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Sites to visit

Sites to visit

Industrial heritage

  • La Halle de Grossouvre, Espace Métal

The earth, the fire, the iron, the metal industry in the Cher. An exceptional space designed by Jamy Gourmaud. An interactive, educational and playful scenography. An adventure within reach of all.

Built in 1844, the hall of Grossouvre is classified as "Historic Monument" since 1999. In association with the municipality of Grossouvre, Centre region and the Pays Loire Val d' Aubois, the General Council of the Cher restored it with a particular attention to make a place specially designed for the general public and dedicated to the discovery of the history of the iron.

The ghost of Georges Dufaud, graduate of Polytechnique prestige engineering school engineer who propelled the Val d'Aubois in the industrial adventure, accompanies you throughout an exciting visit. You will go back in time and will discover the fascinating evolution of the iron.

Halle de Grossouvre, Route de Véreaux, 18600 Grossouvre.

Tél. : 02 48 77 06 38

  • Les halles de Chabrolles in Beffes

The factory of Chabrolles, one of the most important among the numerous factories of the pond of Beffes which 7 placed along the side channel in the Loire, and 14 along the channel of Berry was acquired in 1990 by the municipality. Vast one program of valuation of the site is in progress. The former quarry, flooded by clear waters already welcomes an important Regional Center of Dive.

In the increasing request of France in height essort economic, in the second half of the 19th century, the production of lime with agricultural vocation gives way to the industrial production. The quality of the deposits of limestone of the valley of Aubois, the ease of transport by channels and the geographical position in the center of France make of this pond the second for the hydraulic production of lime in France, between 1865 and the permanent closure in 1936.

The visitor can discover in a green setting this industrial past: the lime production cycle can be traveled by traveling through the daily journey taken by the heating workers (workers), from the former extraction quarry, to the mouths (Upper opening of the blast furnaces), to finish in the extinguishing halls. 

The limestone extracted from a quarry today flooded, was calcined in the 17 ovens grouped in two batteries. The quick lime passed through the work halls for extinction, sieving and bagging, then shipped by barge to the Loire canal, especially to the Paris region.

Information (opening, rates, entertainment)

Accueil Touristique de Beffes - Site de Chabrolles – 18320 Beffes
Tél. : 02 48 76 57 32 - 06 37 08 42 25

The medieval heritage

With a significant historical and architectural heritage, a virtual medieval road has imposed its route dotted with fortified or religious sites out of the ruins and anonymity for some.

At the crossroads of the provinces of Berry, Nivernais and Bourbonnais, the history left on the Country footprints and some milestones on the line of defense which came to reinforce the natural border of the Loire which could not contain during the war of One hundred years, the advance of the Anglo-Burgundians and the ravages caused by the Black Prince, Edward Prince of Wales, and his army who raged on the Berry land.

Indeed, sold in the 11th century to the crown of France, the Berry will no longer cease to belong to the kingdom and will be handed over over the centuries as an appanage to certain members of the royal family. The Berry thus became in the 15th century the center of the resistance to the English, and Charles VII, crowned king of France in 1422, was for a long time mocked by the nickname "King of Bourges" by the Burgundians and the English. 

  • The castle of Sagonne

Overlooking the medieval village and setting its imposing silhouette in the Val d'Aubois, the castle of Sagonne is charged with a very long and prestigious history. Of Gallo-Roman origin, this site is quoted from 832 as possession of the count of Bourges. It will then belong to the Counts of Sancerre, the famous family of Amboise and that of Jean Babou master general of the artillery and grandfather of Gabrielle d'Estrée who stayed there in 1596. Jules Hardouin Mansart, the architect of Versailles bought the building and its estates in 1699. Waiting for King Louis XIV's visit, he remade some buildings. The castle retains part of its fortified walls and a very important dungeon from which stands out an elegant stair tower.

Information (opening, prices, animations)

Château de Sagonne 18600 Sagonne

Tél : 02 48 80 01 27 ou 01 47 33 59 25 

  •  The castle of Grossouvre

 The large defensive tower is the oldest element of the castle whose history merges, since the 14th century, with the Grivel family, who lived there for four hundred years. It was as seneschal and bailiff of Louis II duke of Bourbon that Jehan Grivel, who had driven the English from Berry, received the "Strong House of Grossouvre". The line of Grivel knew an enviable fortune, allied with all the lords of the region, served the kings of France and welcomed at the castle Catherine de Medici, Charles IX and Henry III. It is Alexandre Auguste the Prodigal, Marquis d'Ourouër, who, completely ruined, to give in 1785 "this fief which seemed inalienable" to François Durant, master of the forges, who was interested in the installations of Trézy.

