Gites in France – Loire Valley Vendee Brittany

Gite Holidays in the Cher

 
 
Take gite holidays in the Cher and you’ll be holidaying in one of the lesser known regions of France.  In the heart of France, rural and peaceful – its a place to unwind and enjoy the local Sancerres wines by the pool.
Cher is one of the original Departments of France created after the French Revolution.  Previous, large swathes were referred to as ‘Berry’ after the Dukes who ruled over the lands in this region, and the use of Berry is still to be found in lots of the tourist information for Cher.  Cher is home to one of the Loire Valley’s most famous white wines – Sancerre,   with almost all of the appellation on the left bank of the Loire.  Much of the wine is from Sauvignon blanc but there is some Pinot noir used, making light red wines and a rosé – but the whites are what Sancerre is best known for.
 
 
Bourges is Cher’s major town and home to one of France’s most famous Cathedrals – Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges.   No exact start date exists, but probably around 1195, with the Nave completed in 1255 and the full cathedral consecrated in 1324.   The cathdral is fortunate to have escaped any major damage throughout its history,  unharmed by the the French Wars of Religion, the Revolution or the World Wars, so what you see today is much as someone in 1324 would have seen – amazing!  Unsuprisingly it is on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  While in Bourges, check out Jacques-Coeur Palace the home of a wealthy French merchant – who must have been very wealthy!

You wont find the huge numbers of Renaissance Chateaux we see futher downriver, but Cher is dotted with impressive fotresses, grand houses  and strongholds, nestled into the rolling countryside.  These weren’t built as playhouses for Kings, but housed the local nobility of the day.  Better known are the castles of Culan, Meillant & Ainay-le-Vieil, but as in all areas of the Loire Valley, a little local exploring of your own will reveal many more!

One of the prettiest villages in Cher would be Apremont-sur-Allier, with cottages made from a honey coloured stone that reminds me of the English Cotswolds , but Apremont can boast a river side setting and a small Chateau overlooking the village and river.