Meung-Sur-Loire is located on major routes of communication. The A10 Autoroute from Paris to Bordeaux and Acquitaine skirts the town. Route Nationale N152 runs through the centre and the T.G.V. rail link from Paris to the south west runs alongside the A10, providing also local rail links with Orléans and Paris to the east and north, or with the lower Loire towns of Tours and Nantes to the south and west.
Originally settled in Bronze Age times, the town has grown significantly in recent years. Its château has associations with the Bishops of Orléans and also with Jeanne d'Arc, whose martyrdom is recalled each May in Orléans. Meung also boasts an 11th Century Norman church dedicated to Saint Liphard.
Its picturesque small streets and squares are criss-crossed by branches of the river Mauve filtering their way down to the Loire, a legacy from the marshy land that originally lay here. As a consequence of its many streams and its proximity to the fertile Beauce plain to the north, the "bread-basket of France", Meung had a large number of water-powered flour mills until the late twentieth century, a few of which survive and operate.
Since the Loire was navigable until recent times, Meung enjoyed prosperity as a market centre owing to its excellent road and river communications, whilst retaining its essentially tranquil character, making the town an increasingly attractive weekend retreat for Parisians. The detective novelist Georges Simenon has his main character Inspector Maigret going down to Meung on more than one occasion to get away from it all.
The area remains a major centre of fruit and vegetable growing. The sandy Loire valley soils produce bounteous crops of fruit of all kinds, as well as superb asparagus. A visit to the old market-place, especially on Sunday mornings, is a delight to the eye and a promise to the palate. Thursday too is market day, and on both occasions travelling stall-holders bring a selection of everything from clothes to the finest charcuterie. To sit in the shadow of the church, à la terrasse of the Café de Commerce, watching the world go by the market stalls is to be taken back in time to a calmer, more colourful age.
Meung's Mayor, elected for a seven-year term, and Town Council are able to plan and run their town with a great deal of autonomy. The town runs its own services, including public hygiene, parks and sports facilities, emergency services and, to a large extent, schools. There is a municipal camp-site on the banks of the Loire, with facilities for tennis, football and other sports nearby, as well as an outdoor swimming pool with separate areas for learners and for toddlers. Being some 500 miles to the south of us, Meung's residents and visitors can take full advantage of their outdoor pool.
The Savior of Orleans (outside Meung library)
Meung market place