NEVERS – GROSSOUVRE
After crossing the Ponte de Loire in Nevers, I did not follow the traditional route but took the route a pilgrim suggested in Le Chemin. By doing that, I had no book to rely on and no map to verify the way. However, most of the time it was an easy path – I just followed the Loire downstream, which connected to a canal and the canal connected with the river l’Allier.
In the afternoon, I arrived at the picturesque medieval village Apremont-sur-Allier. In this village, nature and architecture were combined into pure beauty. Precisely cut shrubs and trees became architecture in itself. An abundance of roses in all colors, hydrangeas, lilies and other flowers were growing along the stone houses and in the gardens. The village was not always like that. After the First World War, a blacksmith started the renovation of one of the houses and had the vision of saving the village from destruction. Now, Apremont-sur-Allier is a jewel of a village.
After leaving the medieval village, I hiked for two hours through the forest of Apremont to Chateau Grossouvre, a castle from the 12th century. It was once an important castle used by king Henry IX, Napoleon III and Catharina de Medici. Now, the castle is closed, the interior totally run down and just the outside partially renovated. The owners live in a simple flat roofed house nearby. I stayed in a similar one.