The latter sold it to François Grenouillet, who kept it from 1822 to 1833, when he became the owner of Alexandre Aguado, the sumptuous Marquis of Las Marismas.

Restored, the castle became the rendezvous of magnificent hunts. The Aguado often received Eugenie de Montijo and the Emperor Napoleon III, of whom they were familiar.

Information (opening, prices, animations)

Château de Grossouvre 18600 Grossouvre

Tél : / 

  • The castle of Apremont-sur-Allier

Even if it is not open to the public, the visitor can discover the exteriors.

The hill on which rises the castle is fortified since the Middle Ages, to defend the only way along the Allier, and collect a toll. The fortress is then provided with twelve or fourteen towers surrounded by ditches. Bastion of the Bourguignon party, allied with the English, it is ruined by the partisans of Louis XI. Philibert de Boutillat, bailiff of Nevers and treasurer of France, rebuilds the castle of which five towers remain today. François des Barres became the owner in 1545.

In order to defend King Henry III against the Lord of the Barres, supporter of the League, the Duke of Nevers besieged the fortress in 1577 in vain. The castle will undergo some changes of appearance over the centuries but still retains its imposing appearance.


  • The castle of Cuffy

Property of the Counts of Nevers, this fortress of the 12th century, built on a pentagonal plane resisted Anglo-Burgundy incursions. Became a pleasure house, dukes of Nevers from the 16th century, the castle seems to have then served as a refuge for the opponents of King Louis XIII. In 1617, Marie de Medici uses force: the castle is stormed and her towers are shot down. The whole is now preserved and still preserves some carved stones.

Information (opening, prices, animations)

Château de Cuffy 18150 Cuffy 
Tél : 02 48 80 41 45 

  • The dunjeon of Menetou-Couture

Overlooking the Val d'Aubois, the imposing dungeon, about forty meters high, watches over the small village nestled at its feet. This military manor house, built around 1460 by Philippe and Jean de Villaines, has kept its remarkable ship-shaped frame and monumental fireplaces of rigorous purity. It is surrounded by a park with old trees.

Information (opening, prices, animations)

Donjon de Menetou Couture - 18320 Menetou Couture 
Tél/fax : 02 48 80 25 08  

  • The dunjeon of Jouy

Located in the town of Sancoins, it draws its remains from an important donjon that is attributed to Pierre de Giac, Lord of Jouy in 1346, Chancellor of France from 1373 to 1388, died in 1407, and that one dates from around 1370-1380. The dungeon is a square construction, flanked by circular towers at the corners. The interior had several floors connected by a staircase. The ground floor is covered in broken cradle and is lit by two archers. The first floor is vaulted with high ogives on corner columns with capitals adorned with foliage. The two upper floors are covered with a floor. On the second floor, the south-east tower was converted into a chapel.

Its contemporary sculpture park designed by landscape architect Paul Choulot de Lavenne (1794-1864) is open to the public. The visit allows you to become acquainted with all artistic movements of art since the 50s and to relax or read the news, poems and writings of the same artists in "improbable libraries". There is also plenty of opportunity to observe the fauna and flora that is actively protected during the walk in the park. The Donjon de Jouy has lent works to numerous museums, for example at the moment in Berlin for 2 works by a Czech artist, and the collection brings together more than 60 artists known throughout the world for their contribution to the history of art, of which : Niki de Saint Phalle, Germaine Richier, André Masson, Etienne Martin, Pierre Dmitrienko, Christian Lapie, François Stahly.

Information (opening, prices, animations)

Donjon de Jouy  18600 Sancoins
Tél. : 02 48 74 63 51 

  • The castle of La Grand'Cour in Mornay-Berry

Surrounded by a moat and protected by a wall, it was built in the second half of the 13th century by the lords of Mornay. Its construction inspired by an English model is a remarkable French example of "fortress-shell". The existence of a polygonal enclosure without tower makes of this castle an important witness of the French military art in the 13th century. He played an important role during the Hundred Years War because of his position within a line of defense separating the kingdom of France from Burgundy. A closed garden, of medieval inspiration offered him the most beautiful case of colors and greenery.

