La Gabelle is situated in the heart of he Loire Valley. We are only three miles, or five minutes drive from the medieval town of Chinon.
This chateau is a massive fortress overlooking the Vienne. This famous castle dates from the reign of Henry II, father of Richard the Lionheart and King John. Chinon is also famous for the visits by Joan of Arc. It was in the
castle that she identified the Dauphin and was thus recognised as having divine powers! Chinon is also the birthplace and home of the 16th century satirist Francois Rabelais.
For many centuries Chinon was the home of the kings and queens of France. It was also, albeit briefly, the home of the English Monarch.
The chateau stands dramatically above the town, and is floodlit in the evening, providing an entirely appropriate setting for an wander around, a drink in an open air cafe, and possibly a meal in one of the dozens of restaurants and cafe’s.
La Gabelle was originally a Roman camp site. It was subsequently built as a soldier’s look out tower and residence to guard the river from smugglers. During the thirteenth century smuggling of salt was widespread. The reason
being that there was an infamous tax, called La Gabelle !
The tax was originally introduced in the year 1286 and was not finally abolished permanently until 1945 ! ( Well that’s according to Wikipedia !
So there is a lot of history, and local stores, right up to the last world war, when the area was occupied by the Germans. The river Vienne joins the river Loire about ten miles downstream at the small town of Cande St. Martin.
You can take boat trips from there up to Chinon and from there up to La Gabelle.
Fishing on the banks of the Vienne.
The region is also famous for the excellent wines produced. The vineyards at Borgueil, Saumur, Vouvray and, of course, Chinon are well worth a visit. In fact, the red wine from the vineyard next door to La Gabelle is highly
Chinon, which has a population of approximately 10,000, is small enough to cover on foot, but large enough to have all necessary amenities There are several supermarkets and shops, an abundance of restaurants serving excellent
food, bars, pavement cafes, markets. Banks if you need them and for the energetic there are excellent swimming-pools, horse-riding, golf and much more to see and do. There are many Boule pitches in Chinon, but then we have our own
two pitches right by our house.
Our pitches are ideal for an evening game. You can see the sun setting across the fields. On the edge of the pitches, in the shade of a tree, there is a small table entirely suitable for a bottle or two.