Choose from a number of unique historic churches for an introduction to their special features.
|Wall paintings from several periods in the Chapel of St Georges, Rochecorbon.|
I have chosen my favourite medieval churches in the Touraine Loire Valley and have designed a one hour visit for each of them which will allow you to understand and appreciate them more.
|Effigy of Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VII, in St Ours, Loches.|
Let me know which features interest you and I will describe them in more detail. You can also get an idea of each of them in the photos. I can't stress enough how unique each of these churches are, and how different from one another. A visit with me will give you the story behind each of them.
|Tomb of the Babou family, St Denis, Amboise.|
I have a background in heritage conservation and have worked on a number of church projects (currently the Chapel of Tous les Saints). These are important cultural heritage, now often left without a role as church attendance and religious belief declines. I can interpret the messages these buildings were originally sending and give you a glimpse of how they were used in the past. Some of the answers will surprise you. I'll also talk in some detail about how the wall paintings were made, why, and how they are conserved today.
|Detail of the Danse Macabre wall paintings in the Chapelle de Tous les Saints, Preuilly sur Claise.|
*meet at the front door of the chosen church.
*visit the church and learn about its unique features, how they were made and why.
*you are then free to explore the environs independently (some churches are in villages, others are in the grounds of chateaux).
|16C Graffiti expressing a Protestant sentiment in the Chapel of the Chateau of Chenonceau.|
This tour as a whole or partially, can be customized to fit your preferences - please inquire! You can choose any one of the churches below. No particular dress code applies.
|Painted ceiling of the church in Lignieres de Touraine.|
*Lignieres de Touraine (painted ceiling depicting Bible stories)
*St Denis, Amboise (tombs of the King's cryptographers, painted carved stone)
*St Hubert, Amboise (superb carved decoration)
*Tous les Saints, Preuilly sur Claise (extremely rare danse macabre)
*St Ours, Loches (tomb of Agnes Sorel, the King's mistress)
*Private chapel, Chateau of Ussé (carved choir stalls)
*Private chapel, Chateau of Chenoneau (mysterious graffiti)
*Montresor (rare original stained glass)
*Mezieres en Brenne (medieval stained glass)
*St Georges, Rochecorbon (semi-troglodytic, medieval wall paintings)
|Carvings on the front of the church in Mezieres en Brenne.|
Duration: 1 hour.
|Carved misericord in the chapel of the Chateau of Ussé.|
Occasionally churches will be unavailable at short notice (due to a funeral, for example). In most cases there will be an alternative I can offer, or I will arrange a refund.
|Original 16C stained glass in the church at Montésor.|
This is a walking tour. A few churches have wheelchair access but not all.
|View of Montrésor with the church in the background.|
Price: €75 for groups of up to 4 people.
|Chapel of Tous les Saints, Preuilly sur Claise.|
Booking: email email@example.com at least one day before you wish to take the tour. Tours can be conducted on any day of the week, throughout the year, at a time to suit you.
|20C stained glass in the chapel of the Chateau of Chenonceau.|
About the Guide: I am Susan Walter. I specialise in story telling, the weaving together of this fact and that, this character and their relationship with another. It is a technique which brings alive the history of what is sometimes just stones to look at, but those stones may lead to something wonderfully evocative and provide a better understanding of the past. Much of the history of the Loire Valley is about important characters which you will have heard of, but there is a great deal of hidden history too -- characters who have been forgotten in modern times, motivations for deeds which seem inexplicable can become clear, how different life was then, but also how similar. If you want to know who would graffiti a royal chapel and why, and why it isn't who most guides will tell you it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to know about the history of bathing and personal hygiene, and how that isn't quite what you think it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to meet fascinating characters from history who really made a difference, often women, then take a tour with me.
|Wall paintings conservator Corinne Tual talking to visitors about the Danse Macabre in the Chapelle de Tous les Saints, Preuilly sur Claise.|
English speaking, born and raised in Australia, I lived for 12 years in England, where I worked for the National Trust in their Historic Buildings Conservation Department, and now in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Loire Valley for more than a decade. I am an active heritage and nature conservation professional with experience of working with conservators and curators to care for historic objects and buildings, and with ecologists caring for our natural environment. Deeply embedded in the local scene I speak quite good French and enjoy life in a small village near some fabulous chateaux and lovely countryside. I'm always happy to talk about life in France and am friends with many wine makers and local food producers.