Candes Saint Martin (Centre-Val de Loire), France May 2024 (Tour 9)

One mile east of Montsoreau, at the confluence of the Loire and Vienne Rivers is the village of Candes Saint Martin. We thought to start the day by walking Nala and Beanie to, from and around the village. Ultimately, it proved to be a bit of a stretch for Nala in her new wheels and we therefore curtailed the outing with me returning later in the day for a second more detailed wander. Don’t get me wrong. Nala enjoyed the day enormously and would have gone on for much longer but a leg strap was chafing and we decided to rest her.

Candes Saint Martin is another ‘plus beau village de France’. It is less than half the size of Montsoreau (just 200 inhabitants) but this tiny village also packs a punch in terms of things to see and do. It’s primary points of interest are views over the Loire Valley (from a viewpoint on a small hill at the back of the village) and the very imposing fortified collegiate church of Saint Martin (in the village centre) which was built in a predominantly Gothic style during the 12th and 13th centuries. Most of the fortifications were added in the 15th century.

(There is also a 5 hectare park of urban street art which I will write about once I have been back to for a better look).

The church is surprisingly large for such a small village but Saint Martin of Tours (also known as Martin the Merciful) carried a lot of weight in this area. In case you are interested, he was born in Hungary during the early part of the 4th century, the son of a Roman officer. Martin too became a soldier (joining the cavalry). It was during this time of his life that on a very cold day he became famous for tearing his cape in half and sharing it with a beggar. He subsequently converted to Christianity, was made a Bishop of Tours and later died in Candes. The church named after him was built on the spot in Candes where his house once stood.

Candes Saint Martin appears more popular with tourists than Montsoreau (that is probably because of the enormous interest the French seem to have in Martin of Tours aka Martin the Merciful) with three whole coachloads arriving in the village’s small car park while I was there but; I much prefer Montsoreau. It is not so obviously ‘touristy’. Yes, Montsoreau has its fair share of visitors but for the most part they are cyclists travelling the Loire Velo (which forms the 800 kilometre western section of Eurovelo 6, linking the Black Sea to the Atlantic). I dislike cyclists (this comes of living in Brighton where the brainless council is hell-bent on limiting all pavements and roads to bicycles) but, in fairness to cyclists, at least they are not inclined to congregate in large numbers around anyone waving an umbrella like coach travellers always do.

Post Script: A couple of days after visiting Candes Saint Martin, we returned to visit the Street Art Parc and we were very pleased to have done so. It is a great way to spend an hour and a half and good value for money too with the entrance fee being just 7 euros (5 to me because I rank as a senior). We had the place to ourselves and it is a secure area which meant we could let the dogs run loose. The dogs don’t have the same interest in street art as we do but a free run around part of a sizeable forest will always appeal to lively dogs.

I should explain that in 2019 the owners of the Chateau de Candes invited some 20 ‘urban’ artists to take up residence at the chateau with a view to their developing and displaying street art across some 5 hectares of woodland. Within a month, 40+ creations were on display and since then at least another 15 artists have joined the initiative. I’ll not say more about the place except that I came away describing the visit as “pure joy”. I’ll leave you with some photos I took but, I could have taken so many more…

Apologies for not having made a note of all the artist’s names – my bad (as my children would say). What a place! And doesn’t the forest just lend itself to some of these pieces? For more info visit

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