One word – variety. And Eure et Loir has heaps of it. With our adventure-loving minds urging us to head out on our next countryside sojourn, we couldn’t resist sniffing out the cutest villages around. Welcome to Eure et Loir to experience its rural charm, sleepy little hamlets and idyllic countryside. Here, the wake-up call is a rooster crowing at dawn and luxury resides in those simple little pleasures that bring the most happiness. Nature, picture-perfect villages, enchanting places we take the time to fully embrace. It’s like getting a cosy hug from the countryside.
Mighty scenery & Most Beautiful Detours of France
Let’s cast our eyes a little further afield to gaze adoringly at the prettiest villages of Eure et Loir. Listed by a famous French magazine as some of the country’s “Most Beautiful Detours”, Châteaudun as well as Nogent le Rotrou are definitely worth a detour. Unique, each with its own style, their own atmosphere, historic castle and rich history, we venture forth.
Walking through the charming streets of Châteaudun truly feels like stepping back in time. With its medieval aura, its quaint cafés and impressive heritage buildings, enhanced by a Neo-Renaissance fountain and lively farmers’ market on Place du 18 Octobre, we discover as well the magnificent half-timbered house of Louis Esnault and a majestic castle. This lovely market town built on a rocky promontory overlooking the Loir evokes the romance of a time before our modern era. Here’s a little preview of Châteaudun.
Here’s another picture-perfect village worth a detour that is sure to put a smile on your face. Nogent le Rotrou is famed for its medieval castle, the Chateau Saint-Jean, but boasts many other assets, such as the Pâty district and its charming manor houses. Surrounded by beauty and steeped in history, Nogent le Rotrou was also the home of the Duke of Sully back in the 16th century.
A little town with character!
Just a stone’s throw away from Paris, the picturesque medieval town of Epernon attracts visitors from all over, and quite rightly so. First of all, it’s conveniently located on the Veloscenic cycling route linking Paris to the Mont Saint Michel. Secondly, it has been awarded with the French label “Petites Cités de Caractère ®” for its precious heritage. Look out for the old cellar of the Pressoirs as well as the Priory Saint Thomas and its listed church which have stood the test of time. Epernon is also home to an unusual museum: Musée des Meules et Pavés d'Epernon which is dedicated to millstones and cobblestones, and ultimately to the old trades related to its historic quarries. So much to see in so little time!
Delve deeper into local history by visiting Gallardon and Nogent le Roi, both known for to their beautiful half-timbered houses, as well as for landmarks such as a ruined tower called l’« épaule » de Gallardon (as it resembles a lamb's shoulder) or the park of the castle of Nogent le Roi which teems with wildlife (be quiet and discreet for a chance to spot the local herd of fallow deer living in perfect harmony with nature).
And if you fancy taking an exclusive aperitif at the château, here’s how you could top up your day and finish off in style!
« Stations vertes » resorts
In Eure et Loir, you’ll find neither beach, ski slopes nor underground. However, you will find many areas of stunning natural beauty along with a seemingly never-ending list of things to do. Some of our villages have been awarded the Green Resort label (in French « Stations vertes ») as part of a national plan for rural tourist destinations. Authentic places reflecting a true local identity!
Welcome to Cloyes les Trois Rivières, an oasis of greenery romantically wrapped around its impressive castle, the Château de Montigny le Gannelon. Located on the banks of the Loir, this lovely area provides a breathtaking view of the majestic chateau from the water and likewise, a stunning view from the top! The walk up is definitely worth it! You're sure to enjoy the tranquility of a leisurely stroll…unless you’re in for active water-fun at the water park!
Senonches is a peaceful hidden treasure on the edge of the forest. The location is perfect for people who to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and the beautiful wildlife living in the Perche Regional National Park. Tree hugging, forest bathing and wild mushroom foraging are the favorites past times of families and friends here! Another favorite educational and interactive activity awaits visitors at the castle and its museum dedicated to the lumber industry.
