Chateau Sully-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley in France
Orleans It is one of the best starting points for a journey along the section of the Loire Valley declared World Heritage by Unesco.
However, a large majority of travelers embarking on this path head down the river from Orleans and leave aside the many attractions that are in the opposite direction.
They are not the best known places, but for that reason they allow us to enjoy a more leisurely, deep and quiet way Loire almost secret.
A comparatively little known place is the Château de Chamerolles, about 30 km from Orleans. It is near Chilleurs-aux-Bois, in one of the ends of the forest of Orleans, and it is a castle that is entered through a drawbridge.
Perfume museum in Chateau de Chamerolles in the Loire Valley. Photo: Angel Martínez Bermejo
The peculiar detail of this castle, in addition to its exquisite renaissance gardens, is The promenade des parfums, its Perfume museum, which reviews the evolution of its use in hygiene, medicine, etc.
Touring this permanent exhibition is like taking a trip through the history of personal beauty from the 16th century to the present day.
On the way, you will visit a laboratory full of distillation devices necessary to make perfumes in the 16th century, the cabinet of a student of the plants of the XVII, an antechamber with everything necessary for the makeup of a lady of the XVIII and the shop of a 19th century perfumer
All reproductions are inspired by engravings and descriptions of the corresponding era. There are curious details, such as the crucifix of the laboratory, which reminds that the perfumer did not want to be confused with a sorcerer or an alchemist.
Chateau de Chamerolles in the Loire Valley. Photo: Angel Martínez Bermejo
Another place very little known despite its importance is the Abbaye de Fleury, a Romanesque Abbey nestled in the small town of St-Benoît-sur-Loire, a true jewel of art and history. In fact the town owes its name to the abbey and the character that is buried there.
Saint Benoît is San Benito, the founder of the Benedictine order and the creator of the monacato as we understand it since then. Is the europe pattern Therefore, regardless of religious opinions, it is worth highlighting its historical and cultural importance.
The Romanesque Abbey It is impressive, especially if you think you are in a town of about 2,000 inhabitants. It was built between the 11th and 13th centuries, and at that time Fleury It was an island in the Loire that was considered sacred within the pagan cult.
A visit to the abbey it's a trip to the Middle Ages and to a place that, at that time, was one of the bastions of European civilization.
Gien crockery factory in Loire Valley. Photo: Angel Martínez Bermejo
Continuing the trip upriver you reach the Château de Sully-sur-Loire, another one of those enchanted castles found in this area.
It really emerges from an islet in the river, in one of the few places where it was easy to cross the Loire in times past. Therefore it was a crossroads for centuries and from this aspect derives its great historical importance.
The castle, in the middle of the water, with its conical roof towers, creates one of the most surprising and attractive images of the entire tour of the area.
Rowing tour of the Loire. Photo: Angel Martínez Bermejo
The fact that it is not as well known and visited as other castles in the region adds interest and appeal to the visit. In addition to allowing us to know a little more about the history of France by remembering that Sully, the famous minister of Henri IV, was the one who gave the relevance.
Sully-sur-Loire marks the end of the declared area World Heritage by Unesco, but we recommend that you continue a little further up the river Gien, especially if you like porcelain.
Here you can visit one of the most celebrated factories in France, The Faincerie of Gien, which combines traditional designs with the creations of contemporary artists.
The majority of the visitors that cross this zone of the Loire Valley They do it, logically, by car. This does not prevent other means of transport from being used, even at a specific time.
Traditional boat trip on the Loire river. Photo: Angel Martínez Bermejo
It is possible to tour the entire area, or a small part, cycling, slowly, enjoying the details.
Another less known option that allows a different view of the Loire is to make a tour in a traditional boat, like the ones he organizes Les Passeurs de Loire. It is the occasion to know the fauna and flora of the river, fishing, etc. On a slow sailing tour.
The tours start at Sigloy, near Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, and vary in duration and price. You can also do night tours that include dinner. A different way of knowing the treasures of the Loire Valley.