A long weekend in the "golden triangle" of Vienne
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Nestled between the valleys of the Vienne and Gartempe, three exceptional villages display a world-renowned heritage and invite you to unusual activities suitable for families. True " Golden Triangle » Chauvigny and its medieval town, Saint-Savin and its UNESCO-listed abbey et Angles-sur-l'Anglin, one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" form an unavoidable passage during a stay in the Vienne . Montmorillon, the neighbour, is nonetheless a necessary getaway.
Day 1 in Chauvigny: on foot or by vélorail, a rolling day!
9 a.m.: Discovery of the medieval town of Chauvigny
To begin this journey, head to the Medieval town of Chauvigny. We park in the lower town: objective, climb to the old town. Good shoes on your feet, here we go to discover the city of five castles.
Very quickly, the recent lower town gives way to an atmosphere of the "time of the knights". Arrived at the top, the effort is already forgotten thanks to the pleasure of the eyes. The medieval town is revealed: alleyways framed by period houses, stalls where artists and artisans have taken up residence, intimate and shaded places to quietly sip a drink, the walk is timeless!
You can imagine the splendor of the city at the time when the castles stood proudly on this promontory! All that's missing is the sound of hooves.
11 a.m.: Falconry show at the Giants of the Sky
Mediafixer Sky Giants meet us at Bishops Castle. Here we are, seated in the open-air bleachers with a view of the valley. The show can begin. From the first minutes, it attacks very hard! Owls, owls, eagles, hawks and vultures fly above our heads, even brush against them with their imposing wings. Simply masterful!
This ballet with 100 birds is also an opportunity to learn a little more about their life habits. We also discover that apart from the show, some of these birds have an impressive film career!
A passage through all the aviaries allows us to discover other birds of prey, all as majestic as each other. Faultless for this successful immersion in the world of falconry.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch break at the Bigorne creperie
Our morning walk takes us past the creperie Bigorne. Its shaded terrace catches our eye, but not as much as its menu! Here, the galettes are generously garnished with local products. For the “Puygargue” galette, trout from Talbat, the local fish farm, is honoured. In the "Chouette" galette, place goat's cheese from a neighboring farm. A pure delight.
The decoration of the creperie is reminiscent of medieval taverns: large wooden tables, massive beams and stone walls. In the shade of the catalpa, we would do well for a small digestive nap, but other adventures await us!
14 p.m.: 2-hour railbike excursion
The well-filled belly, it's a ride in cyclerail who will occupy our afternoon. We opt for the long route, 2 hours round trip for just over 17 km. The athletes that we are are confident! Safety instructions transmitted, here we are ready to embark on these strange machines.
In one shaded setting surrounded by nature, these bikes are laid out on the rails of the old railway line which once linked Poitiers to Le Blanc, in Indre.
The first pedal strokes turn out to be harder than it looks, but quickly we find a cruising rhythm that allows us to take advantage of the view of the medieval city of this morning. From here, it is even grander.
18 p.m.: Stay in the Notre-Dame de Chauvigny bed and breakfast
After all these emotions, it is time for us to reach our accommodation. It will be in a bed and breakfast in the city center : Our Lady of Chauvigny. Located at the foot of the medieval city, this former school dating from the end of the XNUMXth century was completely renovated a few years ago. As soon as we arrived, we were charmed by the vast courtyard where we can imagine how many hopscotch games and other children's games took place there! The interior lives up to the exterior and more. We discover a neat decoration and rooms whose names are none other than the Fables of La Fontaine.
Day 2 from Angles-sur-l'Anglin to Saint-Savin: a journey through history and other pleasures
9 am: Exploration of Angles-sur-l'Anglin via the puzzle game Tèrra Aventura
The smells of breakfast tickle our nostrils. On the patio, our table awaits us: squeezed orange, fresh fruit salad, brioche, fresh bread are nicely arranged. We discover the crushed Poitou, the local specialty, accompanied by a good coffee. Here's something to start the day on the right foot!