Exploring local markets is one of the best ways to tap into regional mores and rhythms! This weekly delight is set in Brou every Wednesday morning on the market square. It must be one of the prettiest markets in the region. Definitely “The Place to Be” in order to delve into the area’s culinary delights and to sample local specialties of the surrounding countryside. In season, the live-poultry market with its unrivalled atmosphere make for a really special visit and, still today, such markets are the beating heart of many local communities. Once your basket is full of yummy treats, wander in the village and marvel at the gorgeous half-timbered houses and heritage buildings such as the old wash houses along the river Ozanne.
Dropping anchor in Bonneval!
Welcome on board! Charter your own eco-friendly electric boat to explore the river Loir at your own pace, starting in Bonneval. You are the captain and you choose the route of your boating adventure. This is a unique way to soak up the sights and discover Eure et Loir from a different perspective. The boats are easy to drive and no experience is required. The peaceful river Loir provides a perfect opportunity to laze away the day in the company of friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors.
Dreux, determinedly different
In Dreux, you’ll notice straight away the legacy of the family of Bourbon-Orléans, descendants of Louis XIV, when you see the town’s most notable landmark: the beautiful Royal Chapel built in 1816. (Find out more) Wander through the medieval town centre and you’ll soon come across the belfry. Scour the streets of Dreux to spot pieces of graffiti art throughout the city. Don’t leave town before having seen the portal of Hôtel Dieu and its foundling wheel, or “baby hatch”: a small crib with an opening on the outside, similar to a revolving door. A unique example of the place where mothers could bring babies, usually newborn, and abandon them anonymously in a safe place where they might be found and cared for. Needless to say it is no longer operational in present days.
Ding Dong bell! Go for a walk in the countryside and the chances are you will come across the historic centerpiece of almost every village: the parish church. Eure et Loir’s rural churches are steeped in holy history and can be fascinating places to visit whether or not you consider yourself a spiritual person.
Just outside the little village of Orrouer, the church’s spire soars into the skyline in the middle of the wheat fields. Its atmospheric beauty is enhanced by its desolate surroundings. Going to mass is a convivial event for the 300 inhabitants of the commune, all of whom walk together across the fields to reach their place of worship!
The tiny chapel of Saint Hilaire des Noyers in Saintigny, measuring just 5 metres x 4.4 metres, is also an isolated place of meditation. Its amazing architecture is unique in France!
Set in an oasis of greenery, the chapel de Réveillon in La Ferté Vidame and the chapel of Notre Dame d'Yron in Cloyes les Trois Rivières have surprisingly managed to preserve all of their ancient wall paintings. Legend goes that in the year 1212, two thousand children left from here to travel to the Holy Land, from whence they never returned.
Even if churches may not always be visited these days for their religious significance, they are still appreciated for their splendour and beauty, their majesty and magnificence. The frescoes in the church of Saint Orien in Meslay le Grenet are unique in Europe! Dating back to the 15th century, they picture a death dance inspired by the Hundred Years' War and the Black plague. Spooky but definitely worth of a visit! How many skeletons can you count in the painting?
Another macabre place to scare yourself a little is the church of Loigny la Bataille, built in commemoration of the battle of Loigny wherein French and Prussian soldiers engaged in combat on the 2nd of December 1870. Famed as one of the most atmospheric places in Eure et Loir, not to mention one of the most haunted (given the remains of more than 1,200 soldiers laid to rest just by the museum).
This is a place riddled with morbid and mysterious stories!
Going back to welcoming, peaceful and picturesque places of worship, we discover the church of Saint Pierre in Romilly sur Aigre.
This house of worship boasts such an unusual architecture that visitors can wonder if it’s a church or an inhabited manor house. There is so much charm in this beautiful fairytale fortified fortress made of two round towers!
