Travel Guide Europe France Vatan



Vatan is a municipality in the French department of Indre and is part of the arrondissement Issoudun, just north of the centre of France, roughly between Paris and Limoges, in the Loire Valley. It has approximately 2,000 inhabitants and hence is quite a small city.

An impressive array of buildings traces the history of this small town, but they merge so well with the modern landscape, that if you don't know about them, you'll probably overlook their historical significance. First, notice the halle au ble (wheat warehouse), built over the course of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance on the place de la Republique. Today, it's also the place where the Tourism office is located and is a great place to start the discovery of Vatan.

Humor is a key trait for people living in a town whose name means ‘go away’. The local inhabitants have embraced their town's peculiar and strange name, using it in their slogan "Vatan, tu reviendras" (Vatan/Go away, you'll come back). They have also joined forces with other funnily pronounced French towns like Bouzille (Broken), Corps Nuds (Naked Bodies), and Monteton (My Nipple). This group of 35 strangely named towns makes up the Association Des communes de France aux noms burlesques et chantants and every year they gather to celebrate their comic names and also their local culinary specialties, history, and artisan heritage.

For more information about Vatan and its surroudings, check the official Vatan-en-Berry website, which has details about what to do and see.



Sights and Activities

The imposing Grange aux Dimes (tithing barn), one of the rare such constructions to have been preserved is a strong reminder of France's strong religious history. The clergy members used to store in this building the farm produce and wine given to them—one tenth of each farmer's production!

There is also a Circus Museum housed in a building used formerly as a school. Through a great collection of posters, costumes and models, the museum traces the history of the grandest names in French circus—the Zavatas, the Pinders, and the Rech-Bougliones—many of whom still tour the country today, bringing it to France's great cities and offbeat villages.



Events and Festivals

The first half of July, the town hosts an exhibition for the region’s amateur painters.
There is a market every Wednesday morning, which is a good place to sample some of Berry’s (Berry is the region Vatan is located) culinary delights: pies, potatoes, goat’s cheese, honey and foie gras are certainly some of the highlights.




Vatan and its surroudings have a temperate climate with generally warm summers and still mild winters, but not as mild compared to the southern parts of France. Summers last from June to September when average temperatures are around 25 degrees during the day and nights are usually between 10 and 25 degrees. Temperatures can be substantially higher though during hotter summers. Winters are mild with generally 6 to 10 degrees during the day, though nights in December and January average around zero, so frost and snow are a real possibility when more severe winters strike. Precipitation is fairly even distributed throughout the year, with 50-60 mm a month. Spring and summer are slightly drier compared to the wintermonths from November to February.



Getting There

By Plane

Vatan doesn't have an airport but Tours Loire Valley Airport is a good alternative. It has flights with Ryanair to and from Dublin, London-Stansted, Porto and Marseille.

By Car

Vatan is located just west of the main highway A20, which runs almost north-south between the bigger cities of Vierzon (northeast of Vatan) and Chateauroux, south of Vatan. Numerous smaller roads (routes nationales and provinciales) connect Varan with surrounding settlements, including Issoudun just southeast of Vatan.
The A20 eventually connects with the A71 towards Orleans and the A85 towards Tours.
Paris is just a few hours away in northern direction.



Keep Connected


France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.


See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.


La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 7:58 on Sep 20, 13 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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