Sites and monuments
Accommodation and restaurants
Discovery tours
The Loire by Bike
Calendar of events


Syndicat mixte du
Pays Loire Val d’Aubois
3 Place de la Mairie

Tél. : +33 2 48 74 23 93
Fax : +33 2 48 74 03 89

Office de tourisme du Pays Loire Val d'Aubois
1 place auguste Fournier
18150 La Guerche/l'Aubois

Tél./ Fax :
+33 2 48 74 25 60


Sites and monuments

To the east of the River Cher, along the Loire, the Pays Loire Val d’Aubois has a rich and varied heritage which is worth making detours !
Since several years a number of tours and stopovers are a must for visitors curious to discover the unsuspected treasures of the Pays.

The Pays has an important historical and architectural heritage mapping into a virtual medieval route punctuated with fortified or religious sites, some rescued from ruin and anonymity.
Fortified heritage

At the crossroads of Berry, Nivernais and Bourbonnais, the Pays shows marks left by history on the line of defence which strengthened the natural border formed by the River Loire, which, during the Hundred Years’ War, could not contain the advance of the Anglo-Burgundians and the ravages caused by the Black Prince, Edward Prince of Wales, and his army.

Sold to the French crown in the 11th century, Berry has remained French ever since, being granted, with the passing centuries, as an apanage to some members of the royal family. In the 15th century, Berry became the centre of resistance to the English, and Charles VII, crowned King of France in 1422, was long mockingly dubbed “King of Bourges” by the Burgundians and English.

Château de Sagonne

Overhanging the medieval village and towering up in the Val d’Aubois, the Château de Sagonne has a very long, prestigious history. Of Gallo-Roman origin, this site was mentioned as early as 832 as the property of the count of Bourges. It then passed to the counts of Sancerre, to the famous Amboise family and to that of Jean Babou, general artillery master and grandfather of Gabrielle d’Estrée who stayed in it in 1596. In 1699, Jules Hardouin Mansart, the architect of Versailles, acquired the Château and its estate. Expecting a visit from Louis XIV, he made alterations to some buildings. The castle has retained part of its fortified enclosure and a very large keep from which an elegant stair-tower stands out.

Château de Sagonne 18600 Sagonne
Tél : 02 48 80 01 27 ou 01 47 33 59 25

Ouverture :
Du 1er juin au 30 septembre, tous les jours, de 10h00 à 12h00 et de 14h00 à 18h00
Entrée :
Adulte 5,5€ - enfant 3€ - groupe ou famille nombreuse 4€ par personne

Château de Grossouvre

The large defensive tower is the oldest part of the castle whose history merges, as early as the 14th century, with that of the Grivel family, who lived in it for four hundred years. As a seneschal and bailiff of Louis II Duc de Bourbon, Jehan Grivel, who drove the English from Berry, received the “Maison forte de Grossouvre”. The Grivel line enjoyed good fortune, allied themselves with all the lords in the region, served the kings of France, and received Catherine de Médicis, Charles IX and Henry III at the castle. In 1785, Alexandre Auguste le Prodigue, marquis of Ourouer, completely ruined, had to pass « this fief that seemed inalienable” to the ironmaster François Durand, who was interested in the Trézy facilities. The latter sold it to François Grenouillet who kept it from 1822 to 1833, when it passed to Alexandre Aguado, the lavish marquis of Las Marismas. After being restored, the château became a meeting place for magnificent hunts. The Aguado family often received at the castle Eugénie de Montijo and the emperor Napoléon III.

Château de Grossouvre 18600 Grossouvre
Tél :

Le château d’Apremont sur Allier

The hill on which the Château stands was fortified as early as the Middle Ages to defend the only route along the River Allier and to collect tolls. The fortress had twelve or fourteen moated towers. A bastion of the Burgundians allied with the English, it was ruined by the partisans of Louis XI. Philibert de Boutillat, bailiff of Nevers and treasurer of France, rebuilt the castle of which five towers remain today. François des Barres acquired it in 1545. To defend King Henry III against the Seigneur des Barres, partisan of the League, the Duc de Nevers vainly besieged the fortress in 1577. The château underwent some alterations in the course of centuries but does retain its imposing outline.

Château d’Apremont sur Allier 18150 Apremont sur Allier
Tél : 33 (0)2 48 77 55 00
ou : 33 (0)2 48 77 56 06
Fax : 33 (0)2 48 80 45 17

Château de Cuffy

The property of the counts of Nevers, this 12th century fortress, built on a pentagonal plane, resisted the Anglo-Burgundian forays. A pleasure mansion for the dukes of Nevers from the 16th century, it seems that the château then served as a place of refuge for the opponents to king Louis XIII. In 1617, Marie de Médicis resorted to force: the château was taken by storm and the towers were pulled down. Today, the assembly is preserved and still retains some sculptured stones.

