A few years ago, I became a keen hiker. This activity allows me to combine physical exercise, escape and discovery. Walking is sometimes the only way to get to places that are well worth the diversions.
To get away from it all, I slip on my high boots and slip away to the trails of Grand Châtellerault. Believe me: I'm not about to give up!
Here are the top 5 of my favourite walks...
La Forestière at Oyré
The route starts in the village of Oyré, heading for the heights... After saying hello to the residents of the riding school, it's time to explore the Guerche forest and its fragrant pines. I allowed myself a little diversions to say hello to the "rond du chêne" in Leugny, a well-known meeting place for nature lovers. Finches and robins accompany me throughout this shady first section. I then left the woods to follow paths through farmland and built heritage, such as the Château de la Groie.
Distance : 14 km - Duration : 3h35 - Difficulty : Intermediate
I liked : To have the impression of strolling through a Landes forest as I walk along the majestic pine avenues. And taking the time to visit the remarkable little Romanesque church at Oyré.
My gourmet break : In Leugny, L'Antre Nous offers tasty home cooking. Yum, French toast for dessert! This country restaurant operates on short circuits, in a very friendly atmosphere.
The Médiévale at Vaux-sur-Vienne
This walk took me back to the 11th and 12th centuries, right into the Middle Ages. A real journey back in time. In those days, the priory of Saint-Denys-en-Vaulx was rich and powerful. Along the way, you can see the traces of this historic past: remains of the abbey, Notre Dame church, Château du Peu, stone crosses, the "lantern of the dead", troglodytic caves...
Distance : 10 km - Duration : 2h40 - Difficulty : Difficult, little shade
I liked : As well as its medieval heritage, this characterful route offers magnificent views over the woods, the Vienne river, the château and the village of Ingrandes.
My gourmet break : Visit Manoir de la Blonnerie In Vellèches, Marie opens her inn by reservation, and her farm shop from 4pm to 7pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Everyone in the family loves her organic apple juice.
La Bucolique at Lésigny-sur-Creuse
This trail is all about water: start at the village fountain, next to the church, then walk along the grassy paths alongside the pretty stream, La Luire, and its ponds. It's a delight to cross small bridges and pleasant undergrowth! After climbing up to the hamlet of Magny, which overlooks the Poitou and Touraine hillsides, I'm rewarded with a superb mountain landscape.
Distance : 7 km - Duration : 2h00 - Difficulty : Intermediate, little shade
I liked : At Le Magny, the 360-degree panorama is breathtaking! At Lésigny, which I have nicknamed "the little Venice of Grand Châtellerault", I extended the pleasure by taking a walk along the banks of the Creuse.
My gourmet break : Enjoy the terrace and the local produce served by the l'Time Era in Lesigny-sur-Creuse.
La Sensationnelle at Angles-sur-l'Anglin
From the fairground of this "Most Beautiful Village in France", I make my way down to the Anglin. Following the river on the first part of the journey, I admire the fortress on its rocky outcrop, before entering an exotic environment worthy of Louisiana! Branches of moss curtsy as I pass. The return journey takes me to the upper town, with its incomparable views over the valley, and around the Château des Certeaux.
Distance : 7 km - Duration : 1h50 - Difficulty : Intermediate, very shady
I liked : The perfect blend of nature and heritage. At sunset, from the Saint-Pierre chapel, the view of the river and the fortress is breathtaking.
My gourmet break : For a 100% homemade menu, the Salon de Thé N°15 is a must. The setting is charming, the view breathtaking and the food delicious.
La Familiale at Usseau
This excursion, close to Châtellerault and without any particular difficulty, proved ideal for a stroll with my family. We started with a stroll through the centre of Usseau (church, fountain, picnic area...). We then crossed the fields before making our way leisurely to the Pichereau and de la Foye woods. Punctuated by local villages, the descent takes place along grassy paths, with a 15th-century fortified castle on the horizon.
Distance : 7.5 km Duration : 2h00 - Difficulty : Easy, partly shaded
I liked : Le château de la Motte in my sights the whole way down. Now I understand why the Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre has listed the second half of this trail as "one of the most beautiful in the Vienne"!
My gourmet break : The 100% women's team from the James Kfé is breathing new life into the neighbouring town of Thuré. Drink a coffee at the bar, enjoy Catherine's traditional cuisine or stock up on local produce in the mini-market: it's all possible here!
Are you ready for these beautiful escapes? So get out there, walkers, and long live slow tourism!