Today is direction Angles-sur-l'Anglin. After half an hour of driving, the arrival is as beautiful as it is impressive. From the bridge that crosses the Anglin, this old medieval town labeled "Most Beautiful Villages in France" then appears in all its splendour, perched on its promontory, with its impressive fortress of the XIth century . It seems to challenge its visitors as it has done for centuries.
The best way to set off on its "assault", in order to discover its secrets, legends and stories, is to opt for the life-size adventure offered by the treasure hunt Tèrra Aventura (free geocaching application to download).
Terra Aventura, "The days of Angles are told"
Phone in hand, small characters, the Poï'z invite themselves on the screen to guide us through the various puzzles and tell the story of the place in a humorous way. The mistress of the game entrusts us with our mission: "To go in search of Bishop Hugues de Combarel to give him a lace miter made in "Jours d'Angles" embroidery, a technique specific to the village".
A journey that leads from enigma to enigma on emblematic places...
11 a.m.: Visit of the fortress of Angles-sur-l'Anglin
To go further in the discovery, we decide to go back in time to the fortress of Angles. The free visit to this episcopal fortress, following a route through the very well preserved ruins, is a dive into its eventful history between belonging to the Kings of France and the Crown of England (note: “The medieval fortresses” which take place at the end of July and occasional nocturnal visits during the summer).
Then we follow in the footsteps of our prehistoric ancestors, who created 15 years ago, in a rock shelter located close to the village, a sculpted frieze, recognized as “the Lascaux of sculpture”. Unique in the world, it is highlighted in Roc aux Sorciers Interpretation Center.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch at Tea Room 15
To satisfy our hunger after these visits, direction Tea Room No. 15, advised by a local. Here, travel is also essential with its “so British” atmosphere, both in the decor and on the plate. On the menu, gourmet salads and club sandwiches rub shoulders with hamburgers and fries and savory tarts. On the terrace, lulled by the sound of water, we sip an iced tea accompanied by a delicious homemade pastry. On the recommendations of the occupants of the next table, we set our sights on scones, “so delicious”!
14 p.m.: Head for the Abbey of Saint-Savin, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Slight regret, not having had more time to stroll through the alleys that shelter the workshops of many craftsmen (decorative items, old lace, paintings, etc.). But another architectural nugget awaits us: the abbey of Saint-Savin and its 700 m² of Romanesque frescoes unique in the world, listed in the Unesco World Heritage.
Helmet on the head and tablet in hand, for a course adapted according to its time, its desires and in particular those of the children, we leave for the immersive visit of the abbey, nicknamed “the Sistine Chapel of the French Middle Ages”. And for good reason, on entering it, 17 meters high, what Romanesque art has at its most beautiful and most grandiose is offered to our eyes: the largest set of wall paintings in Europe from the XIth and XIIth centuries, like a picture book painted by monks. In an extraordinary state of preservation, they retrace the Old Testament where emblematic scenes appear: Noah's Ark, the passage of the Red Sea or the Tower of Babel.
Outside, all the magic of digital allows you to dive into the old cloister, which has now disappeared. The circuit then continues in front of the Abbot's dwelling, property for several years of the inventor of the elevator, Félix Léon Édoux.
The visit then gives pride of place to the life of the monks between the refectory (temporary exhibition hall) and cells converted into an interpretation space.
19:30 p.m.: Dinner at the gourmet restaurant Le Cérasus
After an invigorating break in the abbey garden and a stroll along the Gartempe to the old bridge which offers a unique view of the abbey, we head to the Logis de l'Abbé, the place of our surprise.
This timeless sanctuary has been welcoming a gourmet restaurant, the Cérasus where the young chef Thibaud Piroux, who cut his teeth with starred chefs including Philippe Etchebest and Richard Toix, offers inventive cuisine built around ancestral techniques such as smoking or lactofermentation. In this sober and warm setting, our taste buds feast on local products magnified with delicacy and creativity.
