To tide us over until the summer holidays, I treated my tribe to a surprise weekend away. Arthur (5), Hugo (16) and their dad love to get away from it all. So I've concocted a nature break for them that rhymes with micro-adventure.

On this Friday in spring, we're off just after school, heading for the Creuse Valley in Grand Châtellerault, just 30 minutes from home. A destination on the borders of the Poitou, Touraine and Berry regions: so close, yet still unknown to the boys...

Friday evening: the weekend begins!

We start with a stop at a restaurant in Lésigny-sur-Creuse, called The Time EraThe restaurant is renowned for its traditional, regionally inspired cuisine. On seeing the terrace overlooking a vast green space, we decided to make a reservation for the evening. Arthur will be able to gallop around the lawn while waiting for the dishes, and the older children will be able to enjoy the tranquillity of this village surrounded by woods and rivers.

But right now, it's time to head back to our pied-à-terre for the night. Nestling between the forests of La Groie and La Guerche, the chambres d'hôtes Elsa and Gildas' home offer a 360-degree panorama of the lush surrounding countryside. Hugo and my darling are speechless, while Arthur has already made the hammock his own! In this hamlet in the commune of Mairé, peace and relaxation are the watchwords. Elsa tells us that, in September, all you have to do is go out into the garden to listen to the deer bellowing. I make a note of it, certain that the experience will delight the siblings.

View of the rolling countryside from Elsa and Gildas's home

Once the luggage had been deposited in the cosy family suite, we headed back to Lésigny for dinner. À The Time EraThe welcome is warm and the food seasonal. I treat myself to a terrine, sweetbreads and a homemade red fruit tart. The children will long remember their ice cream sundae topped with a generous cloud of whipped cream... A delicious, no-fuss experience, just what we're looking for.

Saturday morning: bushwalking

After a peaceful night's sleep and a hearty breakfast with Elsa's jam, the family is ready for the morning hike. On the advice of our lovely hostess, I adapt the route to suit the tastes and abilities of my aven'curieux.

Make way for a superb circuit full of character, Le Gué de la Reinecombined with a part of The Orchid Walk. Motivated by the sight of some remarkable flowers, my poet in short trousers set off on his first long walk!

We have an appointment with Maryvonne Goffre, who is very active in "Mieux Vivre à Mairé". " Informed by an enthusiast that the population of wild orchids is particularly large and varied in the commune, the members of the association decided to learn more and then deepen their knowledge through contact with the local orchid grower. French Orchid Society. This has given rise to a seasonal circuit running from March to July, when the 27 species listed in the catalogue are in bloom. Mairé"

Madame Goffre also explained to Hugo and Arthur that these species are protected regionally or nationally. It is therefore forbidden to pick them, at the risk of seeing them disappear. Specialists come from all over France to admire them! As a teacher, this dynamic retired teacher advises my sons to observe them and then photograph them, so that they can compare them with the photos taken by Hugo and Arthur. leaflet available free of charge at the town hall, in book boxes and in shops.

Germinating and living in symbiosis with a fungus, the wild orchid flowers every year and has a lifespan of several decades. Keep your eyes peeled along the five-kilometre walk, as the queens of the field are often to be found at the sides of the paths..

In Place de la Mairie, maps and signs present all routes departing from Mairé. We are revising the our walk of the day before heading off along the signposted path.

With the river Creuse and its bucolic banks, the picturesque rolling countryside, the breathtaking views over the valley, the private châteaux, the remains of vineyard huts, the crossing of the charming Gué de la Reine stream and the fountain in bloom, the outing lived up to all its promises! And let's not forget the famous wild orchids: the boys track down goat orchids, hanging man orchids and their favourite, the little bee ophrys.

A refreshment stop is a must at L'Auberge du Vieux Port, the village's friendly bar, tobacconist and newsagent.

Seven kilometres on foot wears out your shoes... but not your canoes! The Mayor of Mairé, who we bumped into by chance, had an idea for our next visit: "The old port has a slipway. Don't forget to bring your inflatable kayaks and your paddle boards ! " Hugo is already looking ahead... For the time being, we're enjoying the site, tasting charcuterie and cheese from Au Marché Lésignois, comfortably seated on the banks of the Creuse.

Saturday afternoon: white-water swimming

The post-picnic programme is sure to delight the whole family. At the foot of its bridge, Lésigny-sur-Creuse boasts a leisure area with children's games, a volleyball court, picnic tables and a small sandy beach with lifeguard surveillance in July and August.

The first-aid post's window is as cute as a button! This corner of nature nicknamed "The end of the bridge" has a taste of new-found freedom. Swimming wildly in the river, far from the overcrowded seaside resorts of the coast, is like a luxury. The grail of simple pleasures.

A new cocoon for this Saturday evening's accommodation: La Tourelle des Échelles. This elegant neo-Gothic tufa stone house is home to guest rooms in Lésigny. The family suite overlooks the flower-filled garden! A timely bonus for my darling and me: access to the whirlpool bath to round off this sporting day in style. 


Sunday: clown theatre and flea markets

The next morning, Dominique welcomed us into her cosy dining room with homemade pancakes and yoghurt, brioche, jams and regional cheeses... A real feast! We then walked to the Glob Trott residence.

It is housed in the former Lésigny flour mill. An industrial building, a permaculture garden and an animal park create an original show in a rural setting. Arthur marvels at the songs, tales and dances of the characters. Hugo, his father and I rediscover our childlike spirit in this green theatre.

After a final snack based on local produce and bread from the local bakery, we set off on bicycles loaned by our hosts to satisfy my thirst for bargains. We headed for the entrance to Mairé. I finally discover La Grange du RivauxChristel Zanotto's brocante is open at weekends in the afternoon. To get to the pretty building, we walk down a majestic alley. On the spot, antiques, retro knick-knacks and vintage household linen catch my eye. I left with a rattan mirror to hang in the master bedroom. What a wonderful souvenir of this happy family getaway!

Because it's already time to head home... With two perspectives from the mayor of Mairé: "On the morning of Monday 11 July 2022, a rando-croquisand on Wednesday 24 August, a evening concert at Château de Rocreuse.

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