The Historical City
The town began to be built around the same time as the priory was being constructed. Families settled near the monastery and the trading that resulted enabled the town to develop.

The stone bridge

The fact that there was already a ford across the Loire showed that humans had settled had previously existed, but the growing importance of the monastery and the associated trading led to the construction of a more permanent structure. In 1520, Prior Jean de la Magdeleine de Ragny, who was a celebrated builder, had the current stone bridge built. It was modified in the 18th century, and remains today one of the oldest and most beautiful of the Loire bridges.

A fortified town

The defence of the town and the priory made it necessary to fortify the town, as in all towns in the middle ages. In 1081 Philippe Auguste authorised the construction of a first surrounding wall, which was strengthened in 1164. These battlements surrounded and protected the wall around the monastery. In the 19th century the town’s growth gradually swallowed up the battlements, which became part of the town itself. Parts of the wall can still be seen today, notably to the north of the priory. The guards’ walkway, which led from the Perrinet Gressard tower to the Cuffy tower is still accessible and allows a magnificent view of the mediaeval town and the Loire.

Typical roads and lanes

The old part of town has conserved most of its original structure, which gives it a certain charm, with a sense of mystery. The roads and lanes have kept their original names, recalling lost trades and activities, such as the ‘place des pêcheurs’ (fishermen’s square) or the ‘rue des chapelains’ (Chaplains’ road), or named after the ex-landowner (rue du champ Baratté, or ‘road of Baratté’s field’), or for historical events. The different areas are full of history, the roads packed with memories. There are numerous surprises: the road of 84 steps, a traditional pilgrims’ passage since the 12th century, the ‘rue du grenier à sel’ (road of the salt granary), ‘le passage du guichet’ (ticket booth passage), ‘la maison du nain’ (the dwarf’s house); all original and characteristic places to discover. It is easy to imagine the fishermen and their families living in the lanes leading down to the Loire, or the wine growers in the ‘guétrôts’ area at the top of the town with their distinctive houses. Visitors can also benefit from the renovated themed areas like the book town, and will find all the shops and services that they might need – butchers, bakers, banks etc.

The ‘Faubourg’, an island in the middle of the Loire

One area of La Charité-sur-Loire- was built on an island in the Loire there are many islands, which are often sandy, but the island that was chosen for construction had stronger foundations. This is how the ‘Faubourg’ are came to be located between two branches of the Loire. At the northern end of the island is the municipal campsite, and at the southern end is the embankment built to direct the flow of the Loire towards the old town port.

Information - Guided tour

In season, the tourist office proposes all year guided tours of the city on reservation to contact us.
Multimedia guides are also at your disposal for the visit, with a circuit for children, please click here.
To download our documentation, please click here.

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