Information (opening, prices, animations)

Château La Grand’Cour - 18350 Mornay Berry 
Tél : 02 48 80 24 45

Religious heritage

After a troubled period from the 5th century to the 11th century, which made the eastern part of the province of Berry (Cher today), under the government of Viscounts, the subject of many issues that resulted in destruction and loss of life It was only in the 11th century, with peace returned, that religious monuments were still visible today in most of the Pays Loire Val d'Aubois.

The Romanesque art in the Cher and more particularly on the Pays Loire Val d'Aubois, is at the heart of all the influences, sometimes attracted by the rigor and the counting Auvergne, sometimes seduced by the charm of Burgundy. This regional Romanesque art is an art of masonry that likes to build beautiful solid walls making the church a well-closed house but also knows how to make the stone talk and put it in parties, sculpting capitals and corbels, gate posts. The Romanesque churches of the country are numerous and well preserved even completely restored for some. They date almost all of the 12th and 13th centuries and serve each year as a showcase for the music festival of the Berry Romanesque churches.

Among the most famous are: Charly, Germigny l'Exempt, Neuilly en Dun, Véreaux, Cuffy, La Guerche, Nérondes, Flavigny, Urouer les Bourdelins, Chassy, Garigny, Mornay Berry, Saint Hilaire de Gondilly, Le Chautay, La Chapel Hugon, Sagonne and Augy sur Aubois which are mostly illuminated.

  • The Cistercian Abbey of Fontmorigny

Founded in 1149 on the authority of Saint Bernard himself, the current Cistercian abbey succeeded a Benedictine establishment. From the Middle Ages, Fontmorigny became an important economic center thanks in particular to the iron and steel industry. At the revolution of 1789, the monks were dispersed and the abbey sold as national property. For several decades, major restoration work and the development of French gardens, following the plans of the one that existed in the 18th century, have profoundly modified the architecture of this site, which has grown larger and more radiant still from the ruins. wastelands that have stifled it for too long.

In parallel, the abbey is the theater, each year, of a cultural programming and a festival of music of high quality.

Information (opening, prices, animations)
Abbaye de Fontmorigny - 18320 Menetou Couture 
Tél : 02 48 76 12 33


The gardens of the Pays Loire Val d’Aubois as places of escape and initiation, constitute original stages on the road of the parks and gardens of the Region Center.

  • The floral park of Apremont sur Allier

Created in 1970, this landscaped floral park allows visitors to roam freely on the lawns, admiring collections of perennials, flowering shrubs and rare trees while a waterfall built with 650 tons of rocks has been built in an old abandoned quarry. Three factories bring a very picturesque oriental note: a Chinese bridge, a Turkish pavilion and a belvedere.

Information (opening, prices, animations)
Société hôtelière d’Apremont - 18150 Apremont sur Allier 
Tél : 02 48 77 55 00

Natural and fluvial heritage

On the lower slopes and the hills of the Pays Loire Val d’Aubois spread the pastures where we raised the first Charolais fattening all the Berry. This green country dotted with hedges, streams, ponds furtively announces the mesmerizing black valley celebrated by Georges Sand. It also celebrates the meeting of the waters of the Loire and its powerful tributary: the Allier. Water is therefore omnipresent in this natural setting that man has managed to shape by drying marshes, digging canals, or beautify landscaping parks and gardens.

  • The valleys of the Loire and Allier

Located upstream of the "Loire of castles", the Pays is bordered by the "Loire of men", that of the Loire riverboat and water coaches that transported goods and passengers. After the confluence with the Allier, the bed of the river is growing, many branches and more or less vegetated benches appear to form islands. It is by practicing the canoe kayak that these rivers of a great wealth of fauna and flora are better appreciated.

  • Canals

The lateral Canal to the Loire and the Berry Canal are waterways, which have structured the economic life of the country and accompanied its development throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Devolved in the transportation of goods such as wood, stone, lime and cement, cereals, etc., they have been progressively supplanted by road and rail. The fact remains that the canals are nowadays privileged places of walk and relaxation.

We can mention the Guétin canal bridge in Cuffy, where the side canal to reach Burgundy, crosses the Allier via a 340-meter long bridge, the Cours les Barres, Herry, La Chapelle Montlinard, and Marseilles les Aubigny fluvial port which houses the last shipyard in the Center region.

The rural heritage

Pays Loire Val d'Aubois undoubtedly embodies a strong rurality, that of a territory that has its origins in the development of agriculture, the work of the land, the small trades of rural crafts. Old and contemporary places still bear witness to this strong imprint.

