Characterfuls villages

Charlieu : Labelled « Most Beautiful Detour in France »  and « Village de Caractère en Loire » (« Characterful Village in Loire »), Charlieu is well worth spending a day in to discover its treasures one by one: the Benedictine Abbey, the andouille « tripe sausage », the Silk Museum…

Saint-Haon-le-Châtel: Noblemen have not been in power here for several centuries and yet medieval history still resounds around the village streets. To hear it, you just need to follow the waymarked route in the heart of this open-air museum which will take you past town walls, half-timbered houses, mansions and town houses.

Le Crozet: Standing proudly on the top of a hill, this village was ideally situated to defend itself during the Middle Ages. A once sound place of refuge, it still retains its remarkable
architecture of that time. You enter Le Crozet as inhabitants of old did: by the Main Gate, which used to have a drawbridge. You then carry on towards the imposing Tour au Bec tower before reaching the sturdy keep.

Ambierle: The first things you see of Ambierle are the colourful tiles of its priory that form a patchwork of warm hues. But once inside the village, it reveals other treasures such as Musée Alice Taverne, a museum dedicated to rural life from 1840 to 1940. The collections are housed in the intimate setting of an old mansion.

Saint-Jean-Saint-Maurice:  In this village, traces of the old medieval fortress (the keep and door) stand side by side with treasures of Renaissance architecture of which the Manoir de la Mure (La Mure Manor House) is a fine example. You will enjoy strolling around the narrow streets of this stone-built village that is so full of character.