Montrichard-Val-de-Cher in France is a charming town that is nestled on the banks of the Cher River. It is not very big or very famous, but it’s so charming and idyllic, it invites plenty of visitors to this part of the Loire Valley.
The town is located near the cities of Amboise and Tours, about 1h30 hours from Orléans. Montrichard is famous for its various sights and activities, like exploring mushroom farms and cave dwellings, that make a quite a change from visiting the grand châteaux of the Loire Valley.
The Château of Amboise, Château de Blois, Chateau de Cheverny and Chateau de Chambord, are all within 30 minutes of Montrichard, making it a popular stop for visitors to the area.
So let’s have a look at what there is to see and do in Montrichard, shall we? Allons-y!
Things to do in Montrichard
1. Château de Montrichard
The castle was originally constructed by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou in the 11th century. In 1188, the siege laid by King Philippe Auguste partially destroyed both the castle and the town of Montrichard.
King Henri IV ordered portions of it to be dismantled in 1589 which is why it is much smaller than it once was.
It is here that Princess Joan of France married at the age of 12 to her cousin, the future King Louis XII of France, (at the time, Duke of Orléans). It was a scandalous story in its day as Louis XII famous had the marriage annulled later, in order to marry Anne of Brittany (a much richer bride) by arguing that Joan was sterile and hunchbacked.
Joan fought back, providing proof in court, but ultimately lost. She retired to monastic life, and was eventually made a saint.
During the 1789 French Revolution, the commune became known as Montégalité rather than Montrichard, and the château remained in ruins.
Today, inside the Château de Montrichard is an archeological museum that goes through paleontology and prehistoric times to the Gallo and Roman epoch and the Frankish Merovingianera.
2. Caves Monmousseau
The Caves Monmousseau is winery, but where the tastings are held underground. Loire valley wines are famous across France, and the winery explores the different types of wine that abound.
The caves are colorfully lit and offer quite the spectacle. There are artworks splashed on the walls with lights and bottles of sparkling wines lined up for aging. The tour then heads to the tasting area where a wine tasting is offered.
Caves Monmousseau’s opening hours depend on the season, and guided or self-guided tours are available. Check their website before heading over.
3. Maison de Prêche
A few meters away from the Château de Montrichard is the Maison de Prêche. It is the oldest house in the city and the only house to have escaped the fire of the city by Philippe Auguste in 1188.
Its construction dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. It used to be part of the Commandery of the Order of the Templars of Bourré (Moulin Blanc).
In 1563, the house was designated to serve as a meeting place for Protestants. Later, the house was also mentioned as a synagogue in a memoir by Monsieur d’Epinay, published in 1870.
4. Musée Des Confréríes Européennes
The Museum of European brotherhoods is located near the moat of the Château de Montrichard-Val-de-Cher. It is a tiny museum founded by a local resident, a man named Gérard Pessin.
It contains around 400 statuettes of about 60 cm in height, carrying the effigy of various European brotherhoods that date back centuries.
5. La Magnanerie, site troglodytique
This part of the Loire Valley is famous for its “maisons troglodytique” or homes underground. The homes are built in caves, at times extending deep underground.
La Magnanerie site troglodytique is a underground living complex that is open to visitors. It is located about 3km away from the center of Montrichard.
In the Magnanerie, they also grow silkworms used for the production of raw silk, which has taken place here since the 17th century. Visits to the underground troglo complex are by guided tour only so check opening times and tour times before heading over.
6. Cave des Roches
The Cave des Roches is the biggest mushroom growing operation in France. It operates 40m underground and is about 5km away from the center of Montrichard.
The mushrooms grown here are sold all across the world, and served in some of the finest Michelin star restaurants. Some of the main types of mushrooms grown here are:
- The Blue foot
- Yellow oyster mushroom
- Le Shii also (shittake)
- button mushroom
But along with mushrooms, the Cave des Roches also has a beautiful series of underground sculptures that have been carved into the stone.
Visits to the Cave des Roches are by guided tour only, as the the caves cover about 120 km over 7 floors underground. Check opening times and tour times online before heading over.
How to get to Montrichard?
The town of Montrichard is quite accessible from Paris by car and by train. It takes approximately 2h20 to drive from Paris depending on traffic.
By train, you can take a TGV high speed train from Paris’s Montparnasse station to Tours and then change trains to Montrichard. The trip is approximately 3h15.
How many days should you spend?
It takes about a day to explore Montrichard, so you can easily visit the town as a day trip from one of the larger cities nearby like Orléans, Tours, Amboise, or Blois. From here you can also visit the nearby towns of Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher and Montrésor.
Where should you stay?
Montrichard is about a 45 minute drive away from the town of Amboise and the town of Blois so I recommend staying there.
Both Amboise and Blois are larger towns with plenty of restaurants and shops open in the evening and makes an excellent base to visit all the châteaux of the Loire Valley.
- €€€ – ibis Blois Centre Château
- €€€€ – Hotel Mercure Blois Centre (with pool)
- €€€€€ – Fleur de Loire (on the quai across from the old city center of Blois)
If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about traveling around the Loire Valley. A bientôt!