Many local castles to visit

Theme park

The area and things to do

History In 52 BC, the inhabitants of Gilly and Diou drove Caesar back, preventing him from crossing the Loire. 62 years later, the Romans built a crossing of the Loire between Diou on the South and Gilly on the North. Near Gilly, the Romans found a wealth of natural springs. The village probably derives its name from the Gaulois word Gul, meaning a spring, which gave the modern word Gully. Over the years, the village changed its name to Gilly. From that time on, the 4,000 acres that make up the parish remained untouched by wars or by outside influence. At a time when the Loire was a major road, the village saw the barges of kings, their mistresses, merchants, cardinals, nobles and slaves, pass along the river. The village was simply a stop-over for travellers. Even diring the revolution, the inhabitants protected Margarite de Fontette, the Lady of the manor, who had always shown consideration for the farmers and peasants. The faithful continued to attend mass despite the repression of the clergy. During the industrial revolution, the village made full use of its resources: water, marble and minerals. Instead of river boats passing through, there were steam locomotives that stopped in the village to take on water. Today, as always, there is a landscape, a village and a castle. For more information, consult the book, Gilly sur Loire and Sommery, published by CEEL. Telephone 03 85 53 90 31.

Today The west of the Burgundy area is given to raising the white Charollais cattle that have become famous the world over. The area is quiet. There is nothing to break the rolling fields and forests that run down to the Loire. A little local railway carries a two-carriage train painted yellow that takes the local children to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon. The local baker, Monsieur Berger will keep your croissants for you each morning. The fishmonger's products are so fresh they simply don't smell of fish. You can't get fish on Mondays, though, as the fishermen don't go out on Sunday night. Vegetables come in daily from the local market and the butcher will make you the cuts you want as you wait. The area is ideal for families with children who are looking for peace and quiet. The area was once covered by oak forests. Today the countryside is divided about 70% by grazing for white Charollais cattle and the remainder by forests.

Sommery Castle, Gilly-sur-Loire, Rental homes in West Burgundy

Chateau de Sommery © 2013 All Rights Reserved

Things To do

Swimming pool A private pool on the spot.

Zoo 15 minutes away the zoo has animals in semi liberty.

Theme park Just next to the zoo is a theme park that will enchant children of all ages.

Markets Every day there is a market somewhere nearby. Clothes, clogs, food, cattle, ceramics, local produce...

Shopping Moulins, 40 minutes away ; Paray-le-Monial, 30 minutes ; Vichy, 1 hour... all have shops to suit all tastes.

Wine The Mâconnais to the East is one of the main wine growing areas of Burgundy.

Saint Pourçain, to the west, has fine white wine.

Restaurants Some fine examples of French cuisine.

Canoeing You can rent canoes in Digoin, 16 kms away.

You will be taken up the river by car and you can canoe down to Digoin again. Choose the distance you want to paddle and the time you want to take.

Para gliding Glide off the top of the volcano, the Puy de Dôme with a monitor. No previous experience is needed. You will circle the valley at 4,000 feet.

Biking You just get on and go. The country roads are quiet and there are some wonderful circuits through the forests.

Antiques 7 or 8 shops within a few miles.

History The area is riddled with churches and monasteries dating from the middle ages.

Tennis 10 minutes.

Golf 10 minutes.

Fishing The Loire is 5 minutes away.

The Canal du Centre 5 minutes away. Canal boats can be rented for a day in Digoin, 15 minutes away.

And if you just want to do nothing, you can relax by the pool with a book or barbecue the local Charollais beef . If you're patient, the peacocks will come and eat out of your hand.