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

Ouverture :
Samedi et dimanche de 10h00 à 12h00 et de 14h00 à 18h00
Entrée :
2€ par personne

Donjon de Menetou Couture

Dominating the Val d’Aubois, the imposing keep, some forty metres high, watches over the small village huddled at its feet. This military seigniorial residence, built around 1460 by Philippe and Jean de Villaines, has retained its remarkable boat-shaped roof structure and monumental fireplaces. It is surrounded by a park with hundred-year-old trees.

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

Ouverture :
Du 22 au 23 juin pour la fête du pain - les après midi à partir du 2 juillet jusqu’au 1er septembre (sauf le lundi) - les après midi pendant les week-ends du mois de septembre
Entrée :
Tarif exceptionnel de 2 € pour la fête du pain – Sinon : tarif individuel 5 € et tarif de groupe 4 € - Gratuit pour les enfants de moins de 12 ans

Château de la Grand’Cour in Mornay Berry

Moated and walled this château was built during the second half of the 13th century by the lords of Mornay. Its design, inspired by an English model, is a remarkable French example of a “shell keep”. A towerless polygonal enclosure makes this château an important testimony to French military art within a line of defence separating the Kingdom of France from Burgundy. Medieval-style enclosed gardens provide it with the most beautiful and colourful green setting.

Château de la grand’cour - 18350 Mornay Berry
Tél : 02 48 80 24 45

Ouverture :
Du mardi au dimanche en juillet et août - En mai, juin, septembre et octobre : le dimanche et les jours fériés de 15h00 à 20h00
Entrée :
5€ par personne - 4€ par personne pour les groupes de plus de 20 visiteurs - gratuit pour les enfants de moins de 10 ans

Religious heritage
After a troubled period from the 5th century to the 11th century, during which the oriental part of Berry (today’s département of Cher), under the rule of the viscounts, saw numerous disputes resulting in destruction and loss of human life. Only in the 11th century, when peace was restored, were the religious monuments still visible today in a major part of the Pays Loire Val d’Aubois put up.
Romanesque churches

The Romanesque art in Cher, and more especially in the Pays Loire Val d’Aubois, reflects many influences, be it the strictness and simplicity of Auvergne, or the charm of Burgundy. In the Pays, Romanesque churches are numerous and well conserved or fully restored. They nearly all date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, and host every year the music festival of the churches of Romanesque Berry.
The most famous churches, most of which are illuminated, include: Charly, Germigny l’Exempt, Neuilly en Dun, Véreaux, Cuffy, La Guerche, Nérondes, Flavigny, Ourouer les Bourdelins, Chassy, Garigny, Mornay Berry, Saint Hilaire de Gondilly, Le Chautay, La Chapelle Hugon, Sagonne, and Augy sur Aubois.

 Fiches des églises romanes du Berry (document PDF / 2 197 ko)

The Cistercian abbey of Fontmorigny

Founded in 1149 on the entreaties of Saint Bernard himself, the current Cistercian abbey succeeded a Benedictine establishment. As early as the Middle Ages, iron and steel metallurgy made Fontmorigny into an important economic centre.

Abbaye de Fontmorigny - 18320 Menetou Couture
Tél : 02 48 76 12 33

Ouverture :
De Pâques au 30 juin et du 1er septembre à la Toussaint, les dimanches et jours fériés de 15h00 à 19h00 - du 1er juillet au 31 août de 10h00 à 12h00 et de 15h00 à 19h00 (fermeture hebdomadaire le lundi)
5€ par personne - 4€ par personne pour les groupes

The Pays Loire Val d’Aubois is undoubtedly characterized by a strong rurality, that of a territory which drew its origins from the development of agriculture, soil working, and rural crafts. Old or contemporary places still attest to this strong imprint.
The Grivelles market in Sancoins
A stopover on the road from Bourges (Avaricum) to Autun (Augustodunum), Sancoins was a favourable meeting place and an active trade centre. In Sancoins, the Aedui, Averni and Bituriges traded animals, cereals, hemp, flax, and iron objects. Building on this two-thousand-year-old tradition, in 1974, the commune decided to build the Grivelles park, which was to become the leading European livestock market (140 000 head of cattle and 102 000 head of sheep traded in 2002).
The wash houses
The Pays Loire Val d’Aubois has many wash houses which vary widely as to shape, materials, water supply, site, and architecture, even if this is more functional than monumental.
To get the “Le patrimoine de nos lavoirs” leaflet, contact the tourist office of the Pays: 
Tel. 02 48 74 25 60 or  
The blacksmith’s and farrier’s museum in Cornusse

