You can stroll from park to park for almost a dozen kilometres in the heart of this town practically without seeing a car. That’s the advantage of having the countryside right in the city.
Daniel-Bernardet Park at Belle-Isle
Located in the heart of the city, Daniel-Bernardet Park at Belle-Isle offers 12 hectares of lush green space and an 8 hectare lake - the perfect place for outdoor activities. You can swim (with lifeguard surveillance during the summer) and practice water sports (canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, 2/4 seater pedalos, stand-up paddle boarding etc.). There is a fitness trail for joggers too; a playground for kids and an orientation course. « La Guinguette » restaurant is open all summer long to the delight of walkers, fishermen and swimmers. Every summer, the Metropolitan Area offers various activities under the motto "Bougez à Belle-Isle" (Get moving at Belle-Isle).
The public gardens - the jewel of the city’s parks – cover an area of 5 hectares and provide visitors with various landscaped areas with different atmospheric impact. Water is omnipresent, and flower beds, rock gardens and rolling lawns flow in quick succession as far as the eye can see. These gardens boast a collection of perennials and many remarkable trees. Since 2013 the town authorities have turned former allotments into themed gardens (along the path leading to the lake) including a Mediterranean Garden, Grass Garden, a Sensory Garden and a Bamboo Garden, to name but a few.
Situated at the end of the great lake at Belle-Isle in the municipality of Deols is an Ecopark – a 22 hectare wetland at the confluence of the Indre and the Ringoire. Rich in flora and specific fauna, this Ecopark combines a meadow area and marshland. Ponds and a spring increase the biodiversity of the park. The area has 4 kms of pathways. Part of the site is home to herbivores such as bovines (Highland cattle) and some thoroughbred horses from the Camargue. Bird spotters can see sixty different kinds of birds depending on the time of year and a botanical garden provides visitors with the chance to see wild medicinal herbs from the Berry region.
On the banks of the Indre River right in the heart of the town, Saint Gildas meadowland functions as the town’s other lung. This 25 hectare park is a wetland with particularly well established flora and fauna. This flood area is irrigated by numerous canals and secondary branches of the Indre River which facilitate water flow after flooding. Originally livestock was brought to the meadowland to graze from June until the first floods. Visitors can enjoy some beautiful walks along the paths here and discover the characteristics of a variety of wetland plants such as valerians, irises, lilies…The site is also a reserve for many bird species such as kestrels, herons and kingfishers... Spawning pike can also be seen and there are plenty of springs.
The 4.5 hectare Balsan Park is located at the heart of the Balsan site, the former textile factory of the same name and two castles (Tower and River) which have been converted into flats. With hundred-year-old trees and a playground for kids this green oasis is a bucolic setting for students at Balsan Ecocampus as well as Castelroussins. The park will benefit from new planting initiatives and developments at the beginning of 2015.
Garden of the Capucins
The Garden of the Capucins on General-Ruby Avenue at the back of the courthouse was given a face lift in 2001. Covering an area of 6,400 square meters, its architectural French-style layout provides walkers with straight, shaded pathways based on the alignment of ancient trees. Geometrically shaped flowerbeds highlight the main walkways and frame the central part of the garden which boasts a fountain.
Solange-Brisset Square and Saint-Germain fountain
On the left slopes of the Indre Valley flowing water is filtered through limestone and tends to reappear here and there, giving rise to springs. This is the origin of the Saint-Germain fountain, the earliest history of which is lost in the mists of time. It is named after the now derelict Saint-Germain Church in Deols. According to tradition, the statue of the saint was placed in a niche above the spring and the spring then seemed to have special powers that could treat diseases of the eye. In 1831 a report commissioned by the Municipality promoted the channelling of the spring and the construction of a reservoir with a windmill to power a lift pump. This project did not work out and in 1900 the area was turned into a wash house area. This continued for a good fifty years until its demolition in 1960. At the same time the Fountain’s flow was steadily declining and during the river’s high tide period found itself submerged. The site, which offers a beautiful view of the steeple of Deols Abbey, was redeveloped in 2012 and 2013 due to initiatives taken by the Town of Chateauroux and the General Council of the Eastern district.
State-run Chateauroux forest
South of Chateauroux is a 5,000 hectare forest of the same name bordering the municipalities of Poinconnet and Arthon. It is one of the largest oak forests in France. Numerous nature trails have been marked out along Richard-the-Lionheart alley and the Artois forest road. There is also a fitness trail. Oak trees produce high quality wood that is used for carpentry and cooperage as well as in other areas of endeavour. Some of the great Bordeaux wines age in oak barrels made from wood from Chateauroux forest. It is not uncommon to come across deer and foxes and hear male deer squalling for mates in September and October every year. Keep an ear open and you might also hear the call of rooks and black crows and the chattering of magpies...
Indre Valley at Saint-Maur
The green valley extends to Saint-Maur, where the Indre River snakes through the town fringed by lush meadowland and shaded pathways, giving visitors the opportunity to stroll along the water’s edge…