Golf is a pleasure in Loir et Cher on superb courses matched by the beautiful countryside of the Loire Valley.
Le Golf du Château Cheverny is 15minutes along the A10 from Blois. The 18 hole 71par 6272m course designed by Oliver Van der Vynckt is open all year. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 79 24 70 to book.
Close to the world-class golf resort at Golf International des Bordes at Saint-Laurent-Nouan, Golf de Ganay is the only 36 hole course in the region.
Fairways on the remaining 72 par course run through the Sologne forest and greens are excellent as is the restaurant in the twelfth century manor club house. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 87 26 24.
Golf de la Bosse at Oucques has a friendly atmosphere and is open each day but Tuesday. www.labosse.com has more details.
The wealth of ponds, creeks, and 1st and 2nd category rivers, makes Loir et Cher a fisherman’s paradise - especially for eels, carp and highly prized pike. France’s longest river, the Loire, has almost limitless opportunities for fishing along with the rivers Loir, Cher, Bevron, Sauldre, Canal de Berry and more. Enjoy family fishing in calm lake waters or angling for trout in the Perche and Vendomois regions.
Eel-like lampreys are amongst fish found in the rivers of the Sologne. A list of where to fish can be obtained from tourist offices in the Sologne such as Romorantin-Lanthenay, tel: (00 33) 2 54 76 43 89.
Rivers for trout and salmon fishing are open from March to September and coarse fishing is available for most of the year. Holiday fishing permits (Carte de Peche de Vacances) can usually be obtained at local tabacs and fishing tackle shops.
Follow parts of the Touraine-Loire-Valley Vineyards route enjoying the vineyard scenery and tasting AOC wines from the Gamay and Sauvignon grapes along the way. (Look for ‘degustation’ signs). Local tourist offices will have information on these. The route is signposted from St-Nicholas-de-Bourgueil to Chambord, from Chinon to Selles-sur-Cher in the south and Vendome to Château-du-Loir.
In the towns, Maison du Vin, place Wilson, Saint-Aignan, is open Tues and Thurs all year and every day but Sat July/Aug. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 75 44 37. Maison du Vin, place du Château in Blois offers a free visit and tastings of all the major AOC wines of the area including Touraine, Coteaux du Vendomois and Valencay. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 74 76 66.
Book a wine-tasting at Saveur et Media in Coulanges where you can also sample local products and take organised vineyard visits. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 20 49 80 for more information. No tasting, but see a traditional winegrower’s shelter, vineyard and old apple orchard in the ‘Provinces’ quarter of Vendome. Visits welcome all year.Tel: (00 33) 2 54 72 80 73.
The GR3 long distance walking route known as the Loire Valley Trail traces the River Loire from the sea at La Baule east to its source. Red and white signposts mark the route west to east across Loir et Cher where it branches off into the GR3C in the Sologne to detour through Chambord and along forest routes to Thoury and La Ferte-St-Cyr.
The GR31 also travels through the Chambord forest. The Sologne has many easy to follow walking routes and local tourist offices have maps and details. A brochure with 30 nature walks of between 6-12km around the Sologne can be requested from tel: (00 33) 2 54 76 27 18.
Another Loire Valley trail, the GR 35, starts in Eure at Verneuil-sur-Avre and follows a south westerly route into Loir-et-Cher via Pezou, Vendome and Montoire-sur-Loir.
Swimming and sailing come high on the list at Montrichard leisure park and between Chartres-sur-Cher and Chissay-en-Touraine there are nautical bases every few km along the river as well as lakes for sailing and surfing.
USCCLM Water Base at Chartres-sur-Cher has a great variety of supervised water activities for adults and children, certified sailing school, canoe, kayak, dinghy hire and 14km canoe outings along the Cher. Tel: (00 33) 2 54 98 07 37 for more. Chartres, Selles-sur-Cher and Saint-Aignan all have swimming pools and there’s sailboard, dinghy and catamaran rental at Les Couflons Water Area at Seigy.
Find canoeing and kayaking activities at St-Aignan on the Cher, at St-Jean-Froidmentel on the Loir and at Canoe-kayak Val des Chateaux, St-Dye-Sur-Loire on the Loire. There are plenty of opportunities for water tourism. Take a discovery trip on the Loire by flat bottomed boat from Blois or a sightseeing cruise from St-Aignan. Rent a houseboat without a permit at Noyers-sur-Cher.