Saturday 7 June 2008

Stroll around Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Normandy

While Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei doesn't quite live up to its billing as one of the "most beautiful villages in France," it is blessed with a lovely setting on a bend in the river Sarthe. The main square is tarnished by the plastic tables of a couple of tourist-orientated cafes, but it is a short stroll down to a picturesque stone bridge overlooked by resident artists' workshops and studios. On the other side of the main square is another charming stretch of the river where you can watch dozens of dragonflies buzz in and out of the reeds, while admiring the towering old forest on the other side of the Sarthe. Follow the riverside path left for six hundred yards or so and you come to a small chapel marking the start of a path leading back up the hill past the village's weather-beaten eleventh century Romanesque church. 7/10