Saint Gaultier, visiting France

Town Centre
Town Centre

SAINT-GAULTIER

Despite being January, the sun was shining outside. The temperature was not higher than 8°C, but it looked like a lovely winter day. So after a late breakfast, of freshly baked croissants and coffee, we decided to take a walk on Saint Gaultier. As we have young children, we took the car there and started our walk in the town centre.

Saint Gaultier, a small village on the banks of the river Creuse, was one of many fortified villages in France. In the town centre, among relatively new buildings, the village has many ancient towers and streets dating back to 1500.

The name of the village comes from the Abbe Gaultier in who's honour was built the Church around 1050.

Saint Gaultier's Church, school and the Creuse river
Saint Gaultier's Church, school and the Creuse river

The Church

The Saint Gaultier's Church has a Roman-Limousin style. In 1913 it was declared a Historical monument.

Like most churches from this period, this one is dark and cold. As soon as you open the door and step in, you feel the temperature dropping at least 5°C and a musty smell of all those past centuries hitting you. My son is terrified to enter these buildings, while my daughter is a fan of the great stained glass works. Churches are always empty in this area of France -except at service times- This in turn adds to the eerie feeling of the building. The Church in Saint Gaultier has a square tower, as you can see on the photo.

Starting the walk, going down to the river bank.
Starting the walk, going down to the river bank.
On the banks of the Creuse
On the banks of the Creuse

The Creuse river

Remains of the fortified walls of the city can still be seen at the river bank. So after touring around the town, we descended through one of the cobbled streets to the river.

Walking along the banks of the river, the only noise we could hear, apart from my children playful screams, was the noise of the water. A strong river in times of rain, which becomes almost a puddle in times of dry weather. This is a perfect place to relax. Not only the sound of the water running, but the sound of birds and the sight of ancient walls and buildings framed by old trees and bushes complete the idyllic setting.

Houses by the river
Houses by the river

The Berry

The area, known as Berry, is well known for its numerous lakes where you can fish, or just relax and sit and watch the birds and other wildlife. I like sunbathing during the summer, while the children play by the river or lake! Most rivers have a bathing area implemented for the locals, which makes it safe enough for children to enjoy the fresh water during the hot season.

The picturesque landscapes of the area have for long inspired many impressionist painters and other artists. This was the area where writer George Sand used to come to relax and gather inspiration. This is the ‘door' to the Parc Naturel Régional de la Brenne.

Cycling

Sometimes I cycle, to this town, as it is only 10 km. from home. I take a lonely road that follows the river and just forget about everything while I am there. It is like being 8 years old again, excited about the sound of the water and the wildlife that I might encounter on the way. Quite often I see rabbits, birds of all types and even the odd "Bambi" looking at me curiously. When I arrive home, instead of being tired, I feel renewed and reassured that I made the right choice moving here. This is the type of life I want for my children.

Practical Information

Saint Gaultier is located 30km. from Châteauroux and 28 km. from Le Blanc.

The nearest train station is on Argenton Sur Creuse, at 10 km. with direct connexion to Paris.

Approximately 1 hour from Limoges airport.

Eating in restaurants: The area has some very good restaurants. But beware of timing. Lunch time is at 12 o'clock. If you arrive at a restaurant after 1:30pm it is very likely that they will refuse to serve you, as the cook would be having his lunch -a three course meal with wine of course!

Most shops close at 12 o'clock. So, even if you are not hungry yet, it would be a good idea to eat something as life stops for lunch in Berry. After all, eating is a main component of 'de art de vivre'

Chateau de Chabenet
Chateau de Chabenet

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Comments 10 comments

compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Looks like you made a good choice moving to france... It looks so beautiful there...Us brits seem to go to France just for the duty free and then return!!

:)


C.M. Vanderlinden profile image

C.M. Vanderlinden 8 years ago from Metro Detroit

Thank you for this wonderful view of Saint Gaultier. France is the one place on the planet I want to visit---your hubs just reinforce my need to get there someday!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Princessa! Great pictures. Good HUB

regards Zsuzsy


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France Author

Compusmart, next time you come for your duty free, take a tour around the country... you will be surprised!

Vanderlinden, France is certainly one of the MUST see places in Europe.

Thanks Zsuzsy, I am just starting the photography... I hope I get better!


suzywongx 8 years ago

Hi Princessa,

Could you tell me what the temperature is in Winter and Summer in Saint Gaultier?

Also approximate days of sunshine a year?

Many thanks

Suzy


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France Author

Hi Suzy. Temperatures are variable, this summer the temperature has not been higher than 30°C and the summer started rather late. Winter, on the other hand was rather mild with temperatures of around 0° at its lowest. The good thing about this area is that it usually gets warmer after midday so even during winter we are talking about a temperature of 10°C on average.

Sunshine... that is another thing. We usually have sunshine most of the year which makes it very nice even during winter. This article was written in January and it was a very sunny day despite the cold. The good thing is that thanks to the sunshine, you can enjoy country walks during most of the winter.


suzywongx 8 years ago

Hi Princessa, thank you for the info, really appreciate it

We are coming over on the 1st September to view our dream home in Saint Gaultier.

I've been trying to find a cheap car rental company huh! I need a minibus or something like that as my partner and I have 6 children coming with us arggh!

We are there from the 1st to the 4th September and have been quoted rediculous amounts of money (£300+).

Do you know of any reasonable companies, alternatively a good taxi service which can collect us from Limoges Airport?

Very frustrated,

Suzy


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France Author

Suzy: Great to hear you are coming over :) You will love it here. Unfortunately transport is not very great around here and taxis are really and I mean really expensive.

I am off to the coast later today but I will be back on Sunday. I will have a look around for car hires and/or local taxis when I come back, hopefully I'll find something for you ;) If you want you can email me (under contact Princessa) to remind me about it. I am at cycling distance from Saint Gaultier.

Saint Gaultier is a really nice place around this time of the year and there are several places not too far away like Pont Chretien and Chabenet that are only a walk away!


Helen Gammage 7 years ago

I am trawling the net for walks in your area, particularly around the river creuse. But not having much luck. My husband and I are staying at Chateau Chabernet 8-15/08/. It is glorious you are right. We stayed there last year and loved it and the area and want to explore more, but on foot or bike. Can you recommend some good walks or bike rides.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Helen: Yes, I enjoy ciclyng quite often around that area. You can get walking and ciclying maps at the local tourist office, they are available free of charge. Otherwise, I could show you around if you want, -contact me directly- I know the routes but as they are not very well signalled I cannot give directions.

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