Noyant-Villages is a town of Maine-et-Loire, Pays-de-la-Loire region, on the borders of the Indre-et-Loire, about fifty kilometers east of Angers.
It is a town created in December 2016 following the merger of 14 localities, the largest, Noyant, had 1830 inhabitants. The second most populated village was Parcay-les-Pins with nearly 900 inhabitants. The new municipality now counts nearly 6000 inhabitants.
The vast territory of the new entity has an area of nearly 300 km², which makes it now one of the largest municipalities in metropolitan France.
Noyant-Villages bordered to the south by the Loire Valley belongs to the natural and historical region of the Pays Beaugeois, on a low forest plateau but including wetlands and forest classified and protected for their ecological interest.
The activity has always been essentially agricultural, except in the 19th century, where sandstone quarries were exploited. Livestock and especially poultry production remain the basis of the local economy, and several PGIs (protected geographical indications) distinguish local products (cider, Maine beef, pork, poultry and eggs from Maine and Loué).
Inheritance of prosperous seigniories and then settlements of castles with more residential vocation, many heritage sites mark out the new commune, which also counts leisure facilities and a rich natural environment: so many reasons which justify a stage during a stay In the region.
It is obviously impossible to mention all the castles, manor houses, mills or churches that can be included in a walk in the form of discovery of the built and historical heritage of Noyant and 13 other villages, mostly surrounded by hamlets, which make up the new municipality.
However, a step in Noyant-Villages must include some essential.
This is the case of the castle of Bouchet, Lasse, built in the sixteenth century and converted into a mansion in the eighteenth. New works took place in the nineteenth century: a wing now demolished was then added and above all, a landscaped park with a romantic aspect of 30 ha was laid out, delimited by a belt of trees pierced with perspectives converging towards the castle. Part of the latter is now rented as a gite and if the building whose facades, roofs, chapel, lounges and common are classified does not visit, the park on the other hand is open to the public. Restored with renewed essences but in the respect of the plans of origins, it is a jewel! Open the afternoon of July 1st to August 15th. Price: 3 euros. Information on +33 2 41 89 03 20.
We can continue with the castle of Lathan, in Breil, the singular history. The current building dates from the 1860s, built in a classical style. On the other hand, the park was designed in 1773 by a Bordeaux architect for the Pays de Lathan family, who did not implement the construction of the house which was then to be erected in the center. The 56-hectare park has been classified as a Historic Monument and consists of two parts. One is inspired by the style of Le Nôtre (Versailles), the other is romantic in style, around the artificial 110 m underground which represents "the map of tender". A 500 m canal fed by the Lathan course crosses the whole. A labyrinth was created for the children. Open from April to November. Rates: 1 to 3 euros. Information on +33 2 41 82 64 98.
On Breil always, the church Notre-Dame is worth a look: its bases date from the twelfth century, and it was remodeled in the thirteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The architectural details (sculptures), the inner chapels and the nobility of the materials are remarkable. Information on +33 2 41 82 35 20.
We will continue to Genneteil by visiting the castle of Breil de Hay. Acquired by the family of the Lady of Montsoreau in 1730, its oldest elements date from the fifteenth century when it was then a great tithe (where the tax was levied). Remodeled in the castle in the seventeenth, it retains a keep in Romanesque style. The complex has a 10-hectare botanical garden where 60 rare species of exotic trees are kept. The tour includes some of the interiors (reception rooms, archaeological and geological collections, art history) and gardens. Open from July 14 to August 31 and all year round for groups by appointment. Price: 5 to 10 euros. Information on +33 2 41 82 25 13.
Between heritage and art history, visit the village of Parcay-les-Pins, the museum dedicated to Jules Desbois, sculptor of the late nineteenth century, friend and collaborator Rodin. In his native village, the establishment presents in seven rooms a hundred of his works (mainly sculptures) representing the human body with realism and sensuality. Open from April to November. Entry: 3 euros. Information on +33 2 41 82 28 80.
Finally, in a clearly different register, the visit of the very modern Salamandre Energy Recovery Unit, in Noyant, which includes films, panels and interactive games, allows adults and children to understand the issues of ecology on a daily basis, recycling and energy management. Each year, the Unit processes 100,000 tons of waste and produces 60,000 MWh of electricity. Open all year by reservation at +33 2 41 82 58 24.
This justifies continuing with the discovery of the environmental heritage of the vast new municipality.
To the south, the forest and Lake Rillé are classified Natura 2000 on the former territories of Breil, Linières-Bouton, Méon, Noyant and Parçay-les-Pins. Among protected species, black storks during the breeding season. In addition to groves and cultivated land, we will also appreciate the Saint-Jean de Dénezé-sous-le-Lude lake and its playgrounds, the Chigné and Lasse ponds. We can fish there. Information on the developed sites and the regulations on +33 2 47 05 33 77.
In addition, numerous hiking and mountain bike trails have been designed for all Noyant-Villages entities. Documentation and information on +33 2 41 89 18 07.
For those who prefer a horse ride, contact the equestrian farm of La Chicaudière at +33 2 41 82 15 69.
Finally, to combine sport and idleness, go to the outdoor swimming pool of Noyant, open from June to September except Monday. It has swimming pools and recreational equipment, and outdoor areas, a beach volleyball court and 3000 m² of lawn. Entry: 1.50 and 2.50 euros. Information on +33 2 41 89 70 08.