November view of Sancerre © Drew Hetherington
© Drew Hetherington

The wine village of Sancerre(18 Cher, Centre-Val-de-Loire) is located on a hilltop overlooking the Loire River to the east and the vineyards of Sancerre to the West. This is the home of the Sauvignon Blanc grape which here produces distinctive dry white wines from the chalky soil of the surrounding hillsides. A small amount of red Pinot Noir is also grown to produce light red wines – local wineries also offer the chance to try their rosé and organic wines.

With small, tightly packed streets of the village and a belfry within this medieval walled village, there are some splendid vistas – uninterrupted panoramic views from the top of the Tour des Fiefs over the Loire Valley and its vineyards.

Sancerre has dozens of cafes, bistros and “caves” , where you can taste the local wines.

Taverne du Connetable
Taverne du Connetable

A great place for lunch in the town is the Taverne du Connétable in the Nouvelle Place in the centre of town. Busy with locals and full of atmosphere you can get a heart lunch and a glass or more of Sancerre – and leave knowing you’ve had a good lunch and not been ripped off.

The local wine centre La Maison des Sancerre is definitely worth a visit (open April-November). You should also try the local goats cheese (Crottin de Chavagnol) which goes so well with a chilled glass of dry white Sancerre.

Maison des Sancerre
Maison des Sancerres

At La Côte des Monts Damné the grandson of Chavignol’s most famous vigneron, Henri Bourgeois runs a gourmet hotel, said by the Guardian to be “the smartest place to stay in the Sancerrois”. In addition to the gourmet restaurant there is a less formal bistro! Rooms overlook steep vine-covered slopes. Visits to local wine cellars can be arranged.

Otherwise, although there are numerous hotels in and around the town, for the view from their dining room alone, try the Hotel Le Panoramic, on the Rempart Des Augustins.

Petites Cites de Caractere logoSancerre is classified as one of France’s small towns of Character (Petites Cités de Caractère) which are recognised for the heritage of the site.

  • In May/June there is the Sancerre Wine Fair

See the official website for the wines of the Centre-Loire.

Hotel du Rempart, Sancerre

Accommodation in Sancerre includes hotels, B&Bs and self-catering such as the central Hotel du Rempart