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Sancerre travel guide

Photo of Sancerre

Visit Sancerre (Centre-Loire Valley, France)

Sancerre is a small town situated in the Cher department above the Loire River to the north-east of Bourges and close to the border between the Centre region and Burgundy. Best known for the quality white wines produced in the surrounding vineyards, Sancerre village is on a low hill from where you can look out over miles of the surrounding vineyards.

Explore Sancerre

Sancerre is an attractive village, and the main pleasure is simply strolling along the picturesque streets of the older part of the town, lined with unspoiled ancient houses. Start your visit at the Sancerre tourist office at Esplanade Porte César to get information about the many wine related activities around the village.

The village originally developed around a medieval castle, at one time among the most important chateaux in the region, but largely destroyed early in the 17th century. At the top of the hill above the village you can still see the castle keep, known as the Tour des Fiefs, and for a small charge can enter and ascend to the top of the tower.

If you remember that this is just one of the original six castle towers you get an idea of how much the castle must originally have dominated the region. During the Hundred Years War the castle was strategically important because it stood on the border between France and Burgundy, Burgundy at that time being aligned with the English rather than the French.

Another historical landmark in Sancerre is the belfry (now the belltower for the Church Saint-Jean de Sancerre) that dates back to 1509. The Church of Notre-Dame in Sancerre is more recent, largely 18th century.

On the grand 'Hôtel de la Thaumassière' (the building with the words 'coeur de france ecole de france" along the top) look up at the roof to see the decorative windows and the carved stone figures down the edges of the roof.

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Maison des Sancerre

In and around Sancerre there are numerous vineyards (more than 300) and many have 'wine caves' where you can try and buy the local wines.

If you are visiting the region to learn about the wines a stop at the 'Maison des Sancerre' is indispensable. This informative wine centre has various displays that explain everything you need to know, from how the wine is produced to which chateaux are open to the public, and there is even a garden to explain the aromas involved!

Slightly less famous than the wine, another local product that is also held in high esteem is the goat's cheese known as Crotton de Chavignol.

Attractions near Sancerre

Apart from exploring the wine chateaux, popular activities in the region include walking and cycling, and canoeing on the Loire River.

We also enjoyed a visit to the informal gardens at the Chateau de Pesselieres - but note that opening hours are quite restricted, especially in August. See under 'visitez' at Pesselieres for details before setting off.

You can find more travel ideas in the Cher guide and the Loire Valley guide.

See also: 

Map of Sancerre and places nearby

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Visit near Sancerre with France This Way reviews

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Tourist classifications for Sancerre

Sancerre is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)

Address: Sancerre, Bourges, Loire Valley, 18300, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 47.3319, longitude 2.83972

Plan your visit to Sancerre, Cher

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Sancerre (Francais)

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