Landlocked Touraine’s beaches and waterside terraces

A beach in Touraine - Loire Valley Landlocked Touraine’s beaches and waterside terraces © David Darrault

Published on 21/06/2017

Thanks to Touraine’s exceptional network of rivers and to its natural and artificial lakes, visitors to our region can appreciate many waterside havens of calm and relaxation between other visits. Enjoy a watery halt or two with the family and friends!

In Tours and Joué-lès Tours...

Picture the scene, of a special kind of Touraine outdoor sitting-room, wooden tables and chairs set out here and there, along with parasols, deck chairs, hammocks and sculptures, plus children’s games and even a traditional Loire boat drawn up on the quayside… for locals, the description matches that of the Guinguette de Tours-sur-Loire, a relaxed outdoor summer restaurant that has been a feature on the quays in the centre of the city for several years. This time, Tours-Plage will draw you just over the river, to the north bank, easily reached on foot or by tram, providing a peaceful retreat so close to the busy central historic bridge, Pont Wilson.

Not far south of Touraine’s capital, Les Bretonnières Lake at Joué-lès-Tours provides long grassy banks for those who enjoy restorative siestas. On other sides of the lake, anglers rival each other in skill. In the middle of the waters, little sailing boats from the sailing school glide slowly across the waters, while cries of joy signal the designated area where bathers can frolic, overseen by a lifeguard – and this swimming provision is free, along with the other similar ones mentioned in this article.

The beach of Tours - Loire Valley
The beach of Tours

... and everywhere else in Touraine

Visitors seeking more waterside spots at which to relax can seek out further delightful places beyond Touraine’s capital and its surrounds. If heading west along the Loire, stop at Bourgueil. A lovely beach covered in fine sand awaits you near the campsite here. The waters are a pleasure for swimmers, who are watched over by a lifeguard, while there’s an area for playing water polo, with inflatable markers in place. Those who like shade can sit under the weeping willows, plus there’s a bar. Not many kilometres away, at Ingrandes, don’t miss the chance to picnic in a unique, specially adapted barrel, used for 60 years to age Bourgueil wines before being transformed to this unusual use, set amidst the vines of the Domaine Lamé-Delisle-Boucard wine estate. Here, from the heights of Mont Sigou, a place admired by the great Touraine Renaissance writer Rabelais, the views to the horizon are vast.

The Lake of Val Joyeux - Loire Valley

Sticking to Western Touraine, also known as Touraine Angevine (as it stands close to the neighbouring county of Anjou), but veering north, the lakes at Hommes may lie off the beaten track for most tourists. However, they prove popular. There are numerous green and shaded corners you can seek out around the different water holes created in what was previously a quarry for faluns, or shelly sands. A bit to the side, a large guinguette, or relaxed outdoor summer restaurant, caters to those who’ve worked up an appetite.

Not far off, Rillé’s lake has two quite contrasting sides. One side, Pincemaille, is dedicated to outdoor pursuits, although there is no beach laid out for bathers. The other side, Mousseaux, is reserved for wildlife. The whole site proves a joy for families in search of peace, as well as for anglers. In addition, the campsite here offers wooden huts for rent that perfectly fit the forest environment. Further northwest still, beside the town of Château-la-Vallière, the Lac du Val Joyeux, with its sandy beach, its games area, its pedaloes and its picnic corners, draws a merry crowd. You can also enjoy the great expanse of water in which to swim, plus there’s a pontoon in the midst of the lake from which you can dive!

Should your wanderings through our county lead you to Southern Touraine, an area that conceals a whole host of hidden tourist treasures that do take some effort to unearth, then go to Chemillé-sur-Indrois Lake for a well-deserved rest after your explorations. The grass banks are kept short so that you can lay your towel down. In addition, there’s a stretch of sandy beach where a lifeguard watches over the swimmers. There are also pedaloes. All this in a remarkably restful rural setting – Southern Touraine’s enchanting countryside lies just a stone’s throw away.

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Ici, vivre est un art The E.U. supports tourist sites’ Quality approach
The E.U. supports tourist sites’ Quality approach