The canton of Châtillon-sur-Loire, very nature small towns.
Located by the edge of the forest of St Brisson, Autry-le-Châtel is crossed by the Notre- Heure, one of the rare trout’s rivers of the Loiret. Its banks used to be bordered by numerous water mills to be discovered along marked hiking tours starting from the “Etang des Coudreaux”. Pierre Boulle, the author of “The Planet of the Apes”, has lived in one of them for a long time ; while the Little Chateau, in the middle of the town, welcomed Mme de Sévigné throughout her travels.
Build on an overhang above the Loire, Beaulieu-sur-Loire is an ancient fortified place. A historical tour allows to discover the 11th century church, the canon House (14th century) and the tens or so flowered wells punctuating streets and squares. Also to discover, the boat halt on the canal, several marked hiking paths and various events organized all year around.
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In Cernoy, Berry and Sologne meet. Sologne style are the facades of the houses around the church place – made of red and ocher bricks. From Berry is the legend of the good St Loup whose spring healed of fright. Cernoy-en- Berry is also called “Çarnoué-les-Bérouettes”, in memory of the numerous washerwomen who used to block the outskirts of the washhouse with their wheelbarrows full of laundry.
Pointed out from far away by its high inclined bell tower, the quiet little town of Pierrefitte-ès-Bois is invaded every year on May 1st by thousands of visitors. Coming from all the area, they come here in order to buy cattle and savour snails during the traditional “Snail and goat fair” (Foire aux chieuves et aux carcalaudes). The highest point of the Loiret, altitude 273 meters, is to be found here, at the place named “Le Col des Etourneaux”.
Ancient mariners and fishermen village, Saint-Firmin-sur-Loire is linked to Briare, on the other bank of the Loire, by the canal-bridge built between 1890 and 1896. The heavy iron and wooden doors built at the entrance of the village were set up in order to protect it from the rising of the water level; the marks of different flooding can be seen inside the church and a cross built to pay tribute to the disappeared mariners testify of the proximity between the river and the inhabitants of this village built very close to the Loire.
“Country of Giennois”
In Gien, famous for its earthenware and all around, numerous monuments are to discover: the Chateau of Gien and its Hunting and Nature Museum; the Chateau of St Brisson and its medieval war machines; Briare with the Canal- Bridge, the Enamel Museum and the Two Marines Museum; or the Chateau de La Bussière and its unique collection of fishing artefacts.