Lift your eyes to the heavens when you visit the listed church of Saint Martin in La Croix du Perche in order to capture the unique beauty of its structure. The vaulted ceiling inspires the utmost reverence for the remarkable ingenuity and audacity of the builders. Here is a true showcase of amazing architecture and exquisite ornate detailing.
There are endless ways to explore Eure et Loir. No matter where you go, you're in for an incredible trip. Get inspired by more countryside adventures here.
You might stumble upon hidden jewels!Watch out!
Eglise Saint Martin de la Croix du PercheLA CROIX-DU-PERCHE
Formerly a chapel for the priory founded by the monks of Saint Bernard de Thiron, this unassuming edifice hides a magnificent interior painted in 1537, fully restored with 118 colourful panels. A true artistic treasure!Read more
On the Little Venise of the BeauceLoir Valley
Planning to take a boat trip down Little Venise in Eure et Loir? Embark onboard from the village of Bonneval and glide along the canals of Little Venise in the Beauce area. It’s such great way to spend some quiet time in this peaceful medieval town while enjoying its highlights, its hidden gems and local culinary delights.Read more
Eglise Saint Orien, Dance of DeathMESLAY-LE-GRENET
Saint-Orien church contains the 'Dance of Death', a unique group of wall paintings, the most complete in Europe, dating back to the 15th century. Completely restored, it is crowned with the 'Legend of the three living and the three dead', the ...Read more
Electric Boats – Capitainerie de BonnevalBONNEVAL
A peaceful trip along the Loir, to discover Bonneval, the Little Venice of Beauce and see its rich medieval heritage from another point of view. New: history of the wash-houses along the river Loir.Read more
Guiding Tour ChâteaudunCHATEAUDUN
A historic site on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Loir, set around the castle and the market square. A trip back in time through the steep, winding streets, past stone or half-timbered houses with rich decor, religious and civil buildings.Read more
Musée des meules et des pavés d’EpernonEPERNON
Located in 19th-century stables, the conservatory bears testimony to the work and social life of quarrymen in the last century. It also has temporary and themed exhibitions on bread.Read more
Visit the town of Gallardon and its relics: the dungeon and the 12th century church, and the wooden house known as the "Fief des Marmousets".Read more
Nogent-le-Roi, the area's administrative capital, was built in the heart of the Eure valley. All its history is marked by its geographical situation. Discover the half-timbered houses, the Saint-Sulpice church, the chateaux and the deer park...Read more
Parc du château de Nogent-le-RoiNOGENT-LE-ROI
Perched above the town, the wildlife park at Castle Nogent-le-Roi is home to sixty fallow deer. Enjoy the pleasant surroundings and admire the splendid antlers of these magnificent animals.Read more
Guiding Tour SenonchesSENONCHES
The fortified complex was built in the 12th century by Hugh II of Châteauneuf, lord of Thymerais, as an outpost of the Capetian royal estate to defend against the Duchy of Normandy.Read more
Château de Montigny-le-GannelonCLOYES-LES-TROIS-RIVIÈRES
Situated on the borders of Beauce and Le Perche in a 15-hectare park, the Renaissance Château de Montigny-le-Gannelon's silhouette is a feature of the heights of the Loir Valley. It is kept warm with its furnished and lived-in properties.Read more
Château de Senonches – Forêt d’HistoiresSENONCHES
The modern, interactive museum starts by presenting the forest ecosystem before focusing in more detail on the outstanding natural beauty that can be found in Senonches forest. As you learn about the history of the forest, you will find out about ...Read more
Market of BrouBROU
The weekly Brou market is held every Wednesday morning in the city center, in the summer season on Sunday morning at Place de la Matrassière, but also in the winter season on Sunday morning at Place des Halles.Read more
Musée de la Guerre de 1870LOIGNY-LA-BATAILLE
A big battle in the Beauce? This is the theme of the 1870 War Museum in Loigny-la-Bataille with an innovative interactive visit in which you are given a Pocket Pc and Aristide, your virtual guide, takes you back into history.Read more