If one day you find yourself in the little town of Saint-Victor, up on its little mountain where the wind blows hard, you'll see the Chastel, a castle that was once a possession of the counts of Forez, the Archbishop of Lyon and even the King of France - hence the fleur-de-lis in the coat of arms, turn off your engine and listen. You will be able to hear the wind.
Open your eyes wide and take in the landscape and the stone houses.
By now you should be in "unwind" mode. That's the effect Saint-Victor-sur-Loire has. A big breath of peace, quiet and contentment. Especially as here you get the full pack: Medieval castle, Romanesque church on one side, boats and farniente on the other.
There's even a romantic touch, with the Roseraie du Berland and its 80 varieties of flowers. While you're there, smell the "Muriel Robin", named after a famous comedienne from Saint-Étienne - it's refreshing. I had a sniff of the "Aimé Jacquet" and I have to say there was a hint of the smell of Victory in there.
Once in the town, you won't be able to resist the call of a walk round the ramparts. Don't look for the cherries, they were all sold - so the story goes - to the people of Saint-Étienne by the croque-cerises (cherry eaters) - a nickname for the inhabitants of Saint-Victor that has stuck. I wonder if there isn't a bit of jealously behind it.
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Saint-Etienne Tourisme - 08/03/2019
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