Monday, May 11, 2009
Day 23 - Loire and the Valencay commune
Valençay is a commune in the Indre department in central France. It is situated in the Loire Valley on a hillside overlooking the Nahon river. The commune was formed by the amalgamation of three settlements: the "Bourg-de-l'Eglise", the "Bas-Bourg", and what is called the "old quarter." On May 6, 1941, Georges Bégué, the first SOE agent from England was parachuted into a field near Valençay. Fifty years to the day, the Valençay SOE Memorial, originally known as the "Spirit of Partnership," was dedicated in honor of the 104 members of SOE's F Section who died for the liberation of France.
The town is dominated by the Château de Valençay, built in 1540 by Robert d'Estampes and most notably acquired in 1747 by the Scottish Banker John Law. Later, in 1803 the castle was purchased by the diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand.