There is on the place du champ de foire in Vernoil-le-Fourrier, two Boule de Fort societies. This game is specific to the region Touraine, Anjou, Loire Valley. It was born in the 17th century probably created by the Loire sailors, and is registered as intangible heritage of the countries of the Loire Valley.
The track is curved, like the bottom of the gabarres (ships on the Loire river) from which could come the game, and the ball, in wood for the oldest ones or in resin for the modern ones, is rather an asymmetrical cylinder, circled of metal , with a heavier side: the strong, and a lighter side, the weaker. It is played as a team, slipper on the track, and as petanque to get closer to the “Small”, white ball. Depending on the type of throwing, the ball will have a more or less curved trajectory, accentuated if we use the curved edges of the track.
I invite you to watch this report and perhaps to push the door of one or the other of Vernoil’s ball games, maybe you will have the chance to see a competition, or get started by a member or even, like me, by a champion of Boule de Fort.
A few meters from our holiday home, are the Romanesque church of the twelfth century and the priory of the fifteenth century, both listed in French heritage buildings, jewels of the architectural heritage of the village.
The church steeple was in ancient times known as the highest bell tower of Anjou. It collapsed in December 1711 after a terrible earthquake, happily sparing parish and parishioners. Since then, it has been rebuilt in hexagon tower, on the whole, quite elegant, on eighteenth-century frames that do not conform to the width of its walls, and a less dominant position. The town has been committed for several years to a heavy program of restoration of the church, which allowed the reopening of the church in spring 2019.
During the European heritage days 2019, on September 21 & 22th, the church will be opened from 10 am to 6 pm
Just backwards the church, the 15th century priory with its octagonal tower and its suite of houses leaning against each other.
At the back of the priory, extends a mall, flowered garden, with its lawns and bowling alleys, meeting place for the players of petanque in Vernoil.
Beside ponds and tennis at the exit of the village, the town has created a green area called “fitness trail” with tackles and obstacles. You can run it in small strides, or in walk mode, in this well-kept and airy green space. Tables for picnics are also installed.
If you follow the complete route, you will go around the two ponds for a distance of about 4 kms.
If you spend the afternoon or the evening in Saumur, it is wonderful to admire the panorama of the castle of Saumur. You park your car on the banks of the Loire river on a parking at the foot of the ramparts and start the assault!
It begins with a small flight of steps to discourage cyclists, but then the climb is gently sloping by a large secure path that winds on the rock on which are built fortifications.
Along the way, you have beautiful views on the Loire river.
When you arrive at the foot of the castle, you have the full view: on one side the castle bordered by an arpent vine, on the other the Loire, the bridges of Saumur, the island between the bridges. that’s wonderful.
You can refresh yourself at the aptly named refreshment bar: the panorama, or cross the drawbridge and prefer the guinguettes inside the ramparts.
Au pied des remparts - The ramparts
La Loire chemin faisant - The Loire river on the way
Les ponts de Saumur - Saumur bridges
La rivière derrière les vignes - Loire river behind the vines
Le château derrière les vignes - Saumur castle behind the vines
Comme un chevalier - As a knight
Then you can continue the visit of the interior of the castle, if time permits, or just like us from the castle walls and its fabulous views. Your children or you can disguise yourself as a knight the moment of the photo!
For lazy people, you can get to the castle esplanade by car, but it’s less picturesque
Whether you are attracted by manual activities or you like wicker creations (baskets, trunks, trays), the workshop of Mr. Christian Pineau in Vernantes on the road of Noyant will interest you a lot.
Give him a call at 02.41.51.58.26 to know if he can receive you or organize a workshop discoveries (two successive mornings) or a training course a little longer, or you open his shop for exhibition and sale!
This year, at the Jules Desbois museum, an exhibition entitled “Sublime decay”, which includes some sculptures of Jules Desbois, the child of the Parçay Les Pins, small village in the nearby, and piece of works from his friends Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel on the theme of aging and death, from the realistic current in nineteenth-century sculpture.
While passing on the road from Noyant to Vernoil, I had always wondered what was this museum located in the Angevin countryside, well, this year, on the occasion of this exhibition and the guided tour that gently offered to me the young woman at the museum’s reception, that’s it, I’ve discovered it!
Jules Desbois, born in Parçay les pins, a few meters from his museum, was a friend, a young colleague of Auguste Rodin, and Camille Claudel, whose vision of realistic sculpture he shared, definitely not academic.
After the war of 14, the revival of interest for the sculpture benefited to Jules desbois, for official orders of towns, who wanted to sit with this art the figures of the Third Republic, the tributes to the soldiers died for France, and to offer to the most of the strong symbols of the government.
Less than 10 kilometres from the Old school in the direction of Bourgueil, is the last lead soldier factory in France (CBG Mignot), which exhibits the collection of figurines of his former boss.
Nearly 300,000 pieces, with a very large representation of soldiers of the Empire in chamarré uniforms, but also animals, circus characters, firemen, hunters or bathers. The characters are staged with the interior decoration of the red boxes designed by the company.
The tour begins on the ground floor with a sample of the collection, moulds and period utensils, and continues on the 1st floor with videos and showcases of the collection.
The lead figurines continue to be handmade using thousands of moulds from the company’s heritage, deburred, assembled and painted by hand.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, you can see the little soldiers’ painter on her workstation on the ground floor, and take away some souvenirs.
Allow 30 to 40 minutes, open from 9am to 12pm, 1.30pm to 4.30pm from Monday to Friday. https://www.soldats-de-plomb.com/
Two quick tennis courts and a training wall await you at the exit of Vernoil, in front of the old campground. The net is present from Easter to All Saints, it is removed in winter.
To obtain the access key, you must ask the Riton bar in Vernantes or in the café du Centre in Vernoil (open every day, except wednesday afternoon and Sunday, yo can get the key in advance on Saturday).
Costumed visits for children, workshops in the afternoon during the school holidays, your children are busy while you visit the castle gallery, the common, the gardens with a guided tour or your audioguide
Candlelights visits on Tuesdays during summer