La Châtre is a medieval town that is
simple lovely. The approaches are a little bit industrial (which seems
to be the case for most sizeable towns these days), but the town centre
itself is everything you would expect from a traditional French town,
offering superb shops, restaurants and cafés.
The weekly market is held on Saturday
mornings. You can enhance the experience with a visit to the Café du
Commerce situated in the corner of the market square – particularly
during warm weather when the tables are set out on the pavement - and
watch the world go by over a cup of coffee or a kir (a speciality of the
region is kir berrichone – that’s crème du cassis with red wine – and
very tasty too!). In winter, indulge in a cup of Chocolat Chaud.
TOWN MAP - INDRE (36)
LA CHATRE - OVERVIEW
Market Day: Saturday till Noon
Supermarkets: 5 (Champion in town
centre, plus SuperU, Intermarché, Lidl and Netto)
Leisure Facilities: Swimming pool
Marché de Noel
Sarzay Castle: 7Km west of La Chatre
The Chateau of Sazay was built in the 14th
Century as a fortress against the English during the Hundred Year's War
and it survived this period intact. The novel "Meunier d'Angibault"
(George sand) was inspired by the Chateau of Sarzay.
Although the chateau survived all the
conflicts of history, time did take its toll and the building fell into
disrepair. The locals used much of the stone from the protecting walls
for their own purposes. The moat was used as a "rubbish tip" and the
main buildings began to crumble.
It was after the sale of the chateau was
advertised that a young man from Paris decided to take his family to
take a look.
The property had been declined by
heritage organisations and when he saw it, he knew he must have it. But
this was a man of little means - he worked for the electricity board and
had a family to support. But, by hook and by crook the family achieved
their mission and over the last 30 years they have painstakingly and
lovingly restored the property to become what is now one of France's
most visited historic monuments.
The annual pumpkin fair of Tranzault (west
of La Chatre) is held the second Sunday of October.
If you are in the area during this time, it
really is worth a visit. Thousands of visitors turn up each year on this
one day to find the village of Trazault closed to traffic and open to
Pumkins and Gourds of every possible variety. There are hundreds of
exhibits, plus there is live entertainment and demonstrations throughout
the day. It always seems to be hot and sunny for this annual pumpkin
fair even though it is October.
See the photo
library for pictures.
north of La Chatre.
The château at Nohant was
the home of the famous authoress George Sand (Amandine Aurore Dupin) and
was regularly visited by a number of famous people including Chopin,
Delacroix, Liszt and Balzac. The house contains the precious mementoes
that evoke the life and times of this famous Berry woman who made a
lasting impression on this region.
The gardens are free to
enter. There is a charge for visiting the house interior.
Just outside the property
is a charming church which featured in the film “Jour de Fete” (Jacques
Tati – 1947)
In the immediate
vicinity there is a good Office de Tourisme where there are regular art
exhibitions and a gift shop and there is also a good restaurant.