Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bonneval, the "Little Venice of the Beauce": Weekend Getaways from Paris

Bonneval is known as the "Little Venice of the Beauce" for its charming waterways.

Can you believe that it's Thursday? With the Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) on Monday, this week has gone by much more quickly than normal. It's already time to start making plans for the weekend!

If a relaxing afternoon boating on the waterways of a charming medieval village sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend making the short trip to Bonneval. Nicknamed the "Little Venice of the Beauce", this town located a mere 75 minutes by train from Paris is a surprising gem of a destination.

A washerwoman figurine in Bonneval

A stronghold since the Middle Ages, Bonneval is completely encircled by water from the Loir River (not to be confused with the Loire River). More than 100 outdoor washrooms, many of them part of the town's outdoor museum, line the banks. As we navigated past a mother duck proudly leading a long line of baby ducklings, the sight of washerwomen pounding clothes in metal basins and a 1905 hand-crank washing machine made me thankful for my modern-day appliances. Without them, I wouldn't have the freedom to discover some of the lesser-known attractions of the Loire Valley.

Heads down! Passing under one of the many stone bridges in Bonneval.

As we crouched low in the boat while passing under one of the many arched stone bridges, we marveled at the perfect reflection cast upon the water by the King's Tower. Used as a dungeon in the 13th century, it's a reminder of Bonneval's long history dating back to 857 when the town was founded under the auspices of Charles, King of Provence.

Leaving the medieval village behind, we were greeted by fishermen and couples picnicking next to the river. The pastoral scenes and lily pads floating on the surface of the river made me feel as if I had somehow fallen into one of Monet's paintings.

I can't wait to make a return trip with Stéphane. Bonneval is the kind of place that you want to share with someone special.


Practical information: It is not required to have a boat license to rent the 4-5 passenger self-drive electric boats. Boat rental for the 30 minute tour of "Little Venice of the Beauce" is 15 euros. The 60 minute tour is 25 euros. Kayaks are also available for rent.

June, July and August: Weekdays from 2:00 pm, weekends and holidays from 10:00 am. The last departure is 6:00 pm.

April, May and September: Weekends and holidays from 2:00 pm. The last departure is 6:00 pm.

As the electric boats are in high demand during the weekend, it's recommended that you call in advance to reserve one.

Electric Boats at the Capitainerie 
During the weekend, it's recommended that you call in advance to reserve a boat)
Direction rue d'Orléans
28800 Bonneval
Telephone: 33 (0)6 22 91 63 82 or 33 (0)2 37 47 29 94

For a special weekend getaway, combine your trip to Bonneval with the spectacular Lights of Chartres on Saturday night and a visit to the "Big Windmill" of Ouarville on Sunday.

Please click here to see more photos of Bonneval, the "Little Venice of the Beauce", on Facebook.

Bonneval's electric boats, environmentally-aware tourism since 1996

3 comments:

  1. Looks lovely. I might consider this as a day trip in Sept

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    Replies
    1. Bonneval's a very good option for a day trip -- but I think you're going to have to stay in France for at least a month. You've got a lot of things to do!

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  2. i like a background nice to visit and great walk :)

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