A very small village of less than 100 inhabitants, Apremont-sur-Allier is, however, one of the most beautiful villages you can find hidden in the Cher department. Home to a castle that was once a magnificent 14 towered fortress and is now a museum, it also has one of the 8 ‘Hidden Gardens’ of the Berry province.
The Parc Floral is perhaps the most well-known of all the Hidden Gardens, and opens its doors all year round for people to visit and see its beautiful trees, flowers, monuments and other secrets. As many different plants blossom depending on what time of the year it is, each visit is different and unique, making the small village of Apremont-sur-Allier an almost essential stop when visiting Cher.
A truly unique city in France, Aubigny-sur-Nere once belonged to the royal Stuart House of Scotland. For almost four centuries, the city remained the property of Scottish Lords, until its return to French ownership during the Revolution. As such, the city has a distinct Scottish legacy – in which it takes great pride. Every year for a few days before14 July, they celebrate their ‘Franco Scottish Celebrations’, four days of shows, parades, festivities and overall celebration found in their shared heritage.
A relatively small town of less than 6000 inhabitants, Aubigny-sur-Nere enjoys a warm climate, a beautiful landscape crossed by the Nere River, and is home to many historical sites from different periods – some from the Renaissance, the Hundred Years War or even from the Liberation after the Second World War.
Exhibitions in museums, night visits in summer, beautiful gardens and ancient houses are all part of what makes Aubigny-sur-Nere a worthwhile and ‘must see’ step in your discovery of what Cher has to offer.
The largest and most populated city of the department, and the third of the region overall, Bourges is an impressive, beautiful city with a long history that can trace its roots all the way to the Roman era. It is also the historic capital of Berry Province, which is now divided into the Indre and Cher departments.
Located at the confluence of four of the many rivers crossing the departments, its heritage is vast, and the Saint-Etienne Cathedral is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has many more ancient sites to see as well, such as the Avaricum medieval district, and ruins of Gallo-Roman fortifications can be found near the City Hall.
And in more recent years, the House of Culture was built. Now more than 50 years old, it is an impressive cultural institution dedicated to the promotion of theatre, dance and music. It is one of the first institutions of its type in France.
Bourges is a city with the ‘City of Art and History’ label, and it has many historical buildings that are worth seeing and visiting.
Formerly known as Dun-le-Roi, and changing its name during the Revolution when Kings fell out of fashion, this little town located near the border between the Loire Valley and Auvergne has many beautiful sites to visit, and comes alive every summer with a week dedicated to sports and outside activities.
It shares Gracay’s mobile cinema, and often organizes walks on its pretty countryside roads – perfect for those wishing to take in some more of Cher’s amazing landscape.
Situated on the border between the Cher and Indre departments, Gracay was an important medieval town, and remnants of this period such as medieval ramparts and a motte-and-bailey castle dating back from the XIth century can be found.
Now a relatively small town, it hosts many activities, has a few museums dedicated to photography and circus, a unique ‘mobile cinema’, and has been officially decorated with a ‘Flower’, recognizing its valuable ecological development and care for biodiversity.
Built in a beautiful natural basin on the banks of the Cher River, which separates it from the nearby town of Orval, Saint-Amand-Montrond is a small, quiet city near Bourges, and the self-proclaimed exact geographical heart of France. As a city where water gently laps at its heels, the area used to be surrounded by marshes, and many gardens have small water holes.
Saint-Amand-Montrond has a long and rich heritage, and is one of the stops on the Jacques-Coeur Road, the oldest historic route of the country. Within its walls is the Saint-Vic museum, a former villa dating back from the XVIth century, now welcoming many fascinating exhibitions throughout the year.
Many more museums and salons can be found in the city, and it is also a city entirely dedicated to culture and the arts – having created exactly 20 years ago its own department for the promotion of shows, exhibitions, and many more festivities, among which their renowned Affouages folklore festival.
Second most populated city in Cher, the ‘water city’ of Vierzon, so called for being crossed by no less than five rivers, is the beating heart of a nexus that links the south of the country to Paris. Whether coming on train or by car, Vierzon is only a few hours away from the capital, and this has allowed the city to develop massively over the past few decades.
Vierzon was one of the cities that were badly hit by the Second World War – the very line that divided the country in two during the occupation, also divided the city itself! This is one of the many aspects of its rich historical, natural and industrial legacy, of which the city is especially proud of.
Vierzon is also home to a few museums, dedicated to glass, porcelain, sandstone – which the city specialized in producing during its industrial period. Many events and festivals happen throughout the year, and there are guided tours of the city – to discover its medieval side, and its industrial side, both essential parts of the history of Vierzon.