Indre: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Indre (Loire Valley, France)
A little way west of the 'famous' castles of the Loire Valley, the Indre has its own surprises: both with the lovely Chateau de Valencay, and the picturesque scenery and quiet villages in the area. A lovely department to unwind in!
The Indre department of France is towards the south-west of the Centre (Loire Valley) region. A little way south of the better known 'chateau-belt' of the Loire Valley, the Indre department also has some important and fascinating highlights to be discovered, and some diverse landscapes.
Along with the adjacent department of Cher the Indre formed part of the historical Berry region of France, and you will often come across references to Berry in the tourist information for Indre.
Natural highlights - the Brenne region
The Brenne Natural Regional Park, around the town of Le Blanc to the south-west of the department and including numerous smaller villages, falls largely in the Indre, and offers a diverse natural environment to a wide range of fauna and flora, especially birds.
The Brenne has more than a thousand small lakes, and extensive marshland regions, as well as large open areas and forested regions. When visiting you will find a centre for tourism in the parc at Bouchet (near Rosnay).
See Brenne Regional Natural Park for details.
Beautiful villages and towns
We also enjoyed a stroll around the historic centre of Levroux, a short distance south of Valencay in the northern Indre.
Heading for the south of the department, two villages classified among the 'most beautiful villages in France' are found at Saint-Benoit-du-Sault and Gargilesse-Dampierre. Gargilesse-Dampierre is best known for the frescoes in the church, and for a small house that belonged to author George Sand.
Also here in the south be sure to visit the riverside village of Argenton-sur-Creuse and the historic centre of Lys-Saint-Georges (north-west of Nohant-Vic), then the pretty villages of La Chatre and Sainte-Severe.
Close to Argenton-sur-Creuse you can visit Eguzon Lake, where a large range of leisure activities and beaches are found.
Several of these places in the southern Indre are in and along the lovely Valley of the River Creuse, which also has attractive scenery and walking opportunities
There are several other villages of interest in the Indre, such as Palluau-sur-Indre, to the west of the department, that is overlooked by an impressive castle and also has a church containing impressive medieval frescoes. Also in the west we recommend you visit Ingrandes, which developed around a medieval castle, and Saint-Gaultier to enjoy the pleasant riverside walk.
The Indre is proud of its links with the 19th century writer George Sand, and you can see the family 'mansion' at Nohant-Vic (this property is now a listed National Monument).
Other places in the vicinity with a 'George Sand' connection include towns that the author visited and villages and monuments which provided the setting for many of her novels.
The 'George Sand Historic Route starts from Nohant-Vic and includes the museum in the donjon at La Châtre, Lourouer-Saint-Laurent, the castle at Saint-Chartier and the Chateau d'Ars, Angibault mill, the fort at Sarzay and the village of Gargilesse-Dampierre.
The Chateau de Valencay is the most famous (and most visited) historical monument in the Indre, but there are also others that deserve attention in the department:
- Just south of Valencay the Chateau de Bouges seems rather understated by comparison with its famous neighbour, but has some beautifully furnished rooms and attractive gardens
- A little further south again the Chateau d'Argy has an outstanding galleried courtyard with ornate renaissance period stone carvings
- The formidable 12th century Chateau Guillame is in the south-west, near Lignac.
- The Chateau d'Sarzay is an impressive medieval castle (south-west) that has an almost uncountable number of tall stone towers
- The renaissance style Chateau d'Azay-le-Ferron (west) has lovely French style gardens to explore
- Fontgombault Abbey is a roman style abbey church near Tournon-Saint-Martin (west) and the Basilica of Neuvy-Saint-Sepulchre is another imposing roman style monument in the south-east of the Indre.
Map of Indre and places nearby
See more places, tourist attractions and local markets at visiting Indre
See an index of all Indre communes
French version: Indre (Francais)