Monday, January 20, 2020

Up a lazy river

The Cher River is a relatively narrow, shallow river that moves slowly toward its confluence with the Loire just west of Tours. The river's source is in the Massif Central (Central Mountain Range) and it flows north, then west, for 368 km (229 miles). There are several small dams, little more than spillways, along its length with locks (and a canal) that once allowed small boats to navigate up and down the river. Since rail traffic supplanted boats for moving goods and people, most of the locks are no longer in use.

The eastern end of Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, as seen from the tip of the island.

One famous feature on the Cher is the château de Chenonceau, a renaissance castle that spans the river not far downstream from Saint-Aignan. If you're interested, here are my past posts about Chenonceau.

Sunday, January 19, 2020


A week ago today, I took Tasha for a walk around the island in the Cher River at Saint-Aignan. We were the only human and dog on the island. Since we had the place to ourselves, I let Tasha run off leash. She was very well behaved.

Tasha was somewhere, probably behind a bush, sniffing around when I took this picture of our parked car.
The buildings in the background are part of the municipal swimming pools, one indoors and one outdoors.

If there had been other dogs on leashes, I would have kept her tied to my waist and given them a wide berth. Some dogs on leashes can get pretty aggressive. She's usually good with other dogs off leash; we encounter some frequently on our walks through the vineyard.

Saturday, January 18, 2020


Here's most of what's left of the medieval castle in Saint-Aignan. Essentially, there's a tower and parts of the old ramparts just west of the current renaissance château. I don't know much about the history of the castle and I've not found much written about it on line.

Looking up toward part of the Château de Saint-Aignan from the island in the Cher River.

While visitors are allowed on the grounds, they're restricted to the château's courtyard and terrace (with great views north over the river valley). There's a very large park (to the right of the round tower in the photo) that's closed to visitors. It's mostly woods; there are no fancy gardens, parterres, or fountains.

Friday, January 17, 2020

A familiar sight

This church will be familiar to regular readers of this blog. It's the Eglise Collégiale de Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The oldest surviving part of the church is its crypt, known for its eleventh century frescoes.

The collégiale seen from the island in the Cher at Saint-Aignan. It's even got flying butresses!

As far as I know, the church is mostly used on high Catholic holidays and for weddings and funerals. Otherwise, it stands open to the public. The church and the adjacent château are the dominant landmarks in Saint-Aignan, towering above the old town that hugs their northern and eastern flanks.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Castle in the air

Like many châteaux (castles) that have their origins in medieval times, the château at Saint-Aignan is built on a bluff above the river. There's not much remaining of the original medieval fortifications. The current building was constructed and expanded during the Renaissance.

Our local neighborhood castle rises above Saint-Aignan on the Cher River.

Although visitors can walk through the château's courtyard and can admire the views from the terrace, the building is private and lived-in by the family that owns it and closed to the public. I always wonder if one day it will be opened up to tours, or converted to a hotel with a fancy restaurant.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Just ducky

In North America, these are called mallards. Here in France, they're colverts (green collars). I saw this small group hanging out on a sandbar in the river during my Sunday morning walk with Tasha. I used my telephoto lens to get the shot; had I moved in closer, they probably would have flown off in a huff.

Two females and three males.

We often see a mating pair in the little pond behind our house. They always see us first, and take off in a startling cacophony of wing flappery. They fly a wide circle over the grape vines hoping we will pass so they can set back down on the pond. But Tasha, thinking she can catch up, chases them through the vineyard, barking wildly. Once they turn and fly out of sight, she gives up and we walk on.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

On y mange, on y mange

There are two small buildings on either side of the bridge that crosses the island between Saint-Aignan and Noyers-sur-Cher. One of them has been a restaurant and/or bar for at least as long as we've been here. The latest iteration, Sur le Pont ("On the Bridge") has its dining room and bar on the bridge level as you'd expect, but in the summer months, there's terrace dining down on the river level with views of Saint-Aignan's skyline looming above.

Sur le pont de Saint-Aignan, on y mange tous en rond.

We ate on the riverside terrace once when the restaurant was specializing in hamburgers, and it was very good. Since then they've added pizzeria to the sign. I'm interested in trying their pizza; maybe we'll have an opportunity this summer.