Tales in the Loire Valley

Once upon a time, the Loire....

The Loire storytellers ensure the transmission of the traditions of Loire tales and legends

The Loire Valley region has always been rich in tales, fables and legends. "The tradition continues," says Nathalie Kiniecick, actress and scriptwriter with the groupe L'Intruse. "Carried by the Loire, a natural element that surpasses us, indomitable, the fantastic inspiration allows us to create stories even today, with new facets."

"The Loire has always been like a train, adds Nicole Bockem. In the past, it was circulated on both sides, going up or down. It was difficult to cross it. We feared its floods: it is normal that many tales and legends are associated with the river."

Night tales, Loire tales or Blois Chuchote, let yourself be rocked by these extraordinary stories...

The storytellers 

Storyteller of the Loire, Nicole Bockem has always lived near the Royal River, which rises in the mountains, flows nonchalantly and then gives itself to the ocean. This smuggler's granddaughter was seen as a UFO when she started telling stories. "Do you tell stories of the Loire? "she was then asked with a touch of condescending curiosity. Since then, the Loire's classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 has given the tales and legends of the Loire their rightful place.

Nicole Bockem had to search the archives to find the traces of neglected storytellers such as Jean-Marie Rougé (died in 1956), the Nivernais Raoul Toscan (1884-1946), the Solognot Hubert Fillay and Clément Borgal (born in 1926), a true storyteller from the Loire region.

Tales, a universal and timeless principle, and legends, built from a real character or an existing place, invite the devil and those who master the elements: millers for the wind, blacksmiths for the fire, mariners for the water and the currents.

It is on the Beaugency bridge, for example, that the well-known story takes place. The one of the devil who "authorizes" its construction in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross it. A trick will roll him in flour since the first one to cross will be... a cat!

The Loire in Saint Dyé, ideal for all kinds of stories...  © OTBC

Floods and tales

"There are also many legends around the figures of saints, including, here, Saint Martin. When his remains were brought up on the Loire, from Candes to Tours, the branches bloomed again in his path: it became the summer of Saint-Martin," explains Nicole Bockem.

The same is true for Saint Mesmin "who struck down a dragon, symbol of paganism".

The stories of bargemen - rarer because they often have an oral tradition - evoke women, wine and shipwrecks. "Too greedy smugglers are often conned by the devil. »

Floods - such as the terrible flood of 1866 - also inspire tales and legends, such as Paul Barbier's Les Contes de Bellebat.

Night Tales

"The river gives direction, and always surprises us, as the tales surprise us.", adds Nathalie Kiniecick, a young actress and scriptwriter with the L'Intruse company and resident of Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire. With Jean-Claude Botton, from the company La Petite rue des contes, she created a plot "inspired by older stories compiled into one," she explains.

Night stories (with the association of walkers Tour et détours) are also performed in Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire. « Saint Dyé comes from Saint Deodat, who also struck down a dragon. This episode gave rise to a legend told by Pierre Gripari in La Sorcière de la rue Mouffetard and other tales from rue Broca. »

Sound showers to listen to beautiful stories... © OTB

Blois chuchote (Blois whispers)

Tales to listen to in the streets of the royal city of Blois, whispered tales, "whispered" at nightfall under the "lamp posts". Is this a dream? No, it is an original animation proposed by the Blois-Chambord Tourist Office since 2016 in the streets of Blois.

Materialized on the ground by circles, the storytelling spaces are illuminated as walkers pass by, who find themselves enveloped in a luminous halo during the storytelling period..

Imagined by local professional storytellers, the tales of "Blois chuchote" tell magical, funny or mysterious stories, based on local legends and the names of the streets where the whisperings take place.

It is about the ghosts of the Guise family, a magic stone, a Carambar princess, a competition between a king and a nightingale, a wonderful orange or a spirit of the Loire