La Roche Posay




Although actually in the département of the Vienne this is a must for visitors to Southern Touraine. Its proximity just 10km from Barrou makes it easily accessible. This charming medieval town is on the left bank of the River Creuse, you have now crossed into part of a region that is well-deserving of a visit but probably not high on the list of most tourists -- not because it doesn't have a lot to offer but because it is rural, peaceful and not very well known (this area once featured in the 'Sunday Times' as 'undiscovered jewel' ). It has a charming main street, which you are led into through the town ‘gate’.



This elegant and historical town is bristling with restaurants and cafes catering for everything from a light lunch to splendid dinners - there is even a tearoom! ('salon de the'). The markets on Tuesday and Friday morning are worth a visit.



During the summer months the square also plays host to a number of fetes and festivals.



There are a few surprises you will find in this small town - a casino, a thermal spa, a racecourse and more!  The casino which also houses a night club, opened in the year 2000 and draws many visitors from the surrounding region.  Then there is the Hippodrome de La Gâtinière for those who enjoy horse racing.  Beginning at 2 PM, races are scheduled for certain days in June, July, August and early September.  Admission is EUR 6 for adults and is free for those under the age of 18.


There is an 18-hole golf course which is challenging in that you have a few tight fairways bordered by trees circling a 3 hectare pond but is also a relaxing 'walk' if played early on a summer's morning. Clubs can be hired from us depending on demand.





There are well marked out walking routes that take you along part of the river, up on to the old railway bridge giving some great views. There is a nearby riding school, fitness centre and the river with its man-made beach provides great place to cool off in the height of summer. Yes, this little town is full of surprises!   


Perhaps a more well-known offering of La Roche-Posay is its world-famous thermal spa and mineral waters which have been enjoyed for over five centuries. It is the source of a thermal spring that is very rich in selenium, a trace element with numerous therapeutic and dermatological benefits.

Legend has it that in the Middle Ages, the knight Bertrand Du Guesclin stopped near the spring to let his horse drink and to quench his own thirst. The horse, who suffered from eczema, plunged into the water and came out cured.

 At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon, upon his return from Egypt, had a thermal hospital built at La Roche-Posay to treat the skin diseases of his soldiers.


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Author: Jim Craig