Moret sur Loing, France.

The picturesque medieval town of Moret-sur-Loing is a former bastion lying at the edge of Fontainebleau forest and on the quiet water of the river Loing. It inspired many Impressionist painters, in particular Alfred Sisley who spent the last 20 years of his life there. The most beautiful view is from the old bridge or the right bank of the Loing river.

The streets of the historic centre are a great place for a promenade and you will discover such gems as the Maison de François I with a Renaissance gallery, the town hall, Notre-Dame church, fortified gateways, a keep and old half-timbered houses, one of which is home to the “Musée du Sucre d’Orge” des Religieuses de Moret, a barley sugar making museum.

It is easy to get your bearings in Moret-sur-Loing: the town centre is quite small and centred around the church, and along the Rue Grande that is between the two principal towers in the town, to the west of the old bridge across the river.

On the eastern side of the Place Samois is the Porte de Samois, one of the imposing medieval towers that once defended the old town, you have to pass through the arch to enter Grande Rue. Walking along the Grande Rue and in some of the side streets you will notice several half-timbered houses, and you can also see the intricate stonework in the courtyard of the town hall, dating from the renaissance period.  Do not miss this, it is a very impressive work of architecture, dating from 1527 and called the Gallery of Francois 1st. The Maison Recollet, a medieval house with a balcony in the Place de l’Hotel de Ville, is another pretty medieval home.

At the far end of the Grande Rue you pass under the Porte de Bourgogne, the other grand stone tower and slightly less ornate than the first, and there you reach the bridge crossing the Loing river. Walk out across the bridge for a nice view of the town and riverbanks, and along the river itself. There is also a footpath along the riverbank that you can follow.

It is these two towers that dominate the centre of Moret-sur-Loing, try to imagine the town as it was a few hundred years ago when it had 20 towers and more than a kilometre of fortified walls! Small parts of these can still be seen in the town.

Continue your visit at the Church of Notre-Dame. The most important historic monument in Moret-sur-Loing, the church was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The gothic style facade of the church is one of the best in the region, and includes a great deal of intricate stonework around the doorway. Close to here you can also see the donjon, all that remains of the medieval castle around which the town originally developed, and built in the 12th century. There are also some interesting medieval houses to be seen in the square around the church, around the end of Rue de Grez, and elsewhere in the streets around the town centre.

Among the other attractions in the town is a small museum, the Museum of Barley Sugar Sweets “Musée du Sucre d’orge” commemorating the sweets that have been made in the town to a secret recipe for hundreds of years. Louis XIVth favorites candies. This museum is in the attractive house in the river next to the bridge, and claims to have the oldest sweet in France in its collection.

If you are visiting Moret-sur-Loing during the summer I suggest you try and visit on a Saturday evening, when you will be treated to the popular ‘Sound and Light’ festival, during which the music and lighting provide the perfect mood to remind the history of the town.

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