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A Magical Time in Montrésor, France


Article by Cate Marian

Photography by Cate Marian

Montrésor is known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and it’s easy to see why.

The enchanting walking path, quaint shops and medieval castle give it an unforgettable charm.

Tucked into a sleepy hillside, it’s exactly what would come to mind when dreaming about a small town in the French countryside. About three hours from Paris, it’s well worth the drive or train ride out there for a peaceful, local experience. 

The Château de Montrésor and Walking Path

After parking in downtown Montrésor we intended to head down the street to a cafe, but instead were enticed by a lovely walking path that lured us down a cobblestone alleyway off the sidewalk. It wound along the banks of the Indrois River, over beautiful bridges and behind people’s backyard gardens, with breathtaking views of the incredibly unique Château de Montrésor, which is where the path ended. 

The medieval fortress was built in 1005 by Fulk Nerra, a count of Anjou, who was “feared by God and despised by the Devil.” The château is rich in history. It soon fell into the hands of Henry II of England, then in 1188 King Philip Augustus of France took it back. It was demolished in 1203, then rebuilt in 1393 to serve as a residence. It passed to the Bastarnay family in 1493, then to the Beauvilliers family until 1831.

There are many castles throughout the Loire Valley that are larger and more impressive, but this one truly seems like a home. The inside is packed with furniture, art and beautiful objects that give it a lived in feel, like you could just sit down in a chair and play chess by the fire. 

A Fairytale Farmhouse

We stayed in nearby Beaumont Village at a place called La Grange du Moulin de Breviande. It was like stepping into a fairytale. The light seemed brighter, the sounds softer, the air fresher, the smells stronger. Set on a pasture surrounded by trees, the beautifully renovated 16th century stone house is the type of structure you’d expect to suddenly appear in a clearing, bathed in a surreal glow, after you’ve been wandering the woods lost all night.

Our first evening there we set up a charcuterie board on the terrace under the setting sun. Sheep grazed nearby, occasionally stopping to check us out as they ambled along a well-trodden path. We sipped wine and chatted as the daylight faded, lulled into contentment by the sound of a nearby stream emptying into the pond by the house. We fell asleep to the clashing of a thunderstorm, safely tucked under our covers as rain tapped against the slightly open window. If magic exists in the world, this place is undoubtedly a gateway.