The historical city
The town began to be built at the same time as the priory was being built. Families settled at the foot of the monastery and commercial activity allowed the town to develop.
The stone bridge
The presence of a ford in the bed of the Loire was not unrelated to human settlement. But the growing influence of the monastery and the important trading centre led to the construction of a less precarious passage. In 1520, the prior Jean de la Magdeleine de Ragny, a great builder, had the present stone bridge built, which was reworked in the 18th century. Today, it is one of the oldest and most beautiful along the Loire.
A fortified town
The defence of the priory and the town, as in all towns in the Middle Ages, required the construction of a ring of ramparts. As early as 1081, a first wall was created, but it was too precarious to be fortified in 1164. These ramparts surrounded another belt, that of the monastery. In the 19th century, the development of the city gradually made the ramparts disappear, drowned in the urban fabric. Today, we can still see some beautiful remains, especially to the north of the priory. A path provides access from the lower part of the ramparts to the foot of the Perrinet Gressard and Cuffy towers, allowing you to enjoy a magnificent panorama of the medieval town and the Loire.
The typical streets and alleys
The old part of the town has kept most of its original structure, which gives it a special charm, full of mystery. The streets and alleys have kept their old names, which bear witness to professions and activities that have disappeared (Place des Pêcheurs, Rue des Chapelains, etc.), the name of a former owner (Rue du Champ Baratté) or the name of an event. The districts are steeped in history, the streets full of memories. They offer many surprises: the path of the 84 steps, traditional passage of the pilgrims of Saint-Jacques since the XIIth century, the street of the salt storehouse, the passage of the counter, the house of the dwarf... are as many typical or original places to discover.
One can easily imagine the bargemen and their families living in the alleys leading to the Loire or the winegrowers settling in the high district of the guétrôts with its typical houses. Visitors can also take advantage of the magnificent redeveloped and themed districts, such as the city of books, as well as the shops and services that are indispensable: bakery, butcher's, bank, etc.
The faubourg, an island in the middle of the Loire
A district of La Charité-sur-Loire has been created on an island in the Loire. In this area, the Loire has many islands and islets, often sandy, but the one used for the construction of this district had to offer a better foundation. This is how the suburb developed between two arms of the Loire. At the northern end of the island is the municipal campsite, and to the south, the submersible dyke of the chevrette, built to direct the current of the Loire towards the old port of the town.
In July and August, the tourist office and the Cité du Mot offer guided tours, including the priory every Friday at 4pm. All year round, for groups, guided tours of the town can be organised, on reservation, do not hesitate to contact us.
Caches for geocaching enthusiasts are also available.