Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 22 - Chateauroux on the way into the Loire Valley

Châteauroux lies on the Indre River 250 km (155 miles) south of Paris and 142 km (88 miles) south of Orléans. Châteauroux is the capital of the Indre department in central France and the second-largest town in Berry, after Bourges. Its residents are called Castelroussines or Castelroussins. Châteauroux is one of the communes awarded the grand prize by the Concours National des Villes et Villages Fleuris, a beautification initiative begun in 1959. The castle from which the city takes its name was built in the latter part of the 10th century by Raoul, prince of Déols.The old town, close to the river, forms a nucleus around which a newer and more extensive quarter, bordered by boulevards, has grown up; the suburbs of St. Christophe and Déols lie on the right bank of the Indre.

Châteauroux inherited its name from the "Castrum Dolis", which became Château Raoul, founded between 917 and 927. It remained a "modest town" until the Revolution, and grew to its present size in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The town is situated on the edge of the immense State-owned forest of Châteauroux, which is dominated by sessile oaks, and the Brenne national park, a land of water and hedged farmland. In these delightful surroundings, the town has been able to safeguard and develop its natural environment. The Indre runs through the town, creating a kind of green valley, with little bridges, footbridges and paths where you can wander along the Indre without ever having to use or cross tarmac roads.

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