22 p.m.: Night at the guest house l'Arbre d'Ange in Montmorillon
On this touch of refinement and timelessness, like the abbey, we leave Saint-Savin and the famous "golden triangle" which has more than kept its promises, for a well-deserved night in Montmorillon, our bonus getaway, at the bed and breakfast l'Arbre d'Ange. In the heart of the city, this XNUMXth century residence has been renovated in an English style. White, pink, flowers and of course angels inhabit the rooms to give them a very cozy atmosphere where you immediately feel at home.
Day 3: Montmorillon, to nourish the mind and body!
9 a.m.: Visit of Montmorillon, city of "Art and History"
Only a short five-minute walk and the crossing of the Old Bridge allow us to reach the area where the heart of Montmorillon: the City of Writing. Initiated about twenty years ago in the oldest district of the city, it is a set of bookstores, workshops, craftsmen, museums, where the book and its trades are kings. Whatever your age and the style of literature sought, there is something for everyone. Along the streets, we also discover workshops where half-day calligraphy or painting courses are offered.
Le Typewriter and Calculating Machine Museum is a must for anyone nostalgic for the days when smartphones didn't exist. The must is still to be able to test some of these machines, which we hasten to do.
Our walk takes us to the Notre-Dame church where we can observe the murals dating from 1200 and compare them with those seen the day before in Saint-Savin. A little further, on the square Regines-Deforges, a writer from Montmorillon who largely contributed to the establishment of the Cité de l'Écrit and organized the 1er Salon du Livre, the panorama is ideal for a contemplative break on the river and the city. It's also time for selfie break ; it's not every day that we have a decor of city of “Art and History” background !
Let's leave the City of Writing for the site of the House of God where an octagonal XNUMXth century chapel awaits us. Mysterious statues adorn its facade, and just for the questions they raise, it is worth the detour.
The site of the House of God
will host a high place of gastronomy: the International Joel-Robuchon Institute, oh so famous chef born in Poitiers. In this magnificent and impressive building, a hotel-restaurant and a top-of-the-range spa will open their doors in 2025. This is the three-star Michelin chef, Régis Marcon, who will take control of this establishment where the gastronomy professionals of tomorrow will also be trained. The Institute will be organized in two other locations, the Fleur de Lotus site at Futuroscope and the Grand-Pont site in Chasseneuil-du-Poitou.
13 p.m.: Gastronomic break at Le Lucullus restaurant
Since we arrived in Montmorillon, a restaurant name keeps coming to our ears: Lucullus. If the address is ideal for a romantic meal, have lunch there with the family in a gastronomic restaurant also delights young teenagers! No sooner had we settled into this chic and refined setting than we were offered delicious appetizers to whet our appetites. On the menu, creative and refined cuisine available à la carte, in a tasting menu or a vegetarian menu according to desires. Those in a hurry can opt for the menu of the day where nice proposals also make our mouths water. In his kitchen, Alban Galpin, master restorer, favors seasonal foods and local products. Special mention for the sweetbreads, always à la carte, decorated differently according to the seasons.
15 p.m.: Tasting of delicious Montmorillon macaroons
Visit Montmorillon without tasting the macaroons would be heresy! This delicious almond cookie is the gastronomic jewel of the city since the XNUMXth centuryth century. So to continue this day dedicated to eating well, we continue with the Macaroon Museum. Cultivation of almond trees, health benefits of almonds, family history Rannou-Metivier, the completely redesigned course gives pride of place to centuries-old know-how and the desire to include it in a sustainable approach. Needless to insist, we won't get the secret recipe. To console us, a tasting is offered to us. Too bad for the recipe, these macaroons are so good that copying them would not even make it possible to match them.
Our third day is already well advanced, it is already time to leave with a head full of images and memories to share again and again. Preserved landscapes, wealth and diversity of heritage, originality of activities, we confirm it to you, the reputation of the "golden triangle" is well up to what we have experienced!