Week three this summer was in the Loir Valley – about 40 km away from the better-known Loire Valley. I didn’t know much about the area before we went but as it turned out, it was a bit like where we live – very quiet – but flatter.One of the major attractions of the area is Zoo de la Fleche – I’m often a little wary of going to zoos as sometimes I find them quite upsetting but this one was actually pretty good – the animals looked happy and healthy and on the whole were in what looked like suitable pensb – plus there was a conservation and research aspect to it (such as young elephants which had been rejected.) We particularly liked L’ile des lemuriens where you can get up close to the lemurs which are wandering around, and the playful otters. The zoo also has “Safari Lodges” with toughened glass where you can stay overnight right next to the polar bears, white tigers, wolves and other animals. The Artic Lodge is particularly fabulous – it’s like a high-end ski lodge and the polar bears can swim right up to the master bedroom window.
We also visited some chateaux, an ancient apothecary and went on a lovely traffic-free bike ride to have a picnic by the river. We tasted wine, and we went on a river cruise in a fabulous boat which looked almost like a jacuzzi. We visited the Forest de Berce which has amazing giant oak trees which are several hundred years old and up to 50 metres high. Nearby is the very well thought-out visitors’ centre Carnuta which explains the history of the forest and how it is managed, with plenty of buttons to push, boxes to open and little films to watch to keep the kids happy. It was a fun week with plenty to do, depsite being a bit unlucky with the weather.
We stayed at Chalets de Mansigne in a spacious and comfortable mobile home-type structure with a terrace overlooking the lake. It was quiet and calm with a covered pool on-site and a short walk round the lake, a playground, simple restaurant, supervised beach and children’s activities.