Montsoreau in the regional natural park of Loire-Anjou-Touraine, is one of les plus beaux villages de France. The village, with its neat grouping of houses made of the local tuffeau rock and slate, clusters round the pretty Renaissance castle on the sandy shores of the river Loire.

An overnight halt on the route from Nantes to Orleans, Montsoreau was once an important port on the Loire, in the days when salt travelled up and wine down the river and its tributaries in boats of all sizes.

These days the village is much quieter - quieter still, in spite of its exotic name, in nearby Saut-aux-Loups (literally "the leap of the wolves"), where a 15th century troglodyte house has been turned into a mushroom-growing cave, shop and restaurant.


The castle has also found another use - exhibition hall, theatre, concert venue, and wine cave where you can taste the local vintage.

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