The pretty village of Bourgueil, in the Loire Valley France, is today probably best known for its quality (red) wines and this is what draws the tourists here and to the nearby village of St Nicolas de Bourgueil.
The French also celebrate it as the birth place of actor and writer Jean Carmet (1920 – 1994) who appeared in over 200 films. It is his former family home that has been converted to the town’s ‘Maison des Vins’ which has over 80 vintages of the areas fine wines for sale. Every year on the third Saturday of march 40 wine producers from the area exhibit at a wine fair on ‘Boulevard Heurteloup’ in Tours.
Another tourist attraction is the ancient Abbey de Bourgueil. Within the former Benedictine abbey which dates back to the Xth century you can visit some of the cloisters, refectory and the interesting ornamental staircase. The old monks’ cells now house a museum of arts and local traditions.
Visits from 2.00pm to 6.00pm from April 1st to October 31st.
The village has a pleasant feel to it and when its white ‘tufa’ buildings reflect the summer sun it gives it a nice ‘glow’. It has an active community with good facilities for leisure including a cinema, tennis courts and even an ice rink. There is also a leisure park ’Parc Capitaine’ with a swimming lake with resident lifeguard during July and August.
With its bakeries, restaurants, cafes and weekly market you will have plenty of opportunities to sample the delights of the ‘garden of France’ that is the Loire Valley.
It has a delightful market hall that hosts the weekly Saturday market, with the street market being held on Tuesdays. The village is also very close to a reasonably sized Hyper-U supermarket.
Its location between Tours and Saumur and a few kilometres north of Chinon make it a great location for visiting many of the other Loire Valley attractions, plus it has a few other villages nearby that are typical of this part of rural France. They won’t all have a giant wine bottle in front of their churches like nearby St. Nicolas de Bourgueil but that can only be a good thing.