Picnics, open-air cafés, restaurant terraces…

What do you really feel like doing now spring is here again? Like many of us, you probably want to make the most of the sunshine! And the crucial question is where to find the ideal spot?

For fans of remote spots, lovers of the open air and pure hedonists… here is a selection of the top spots in Touraine.

Picnic with a view

With a wicker basket filled with market-fresh delicacies or a few sweet and savoury treats from the baker’s, you’re all ready to sit down in the sun. Many locals have the automatic reflex to head for the banks of the River Loire. It must be said there are some great beaches:

  • Nazelles-Négron beach is quite busy, but very big. It has a breathtaking view over Amboise and the château. From the town centre, you just need to cross the Loire, then walk a few hundred metres towards Tours/Vouvray. It’s easy to get there and it’s very practical for families!
Picnic on Nazelle beach, in front of Amboise - Loire Valley, France.

A picnic and games in the sun on Nazelles beach, with a view of Amboise.

  • Ile de Bondésir. If you park near the La Cave restaurant (Montlouis-sur-Loire), you will see a little path leading to the banks of the river.
  • Ile de la Métairie (La Ville-aux-Dames). You can enjoy your picnic with a view over the Rochecorbon hills, home to the Domaine des Hautes-Roches (a troglodyte hotel and a Michelin-starred restaurant!).
  • The beaches and peninsula of “Le Bout du Monde”,between Berthenay and Savonnières. These beaches are harder to get to, but less busy. The “Bout du Monde” (“End of the Earth”) peninsula is a strip of nature nestling between the River Loire and the Cher.
  • Chapelle-sur-Loire beach: for lovers of wide-open spaces, this is another very big beach! You can find it on the River Loire, below the road from Tours to Bourgueil, near the village of Chapelle-sur-Loire. It is still well preserved and without too many people.
  • Confluence beach in Candes-Saint-Martin: a wonderful, small, triangular beach at the meeting point of the River Loire and the Vienne. It opens onto a great view over one of the most beautiful villages in France.

NB: just a reminder about preserving these spots so they can maintain all their magic. Make sure you don’t leave any litter behind you and respect the wild life (plants and animals) you may come across when you’re there!  

Picnic facing Candes-Saint-Martin

Picnic facing Candes-Saint-Martin

Berthenay, on the banks of the Loire.

Berthenay, on the banks of the Loire.

Ile de la Métairie: a picnic and the chance to take it easy!

Ile de la Métairie: a picnic and the chance to take it easy!

Right at the heart of Tours, we mustn’t forget Ile Simon and the north bank of the River Loire, as well as Honoré de Balzac Park beside the River Cher.

Picnic on the Ile Simon - Tours, Loire Valley, France.

Ile Simon, for a picnic in the middle of the Loire in Tours.

Because well beyond the Loire, there are plenty of other spots on the waterside to spread out your best picnic cloth and set everything that goes with it on top! The lakes come to mind, first of all, including the Bergeonnerie, Chambray-lès-Tours, Bretonnières, Rillé, Val Joyeux and Chemillé-sur-Indrois lakes. The Louroux, Assay and Archevêque lakes are all great alternatives, as are the pools near the town of Hommes.

Need more ideas? On the banks of the Vienne, Ile Bouchard beach, Nouâtre Beach (in the locality of Noyers) and the beach facing the royal fortress of Chinonthe banks of the River Cher in Bléré, the Indrois hills in Montrésor, and not forgetting the River Indre, near Rigny-Ussé (Bardeaux de l’Indre Sensitive Natural Space), as well as a little-known gem: the village of Saint-Jean-Saint-Germain, near Loches.

Lake Rillé, a sociable spot!

Lake Rillé, a sociable spot!

A picnic across from the royal fortress of Chinon

A picnic across from the royal fortress of Chinon

The River Indre winds its way in Saint-Jean-Saint-Germain.

The River Indre winds its way in Saint-Jean-Saint-Germain.

Lunch in the sunshine… in the parks and gardens!

To take it easy in the sun, town parks are often a big hit, such as Loches Park, Richelieu Park, the René Boylesve Garden in Descartes and Edouard André Park in La Croix-en-Touraine. Of course, Tours is not to be outdone with the Prébendes d’Oé Garden, the botanical garden and the Gloriette plain.

The huge park in the Domaine de Candé is currently closed due to the health crisis. Admission free. It will be great to go back as soon as possible for a quiet picnic or the chance to take it easy in the shade of the tall trees. The view over the Indre valley is a delight. Ideal for families and friends!

A picnic, games and hiking in the Domaine de Candé park. Loire Valley, France.

A picnic, games and hiking in the Domaine de Candé park.

At the terrace of open-air cafés and restaurants

As is the case for Candé, we will still need to wait a little before we can head for a guinguette (open-air café) and a restaurant with a terraceWe can’t wait to take a stroll in Rochecorbon or Montbazon, and to soak up the sparkling atmosphere of the guinguette in Tours-sur-Loire, an essential spot in the Touraine summer.

And to give you a little taster before things get back to normal in restaurants, here are our two favourites:

  • The terrace at the “XII”in Luynes: the peaceful atmosphere and the view (the château and the roofs of the old town) all make for a very romantic effect. Ideal for working on your tan alongside your loved one.
  • The terrace at the “Vieux-Murier” in Tours: a change of scene as we head for the famous Place Plumereau, until now more renowned for its bars than its restaurants. At the “Vieux-Murier” great home-made cuisineis served at lunchtime, with tasty platters and a wonderful selection of wines.

Place Plumereau in Tours.

Place Plumereau in Tours.

Chez Oscar & Suzette guinguette in Amboise.

Chez Oscar & Suzette guinguette in Amboise.

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