The village of Apremont-sur-Allier

Ranked among the most beautiful villages of France, Apremont sur Allier was in the Middle Ages a simple village of quarrymen; the quarries provided in abundance stones of size, transported on flat-bottomed boats, on the Allier, then on the Loire. These were used for the construction of religious buildings, among which the cathedral of Orleans and the abbey of Saint Benoît-sur-Loire. One of the houses of the 15th century, in front of the old port of embarkation, still bears the name of "House of the sailors". Between the two wars, the forge master of Le Creusot Eugène Schneider, assisted by the decorator M. de Galéa, will undertake a patient work of development of the village. What is not in harmony with the site is shaved and, instead, entire groups of houses are rebuilt in the medieval Berry style. The village hosts a plant festival twice a year.


The grivelles market in Sancoins

Step on the road from Bourges (Avaricum) to Autun (Augustodunum), Sancoins was a place for meetings and an active shopping center. Eduens, Avernes, and Bituriges exchanged animals, cereals, hemp, linen, and iron objects. With this 2,000-year-old tradition, it was in 1974 that the town decided to build the Parc des Grivelles, which had gradually established itself as the leading European market for live animals. At the beginning of the 21st century, the lively market of Sancoins was able to innovate again by adopting a system of sale of animals said at the auction.


Tél. 02 46 65 01 79 -

The washhouses

Pays Loire Val d'Aubois has many washhouses with a great variety in their forms, materials used, water supply, site and architecture, even if it is more functional than monumental.

These buildings, which are part of the living environment of the village community of the past, are rarely prior to the 19th century. Their construction was particularly important between 1820 and 1880. It results from the municipalities' administrative autonomy in budgetary matters and from a collective awareness of the importance of public safety. It was also at this time that the country experienced great economic prosperity: industry, agriculture and logging provided important revenues to the population, which reached its highest level.

Today, there is now only the sound of water, and the current no longer moves soapy streaks. Come discover these washhouses, some of which have been carefully restored and are the subject of a successful development.

The roads of Saint Jacques de Compostela in Berry

In contact with Burgundy and Berry, Pays Loire Val d'Aubois is crossed from east to west by two paths of Saint Jacques de Compostela taking the Via Lemovicensis from Vézelay (but also from Belgium and the Rhineland) to Saint Jean Pied de Port passing by Bourges or Saint Amand Montrond then Limoges and Périgueux before joining Spain.

Today it is one of the most important historical routes used to go to Puente La Reina then to Compostela in Galicia, by "El camino frances" ("The French way")

These spiritual paths (tradition Saint Jacquaire) or hiking, in any case marked, allow to appreciate the sweetness and the quality of the environment of Pays Loire Val d'Aubois

The southern route

It materializes the passage from the Loire to Nevers to then go to Saint Amand Montrond. Indeed, from Nevers, the pilgrims passed Allier Bec d'Allier then crossed the towns of La Guerche sur l'Aubois and La Chapelle Hugon along the Valley of Aubois until Sancoins where was a hotel-god. We still find in this town a street Saint Jacques which was named after a chapel Saint Jacques.

For the tranquility of pilgrims and hikers, the southern route offers to prefer to take the RD 45 and RD 100 crossing Cuffy and Apremont on Allier. After a shaded path, crossing the beautiful deciduous forest of Apremont, on small quiet departmental roads, until La Chapelle Hugon, the route then follows the towpath of the Berry canal which will thus lead pilgrims or hikers to 'in Saint Amand Montrond.

The northern route

It is a very important passage since it serves La Charité sur Loire which shelters a girl Abbey of Cluny, whose Priory is classified in the UNESCO World Heritage.

Crossing the Loire Valley, this route then leads to the west a course in Berry champagne through including the towns of La Chapelle Montlinard, Saint Martin des Champs and Sancergues whose parish is dedicated to elsewhere in Saint Jacques. The path then follows successively the communes of Charentonnay and Couy, and makes it possible to reach Bourges whose cathedral is classified in the UNESCO world inheritance

The Romanesque Berry Churches Tour

In the Pays Loire Val d'Aubois, the slow emergence of Christianity, its wide coverage, the durability of its monuments, the variety of their artistic expression, makes this territory in Berry, has beautiful Romanesque churches of the 11th and 12th centuries.

A marked road circuit, you can appreciate the quality while the Berry, open by its roads and rivers, was traditionally a province of relationship with the great monasteries of France Romane.

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