A stay at Le Moulin des Cordeliers, Loches
As a frequent traveller to France, I’ve long associated Pierre & Vacances with family holidays at the seaside, in the mountains or on sunshine islands. Their portfolio includes more than 250 apartment complexes and holiday villages around the French and Spanish coasts, as well as in the French Alps, and a few choice locations in Italy and a clutch of Mediterranean islands.
But Pierre & Vacances also own a handful of city and countryside properties, and I was delighted with my spacious holiday apartment in the heart of the Loire Valley region. The idyllic small town of Loches stands on the river Indre and Pierre & Vacances have sympathetically adapted the historic Moulin des Cordeliers which stands on the very edge of the historic Royal City.
Day or night, the view from my apartment window never failed to delight. Across the river beneath my balcony, I could see the ornate bell tower of Saint Antoine, gleaming white by day, lit up like a candle after dark. Five minutes’ walk over the bridge and I could pass through the imposing town gateway and be wandering the quaint cobbled streets with their tempting cafes and boutiques.
In fact Loches is a gem, whichever way you look at it. The Cité Royal is still partially surrounded by ramparts and includes a twee little Renaissance chateau – love nest for Charles VII (think Joan of Arc’s rallying efforts) and his mistress Agnes Sorel – as well as a towering church where she is buried (almost certainly poisoned!), and a wonderful medieval castle with sweeping views from the top of the keep.
If that’s not enough, there are beautiful riverside gardens which provide the reverse view back up at the fairy tale skyline; a tranquil area of protected water meadows; and instant access to the Indre à Vélo cycle trail for bike rides or walks.
The Moulin des Cordeliers makes a great base for exploring this glorious area whether you’re travelling with family or as a couple. There’s a choice of apartments for 4 people or 5/6, and a partly-covered heated pool within the enclosed gardens. And if you don’t want to take the car, the railways station is just minutes’ walk with regular connections to Paris.
But if you do take the car, a drive of less than an hour will take you to the Chateau of Chenonceau with its graceful arches across the Cher; to the wonderful Zooparc de Beauval, France’s No 1 zoo; and to Chateau de Candé near Tours, location for the wedding of Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor in 1937.
Closer to Loches, I love Montrésor, classified as one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages and recently voted the country’s second favourite village. I also spent an idyllic afternoon walking the fields and woodlands with a friendly donkey hired from Cathia Villa at Les Anes de Balaam. Stay put or get out and about, Le Moulin des Cordeliers offers simple but comfortable accommodation in one of the loveliest areas of France.