the Porte Royale, the sole entrance to the City and the Upper town. Witness 1000 years of history unfold before your eyes, as you dive deep into medieval times.
Start off with the Saint Ours Collegiate Church. This Romanesque church has the peculiarity of having two octagon-shaped pyramidal cupolas called "dubes", which give it a very distinctive silhouette. It houses the finely sculpted tombstone of Agnes Sorel, known as the "Lady of Beauty", who was a great favourite of Charles VII.
You can see her portrait at the Château de Loches where you'll also meet other historical characters:Joan of Arc, Anne de Bretagne and, of course, Charles VII.
At the other end of the complex the castle's imposing 11th-century keep, built by Foulques Nerra appears. This is an unmissable place steeped in history, whose sheer size is enough to impress. It makes you look around for knights in armour who might come galloping by. With its towers, dungeons, passages and staircases, it's a storybook adventure every child will love to explore ! Go up the stairs right to the top. You'll be more than rewarded for your efforts with breathtaking panoramic views of Loches. Thrills guaranteed !
An artists' haven
Staying in the upper town, experience a complete change of scene - and a change of century - as you enter the house of landscape painter Emmanuel Lansyer. A pupil of Gustave Courbet, Lansyer settled down in Loches, in the family house. Here, you can not only see his numerous paintings, but also admire genuine 19th-century interiors. In short, Loches is a veritable playground of history, the ideal place to travel across different eras with the kids!
Complete your visit to the town at Saint Antoine gallery where you'll see two paintings attributed to the famous 18th-century Italian painter, Caravaggio.