Les Grandes-Fontaines

Now enjoy the quietness of this park of dry lawns. Part of the park runs along, to the west, a shady stream that will take you to the south entrance to the park where the panel describing this stage ㉔ is placed on the side of the road.
End of the tourist route
The members of the “Assembly of Elders” who designed this discovery tour of the heritage of Bléré hope that you enjoyed the visit.
Now, from the Grandes-Fontaines, let’s go back to downtown Bléré:


→ To return to Bléré
– on foot, in the park, return to the northeast entrance and take the road on your left. At 500 m, you will find the bridge spanning the diversion. To return to the city center, count now 1.8 km: you continue straight (rue des Canaux, then rue du 18 juin 1940).
– by bike or by car, leave the park to find your bike or your car. You can turn around (the shortest way): you come back to the Haut-Village and, in front of the Petit Moulin, instead of turning left into the Fontenay valley, continue straight ahead. You can also, from the stage ㉔ panel, continue the road towards the East, turning twice to the left to return to Bléré. In both cases, you cross the bridge spanning the detour and continue straight to the city center (rue des Canaux, then rue du 18 juin 1940). By bike or car, retracing your steps from the stage ㉔ sign to the city center, you have traveled 3.7 km; continuing to the east, it’s 4.2 km).

The site of the Grandes-Fontaines is now classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty because of its wide diversity of insects and flowers. It was deemed to be poor soil and it was
used as a stone quarry. Throughout the 19th century, it was used for extracting limestone to feed the lime kilns of the commune ; one was installed on this site and it was still visible up to 1960.

The wetland along the stream has been called the Herpenty since ancient times and its source tapped over time.

© Photo : Régine Malveau

Earlier modifications have been discovered near the source, which was used in Gallo-Roman times to feed the 25 km long aqueduct bringing water to Tours.
The heavy flow of the source is linked to its position at the edge of a low lying trough, this gap allowing drainage of a large amount of water from a reservoir covering 14 km². To this geological feature were added underground draining galleries dug out under the plateau containing built structures and reservoirs within their vast hydraulic system. The water was then collected at the source of the Herpenty in a brick reservoir from where it was carried to the aqueduct.
There is no trace of this system which was destroyed in order to build Bléré’s current water distribution system, set up in 1963 and still active today.

© Michel Maurice (1948)

What was the aqueduct used for ?
1Charles Bidault square and the church of St Christophe 13The Aigremonts mill
2Le Belvedere 14La Coursicauderie
3The Foundry 15A vine lodge
4The Bellevue bank and the bridge over the Cher 16Le Grand-Logis
5Les Crespières 17Bois-Ramé
6The Cher and its needle dams 18The Monks’ house
7Chapel de Seigne 19Paul Racault space
8The cooperative and the demarcation line 20Trade and Cooperative Diary Industry
9The cemetery and its noteworthy tombs 21The lime kilns
10Bois-Pataud 22La Grisolette
11Fief Gentil and the Culoison mill 23The Chateau of Fontenay and the house called ‘du passeur’
12La Courtille wash house 24Les Grandes-Fontaines