‘La Petite Maison de Sue’ at Les Hautes Guissinieres is a pretty little maison d’amis attached to our 18th century farmhouse near the Town of Parçay-les-Pins in the Mains et Loire region of France.
A cosy beamed living area on the ground floor includes a wood burning stove, large comfy sofa bed, dining table and kitchen including: Gas cooker with hob / microwave and fridge. Electric heaters efficiently ‘take the chill off’ if required, there is a TV with both French and English options. The spacious double En-Suite bedroom upstairs is equipped with a travel cot should it be required, and offers the most beautiful views across the surrounding fields. There is also a double sofa bed downstairs if needed. This could be used by extended family members or good friends (please be aware that it is in the main living area and would require sharing the en suite bathroom).
Fresh linen and towels, along with a welcome pack including: eggs/wine/biscuits etc. are provided for all our guests, and should you forget any essentials, we will be happy to help you out. The local shop in Parçay-les-Pins is run by a very friendly family who stock most of what you may need, and sell bread when the boulangerie is closed on a Monday. Slightly further afield (15-minute drive) there is a supermarket. For full information on other stores and markets, an information pack is provided in the cottage.
Sitting amongst fields on the edge of a beautiful ancient forest, the cottage offers an ideal base for those wishing to completely relax, surrounded by the peace and quiet of this beautiful part of France.
While there are lovely walks through the forest for many miles, the national and regional cycle route runs by, meaning you can explore beautiful countryside. From the lovely Lac de Rille, with its tranquil atmosphere, steam train, fishing and wildlife reserve (including observation posts for the wide variety of birds), to the nearby wine region of Bourgeil, which can be reached either by car or on bike, taking in the breathtaking scenery as you go.
Parçay-les-Pins is a small friendly town with a beautiful church, and family run general store and boulangerie. There is also a cafe bar beside the museum dedicated to the work of the famous sculptor, Jules Desbois.
As well as the nearby attractions, we are within 30 minutes of the Loire River, providing the opportunity to explore the famous chateaus and towns. You will never grow tired of enjoying the splendour and history of these castles, as well as the variety offered by their gardens.
The larger towns of Angers and Tours are within an hour, offering a large choice of shops, restaurants and markets, as well as their own interesting history.
The train station at Le Mans about an hour away so is in easy reach of Paris international Airport.
The Loire Valley exemplifies the good things in life; a leisurely pace of life, a mild climate, fine wines and a gentle people. The region is one of rolling countryside; the rich river valley and its vineyards, the fertile arable land, the orchards and the forests. Timeless villages hidden off the beaten track, or lively local towns. There are themed tours to follow, marked walks, wine discovery and ‘degustation’ routes and national park areas. Named after the river that runs through its heart, the Loire is one of the most famous places in western France. At 1020km in length from its source in the Massif Central to its destination in the Atlantic Ocean, the Loire is France’s longest river. Formerly the playground of kings, princes and the nobility, the Pays du Loire is still the wealthiest are of France. Entering it is like stepping back in time. Originally built as fortress in the Middle Ages, its castles, hunting lodges and manor houses were gradually converted into lavish pleasure palaces during the Renaissance period.
Saumur - An impressive town overlooked by the splendid 14th century château with its black slate turrets and white tuffeau walls. Narrow streets wind their way down from the château to the Place Saint Pierre where there are half-timbered houses and a medieval church. As well as the château, Saumur has several churches, a Decorative Arts Museum, Tank Museum, Mushroom Museum (deep down in limestone caves), a 5,000-year-old ‘dolmen’ – a Neolithic burial chamber. There is the famous Cadre Noir – the National Riding School and Cavalry, founded in 1814. There are also caves where local sparkling wines are made and can be tasted. At night the town is a beautiful sight, with lights and buildings reflected in the waters of the river. There are bars and pubs, cafes and a great choice of restaurants.
