GREAT DAYS OUT
MUSÉE MAURICE DUFRESNE
This amazing place represents the life long passion of Maurice Dufresne: to collect, restore and preserve mechanical items which over the years have been discarded and replaced by more technically advanced versions.
Blacksmith, trailer constructor and eventually metal recycler, this extraordinary man dreamed of the safekeeping of our common heritage and, due to his undying passion, created his amazing museum of collected pieces, a true industrial heritage from 1850 to the 1950’s. An absolute must-see, even if you're not a technically minded person!
70km (1 hr) from Saint Chartres
BIOPARC DE DOUÉ LA FONTAINE
This unique 38-acre troglodyte site features luscious vegetation and numerous waterfalls in a brilliant effort to create appropriate sceneries adapted to each species kept here. The park is involved in many worldwide conservation projects and its mission is clear: to create environments reminiscent of the animals’ natural habitats and to raise people's compassion, emotion and awareness through thoughtful immersion in the natural and cultural richness of the park and its inhabitants.
Extraordinary and very beautiful!
50km (45 min) from Saint Chartres
LA BALADE DES AUTRUCHES
This lovely breeding farm, populated by ostriches and other animals, is open from April to September. You will enjoy Elodie's tour and learn all about ostriches, their characteristics, their endearing and naughty sides and the delicate conditions under which they are raised. You can enjoy a delicious lunch on the farm.
This small-scale farm was opened in 2001 and offers a really enjoyable and interesting day out.
50km (50 min.) from Saint Chartres
PARC ORIENTAL DE MAULÉVRIER
These beautiful Japanese inspired gardens tell the tale of an ambitious late 19th Century creation, followed by neglect, near-demise and dedicated late 20th Century restoration. In fact, the Parc Oriental de Maulévrier is today recognised as the biggest Japanese inspired park in Europe and regarded as a pilot project because of the quality of its restoration and enhancement. Garden lovers will thoroughly enjoy a visit. There is lots of symbolism in the Japanese aesthetics of planning and planting - birth, youth, maturity, adult life, death and immortality - and it is truly a visual, sensual and healing treat to walk the paths of this wonderful park.
74km (1 hr) from Saint Chartres
PUY DU FOU
What can we say? We absolutely LOVE this place.
Yes, it's a kind of historical theme park, but an unbelievably well conceived and designed one. Started in 1978 as an open-air amateur dramatics night, where in the grounds of a ruined castle volunteers re-enacted the bloody history of the Vendée in western France, it is now possibly THE best open air amusement park in the world. Rampaging Vikings, Roman gladiators and charioteers competing in the Colosseum, King Arthur's round table rising from the depths of a castle moat and an amazing show of 210 birds of prey in the air together, including falcons, eagles, owls and vultures. You will be in complete awe!
80km (70 minutes) from Saint Chartres
LES MACHINES DE L'ÎLE
Nantes' former shipyards are home to one of the most crazy, ambitious and utterly brilliant artistic projects ever conceived: Les Machines de l’île. Inspired by Jules Verne's invented worlds, Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical universe and Nantes’ industrial history, fantastically strange machines such as the Great Elephant, the Sea Snake and the Manta Ray were created and now populate the Île de Nantes The Gallery showcases a fascinating collection of seemingly alive fantasy monsters and from here the Great Elephant will take you to the Caroussel where you are plunged into an imaginary maritime universe full of the most fantastic mechanical creatures.
140km (2 hrs) from Saint Chartres
GRAND PRIX HISTORIQUE DE BRESSUIRE
Each year on the last weekend of June, the town of Bressuire hosts the Grand Prix Historique, a small and completely free event to visit, The circuit is a short run around the main town square which nevertheless presents some challenges for the drivers to negotiate in their historic cars. A real mix of vehicles taking in both French and English cars and drivers. It is a lovely informal event with great atmosphere and easy access to all areas of the paddock and viewing areas. A great day out for classic car lovers!
40km (40 minutes) from Saint Chartres