Named after the Indre River, the department has the nickname 'the country of a thousand ponds'. A prime destination for nature, the area is predominately made up of forests and wet zones and Brenne’s multiple ponds, a favourite spot for water birds.
Indre (department number 36) is located in the Centre-Val-de-Loire region and has an estimated population of 231,139 (approximate in Jan 1999). The department is located in central France and borders the regions of Poitou-Charentes and Limousine. The capital of Indre is Chateauroux. The other major towns of the Indre department are Le Blanc, Issoudun and La Châtre.
Why you should visit Indre for your next holiday in France
Indre forms part of the historical old province of 'Berry' with the neighbouring department of Cher. The 'Berry' is considered to be the most attractive part of the Loire Valley.
When visiting the Loire, sight-seeing features heavily on the agenda. Over 80 churches and 100 Chateaux are waiting to be explored in this medieval department alone.
The department is great for cycling and horse-riding and this is a wonderful way to explore the countryside. You can hire horses for an hour or a day to suit all levels of expertise and there are golf courses and good fishing in the rivers. Village fetes, festivals, concerts and theatre are held throughout the year.
As with all of France, each region and department contributes to the delectable array of gastronomy. Indre is no exception; Pyramid-shaped goat's cheeses and scrumptious pies feature heavily on the menus in the area.
The region as a whole is generally warm and showery in spring, with temperatures sometimes reaching 30 plus degrees through the summer and frequently, a warm late autumn.
What to see in Indre
Chateauroux is the second largest town in Berry after Bourges, which is located in the neighbouring department of Cher. The town, birthplace of the actor Gérard Depardieu, is situated 250km south of Paris on the Indre River. It was awarded the grand prize by the Concours National des Villes et Villages Fleuris as the town with the best display of flowers and with approximately 450 hectares (1112 acres) of parks it is easy to understand why.
Set amongst tranquil countryside alongside the Creuse River, the market town of Le Blanc can be found. Two weekly markets are held on a Saturday and a Wednesday. The town is traditionally French in appearance and there is a large brick viaduct and a road bridge underneath, which dominates the skyline. The viaduct is used to carry the railway line high above the river. You will be spoilt for choice with the excellent eateries that await you in Le Blanc.
Issoudun is a delightful medieval town, nestled amongst vineyards and the fairytale Loire landscape. Many of its fortifications have been destroyed over the decades. However, there is still a sixteenth century town gate still standing, and also the famous White Tower, a distinctive high cylindrical edifice. The town offers a mixture of modern facilities and provides a relaxing base from which to explore the Chateaux and beautiful countryside that surrounds it.
Although there are less than 5000 residents in the picturesque town of La Châtre there are still plenty of facilities for both relaxation and sport for locals and tourists alike. In fact, Tourism is the main industry and so you can be sure of a comfortable stay. The majority of the city was destroyed by fire in 1152 but since it was rebuilt, it has remained relatively undamaged. During 1424, work commenced to build a castle to protect the town. It was later decided that the castle would be better put to use as a prison and today it is now the town's museum.
How to get to Indre
Ryanair fly from the UK to Tours or you can fly to Paris and take the TGV or hire a car.
The region has excellent road connections via the A10, A11 and A71 motorways which converge on Paris. Orleans the capital of the region is about 425 km and 4 hours away from Calais.
The TGV runs from Paris (Gare Montparnasse) to Vendôme (45 min) and Tours (60 min)