Tools have been and still are instruments used by humans for interacting with materials, shaping the extraordinary course of technical progress. The blacksmith’s and farrier’s museum pays homage to the numerous tools that shaped the local and rural crafts of the past. It features a rich collection of 1 300 tools and miscellaneous objects from the Val d’Aubois, connected with the trades of edge-tool making, blacksmithing and cartwrighting in their functional context in the shop. The making, evolution and use of tools are explained. Besides, cultural, literary and poetical themes are also looked at with original documents.

Musée du forgeron et du maréchal ferrant
Le bois de Vesves 18350 Cornusse
Tél : 02 48 76 83 99

Ouverture :
Tous les jours du 1er avril au 30 septembre de 14h30 à 19h00 y compris les jours féries - fermé le mardi et le mercredi
Entrée & visite commentée (durée 1h30 environ) :
Adulte 5€ - enfant de plus de 10 ans 2,5€ - groupe de plus de 20 visiteurs 3,20€ par personne - tarifs réduits pour les journées du patrimoine

Spreading out on the low slopes and hills of the Pays Loire Val d’Aubois are the pastures where the first Charolais cattle bred for meat in Berry were grazed. This green land dotted with hedges, streams and ponds furtively conjures up the entrancing Vallée Noire celebrated by George Sand. It is also where the Loire receives its powerful tributary Allier. Therefore water is omnipresent in this natural setting which man worked hard to shape by drying out marshes, and making canals, or to embellish by developing sumptuous parks and gardens.

The Loire and Allier valleys
Upstream from the “Loire of châteaux”, the Pays is bordered by the “Loire of people”, that of river craft and horse-drawn barges which transported foods and passengers. After its confluence with the Allier, the river widens, and numerous branches and banks of sand and gravel with some vegetation appear to form islands.

The canals
The Loire lateral canal and Berry canal are waterways that structured the economic life of the Pays and accompanied its development throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Dedicated to the transport of goods, such as timber, stone, lime and cement, cereals, etc., they have gradually been supplanted by road and rail. Still, the canals are today privileged places for walking and relaxing.
Let us mention the Le Guétin canal bridge in Cuffy, where the lateral canal stretches across the Allier over a 340-metre long bridge into Burgundy, the canal halts of Cours les Barres, Herry and La Chapelle Montlinard and the river port of Marseilles les Aubigny with the last shipyard of the Centre Region.


The Pays’s gardens, as places for escape and initiation, are original stopovers along the route of the Centre Region’s parks and gardens.

The floral park of Apremont sur Allier
Created in 1970, this landscaped floral park enables visitors to stroll leisurely on the lawns, admiring the collections of perennials, flower shrubs, and rare species of trees, while a cascade has been built from 650 tonnes of rock in an old disused quarry. Three constructions add a very picturesque oriental note: a Chinese-style bridge, a Turkish pavilion, and a belvedere.

Parc Floral d’Apremont 18150 Apremont sur Allier 
Tél. 02 48 77 55 00

Ouverture :
De Pâques à fin septembre de 10h30 à 12h30 et de 14h30 à 18h30, sans interruption les dimanches et jours fériés. Tous les jours de Pâques au 31 août. Tous les jours sauf le mardi en septembre.
Entrée :
Gratuite pour tout enfant de moins de 7 ans - de 7 à 12 ans 4€ - 3€ par personne pour les groupes scolaires - adulte 7€ - 6€ par personne pour les groupes adultes - personne handicapée 3€ - gratuite pour tout accompagnateur et chauffeur

The gardens of Villiers
Created from scratch at the foot of the Château de Villiers, following a trip in Scotland, these French-style gardens, inspired by those of Tyninghame, near Edinburgh. Both romantic and secret, these gardens, where British poetry dominates, are ornamented with perennials, roses, clematis, rare shrubs, and a play copse for children.
A little farther, on the roadside, the moulin de Villiers, a restored 16th century windmill, is just waiting for visitors to turn its wings.

Château de Villiers 18800 Chassy
Tél. 02 48 77 52 20 (gardens) / 02 48 80 21 34 (windmill)

Ouverture :
De 14h00 à 19h00 tous les dimanches de mai, juin, juillet et septembre, tous les jours en août 
Entrée :
Adulte 7 € - enfant de 12 à 18 ans 4 € - moins de 12 ans gratuit -  Pour les groupes de plus de 20 personnes 5 € par personne