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Descartes in the Loire Valley

Descartes village centre

Descartes is set on the river Creuse, in Southern Touraine within the Loire Valley. The town was home to the famous philosopher and mathematician René Descartes "I think therefore I am" and there is museum dedicated to him in the house where he lived. It is open from 16 March until 21 November daily from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day except Tuesdays, like most museums in France.

Rene Descartes statuein the town of the same name

You can read more about the great man...here

Le Dit Vin in Descartes

The town centre has a good variety of commercial activities which include a cinema, individual boutiques, independent wine shop (English spoken) plus chemist, bank post office and mini market. There is ample parking within the town.

Descartes Market

The village has a very good, busy, Sunday morning market, where you can buy fresh home-grown produce and wines of the region or simply enjoy the atmosphere.

There is a choice of well-stocked supermarkets at the edge of town that make an ideal stop-off point, if travelling down from Tours to a holiday destination in Southern Touraine.

They hold an evening market on the riverside at the Quai Couratin on the first Friday in August every year which normally includes live music.

vegetable stall at  Descartes Market in Indre et Loire, France   fruit and vef stall at  Descartes Market in Indre et Loire, France

For leisure Descartes offers a heated outdoor swimming pool complex with slides, (no outdoor shorts allowed); baby pool, 25 metre pool and large sunbathing area, cafeteria, children's play park, crazy golf, fishing, tennis plus canoeing on the river Cruise courtesy of the local Kayak Club.

Swimming pool is open only in summer.

Sunday, June 14: Door open from 14:30 - 18:30, free entry 

Opening times:

From June 3 to July 3:
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday: 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. From July 4 to August 30: Monday: 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday by: 10:30 AM - 1:30 p.m. ET 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

swimming complex at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France

 © Mairie de Descartes


swimming pool at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France   swimming pools at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France

gardens at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France   spllilng barrel in gardensl at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France

The town has lovely, well-cared-for gardens which also have a small animal park for the kids. It is laid out on the banks of the river Creuse and if you visit the town you should make a point of taking a stroll through it - you'll be glad you did!

path in the gardens at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France   beautiful gardens at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France
bridge over the river Creuse at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France

The bridge over the river Creuse here has always been an important crossing, forming part of the pilgrims route 'Santiago de Compostela' to Spain and as part of the old main route from Paris to Bordeaux. Jim McNeill has a good article about the bridge  here... in his 'Social history of Touraine' blog.

looking over the bridge at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France

There is a good well stocked tourist office in the town. This is a good place to park to explore the town or to visit the market. You can also pick up a map for local marked-out walking routes in and around the town from here.

Tourist offices at  Descartes in Indre et Loire, France

The town has a link with the World War II in that the line separating  occupied and free France is on the road heading out of the town in the direction of Barrou / Le Blanc.

museum in Maille

 Another sad connection with WWII  can be found nearby in the village of Maillé, in the direction of St.Maur-de-Touraine where on June 10, 1944 as Paris was being liberated, the village residents (124), mainly women and children, were the victims of an organized massacre from the occupying German army in retaliation for actions of the resistance. The massacre lasted all morning. In the afternoon and late into the night,  the village was bombarded with artillery shelling , completing its destruction. There is a small museum there dedicated to the victims.

Troglodytes at St.Remy-sur-Creuse

You can also explore the troglodyte  dwellings at nearby St.Rémy-sur Creuse. Ethni'Cité, as it is referred to gives you a glimpse - just a glimpse- of what cave dwelling living and working was like. The exhibits are presented in this unique setting carved into the rockface. In the Middle Ages these caves were the refuge of lepers. Weavers later used the caves as workshops, benefiting from the presence of underground streams. There was also a fortress on the top of the outcrop built by Richard the Lionheart. A small tower buried under heavy vegetation is all that now remains.

Directions and time to Descartes



To get directions and time to Descartes, type in your post code or your starting point,  i.e.: 'Paris'





External links:


 https://www.ville-descartes.fr/                       Official website of the village




https://loirevalleyexperiences.blogspot.fr/      A walk around the town in pictures.


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"Author: Jim Craig"



Towns & villages