Tours - This cathedral city has a mixture of the new and old. At the heart of the city is the medieval town ‘Le Vieux Tours’ which shows evidence of Roman ancestors and Renaissance architecture. At its heart is the Place Plumereau, a lively square surrounded by tall, half-timbered buildings dating from the 15th century. A few minutes away by foot sees you on the main street of Tours. Here you’ll find chic fashion boutiques and large department stores, craft shops, bookshops, picture galleries and shops for stylish kitchen equipment. As well as all this, Tours hosts a multitude of other beautiful buildings and things to see. There is the Cathédrale St-Gatien, the Hôtel Goüin, home to the city’s archaeological museum, the Wine Museum of Touraine, and Place Pierre-le-Puellier, an evacuated Gallo-Roman and medieval cemetery which once formed part of a Renaissance cloister.
Angers, the capital of the Anjou region, is situated on the river Maine, a few kilometers before the Maine joins the Loire. It is a thriving university town with wide boulevards, modern shops, beautiful public gardens and narrow older streets evocative of its long history. It is a town of two faces, with a wealth of cultural and natural heritage. There are museums, the chateau (home to the Apocalypse Tapestries), cathedral and churches and more than 45 timber framed houses – there are modern hi-tech industries such as Bosch, Scania, Yves Saint-Laurent and the headquarters of the famous Remy-Cointreau Distillery – a nice end to the day perhaps!! Old and new combine perfectly in Angers – it is a thriving, alive town with something for everyone.
The Château of Chinon, a medieval fortress, was built high above the River Vienne to protect the valley. History tells that it was here, in the Great Hall, that Joan of Arc recognised the Dauphin. It was also here that Richard the Lion-heart came when fatally wounded. The château has three different forts or keeps, waterless moats, underground passages and dungeons. Chinon is a lovely old fortified town with cobbled streets and alleys which wind their way up and down and along the hillside. In the town are also the Musée du Vieux-Chinon (a local history museum), an Animated Wine Museum, Musée de la Deviniere, the Maison Rouge and the Église St-Maurice. There is a wealth of eating houses and small shops. The town and region are famous for the ‘Chinon’ vineyards where superb red wines are produced.
The Abbey of Fontevraud is the ancient burial place of the Plantagenet’s who were the Counts of Anjou, Ducs of Normandie and Aquitaine and then for over three hundred years Kings of England. Robert d’ Arbrissel founded the Abbey at the end of the eleventh century. In 1150 at the rise of power of the Plantagenet’s the Abbey supervised nearly 5000 people in priories and convents in France, Spain and England. The French revolution put an end to the existence of the Fontevraud. In 1804 during the First Empire, Napoleon converted the Abbey into a prison for common criminals. It remained this way until 1963. Since then it has profited from extensive restoration and is now one of the most visited monuments in the Loire Valley.
The Lac de Rillé was created in 1976/77 by constructing an earth dam on the River Lathan at Gué Morin near Breil in Maine et Loire. The lake stretches from Rillé in Indre et Loire to Breil and is bisected by a ‘digue’ forming two ‘separate’ lakes. The top part is known as the Lac de PIncemaille (literally ‘pinched waist’) and has a leisure beach, camping site and holiday cabins at what is known as ‘Huttopia’; the lower part is preserved as a nature reserve (classified as one of Europe’s key sites for wild life in the ‘Natura 2000’ series) and a special site for birds by the LPO, (‘Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux). The main part of the lake is also a great attraction for fishermen and is well stocked with carp, ‘silure’ (huge catfish) and various other coarse fish. There are numerous species of birds, from herons to rare migratory birds, and ospreys have visited the lake in some summers. The main purpose of the lake is for irrigation and when the lake is full at the end of winter, the River Lathan feeds irrigation schemes in the Loire Valley for horticulture and agriculture.
The Lake is also a well known spot for fishing, including night fishing. It offers real sport with carp up to 20kg, the renowned ‘silure’ or European catfish which can be enormous, as well as pike, zander, black bass, roach, perch, and tench. You can get more information from the local Federation de Peche and licences and permits can be obtained at the Gamme Vert in nearby Noyant.
There are more than 300 châteaux in the Loire Valley, more than you can visit in one holiday, so a little advance preparation and planning will pay dividends. Within one hour from Parçay-les-Pins you can visit 18 châteaux.
The Loire Valley was the centre of power in France until the 16th century and after that continued to be the area favoured by the French kings and nobility for hunting and leisure. Their presence in the lush, fertile valley attracted the very best builders, skilled in the use of the natural tuffeau stone to build the châteaux.
Whichever château you visit you can be sure the setting will be beautiful.