Loiret, Centre-Val de Loire
Every other year, Montargis’ Venetian festival brings the town to life, offering many surprises. With its 131 bridges and walkways, its canals and streets on the water, the town turns into a commedia dell’arte filled with extravagantly costumed characters, creating a magical, timeless imaginative world.
© Georges et Hugot
Only an hour from Orléans and Paris, Montargis is a peaceful, charming small town in the Loing Valley, in the heart of the Loire region. It is home to a remarkable architectural and landscape heritage that encompasses streets overlooking the water, parks, and gardens, as well as its church and royal castle, which watch over its dwellers from the hill. Called the “Little Venice of the Gâtinais” for its 131 bridges and pathways, it welcomes an annual Venetian carnival organised by the “Venetians of Montargis” association. A treat as famous and old as the Venice festival can be enjoyed inside one of the town’s most handsome homes, “Mazet Praslines,” crunchy, irregular pralines. The story is told that this sweet was created by Count Plessis-Praslin. Inspired by a kitchen help and longing for a new taste, he ordered almonds to be roasted in melted sugar. In 1903, confectioner Léon Mazet bought the original recipe for praline from the “Au Duc de Praslin” shop. For over a century, Maison Mazet has been passing on this unique art and culinary heritage.