La Brenne Park and the Creuse Valley
Exceptional natural paradises at your feet
La Brenne Regional Natural Park is a stone’s throw away, putting you a short distance from paradise. No less than 3000 marshes dot this varied natural region which is a humid area of international importance. There are countless dragonflies and 267 species of bird in the park (essentially migratory, but 150 nest there), and it is the first area in France to be populated by the endangered European pond tortoise. Each year between October and March, 2000 tons of fish are caught, and lovers of cheese will fall in love with the rare goat’s cheese Pouligny-Saint-Pierre, holder of the protected Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée title. In short, it’s a real wonderland! There are various ways to go and explore the area, such as on foot, on horseback or by bike. The best place to start might just be the Maison du Parc (Visitor’s Centre) in Rosnay, where you can get more information of the area and which offers you five different films screened on a large screen to really whet your appetite.
You’ll also be able to enjoy the Voie Verte by bike or on foot, a multi-use track approximately 22 km in length that uses the former railway line between Le Blanc and La Châtre, as well as different road sections in Saint-Marcel and Argenton. Reserved for cyclists and pedestrians, the route offers an exceptional panorama over the Creuse Valley from the numerous viaducts and engineering structures present on the route. From there, you can also explore the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Southern Berry.
To the north of Argenton-sur-Creuse (around 75 minutes by car) is the ZooParc de Beauval, classed among the top 10 zoos in the world. Here the whole family can discover the largest range of animals in France.
To the south of Argenton between Berry and Limousin is the northern tip of the Creuse Valley, nicknamed the Valley of Painters. The painters attracted to the area have included some renowned names - such as Monet, Guillaumin or Picabia - as well as the more obscure. Yet what they all have in common is the desire to capture the specific light here, as well as the rocks of all different colours and the fragrant heather. The Monts et Vallées Ouest Creuse tourist office have a number of activities on offer for lovers of colour, old and young alike.
Head a few more kilometres south and discover the 312 hectares of the Lac d'Éguzon (also called the “Lac de Chambon”) and the immense leisure area surrounding this lake in an environment both wild and welcoming. Enjoy its beaches, all sorts of nautical activities, fishing, horse-riding and walking. It’s so hard to choose what to do, you might want to do them all!