Our town



The mention of Bréhémont at the eleventh century, in the form of Brullium Aimonis (Turpenay convention) as etymology suggests Brogilo-Aimonis : le Breuil (hunt reserve) of Lord Aymon. But the forms Bruhennum,two centuries earlier, show that Aimonis is a scholar revamping of a scribe. Henno Henno is closer to the Breton 'enez' : "island". It probably translate Brogilo-Heino by Hunting Island Reserve*.


Water, still very present in Bréhémont, has been there from the very beginning of the town. Bréhémont is still covered by rivers, ditches and lannes (large collection ditches). This gives it a peculiar topography, oriented in the direction of the river. A long road goes parallel to the Loire along the entire length of the town. It comes from La Chapelle aux Naux, through Les Chaintres, La Chapelle Taboureau, rue de la Caille, la Bille Perdue, la rue Moreau, Milly, and through Rupuanne before arriving at the nearby town of Rigny Ussé. This road is a few bends, detours around a cultivated land or grassland, sometimes it splits into two branches to better serve the densest hamlets of the village center, or some wider territory between the Loire and the Indre. It is, of course, cut by paths between north and south, between the Loire and the Indre. These roads that run east to west along the river are also accompanied by dikes that allow water control during flooding.

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The raising of the Loire have been built over centuries to protect against flooding. Cher levees were designed to give people time to flee to the hills of Lignières and Rivarennes when the Loire and the Indre were flooded at the same time. To shelter flood the fertile valley land, raising levees is undertaken in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. From the nineteenth, century flood management changes and is associated with raising system overflows. The people of Bréhémont use these principles capacity of rivers and ponds expansion to manage their water resources.

Hemp and Skippers

The people use the rivers beds as "routoirs" (basins for hemp retting). In fact, since the Middle Ages, hemp is grown at Bréhémont. Economic and social life of the town, geography and heritage have been particularly associated with probably from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Skippers docked at the port for charging balls with hemp and hemp loose hay, wood from the forest of Chinon, but also to unload construction materials: tufa stone, slate tiles. The activity on the Loire was important in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries between 1722 and 1852, at least 12 boats were sunk between the village and Rupuanne. From 1670 to the early nineteenth century, there were about 70 sailors identified in Bréhémont. ** There were also carpenters in boats.
Commune was then one of the most prosperous department and hemp so famous that its origin was sometimes misused.

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Fishing was another important activity. It supports many families in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the nineteenth century, 30 families live from fishing between La Chapelle aux Naux and Rigny Ussé. Two forms of fishing practiced: great fishing using boats cabin equipped with a lift and nets that block part of the Loire to catch migratory fish, salmon and shad, the little fishing gear used traps and foudrets she practice outside periods of great fishing. Fishermen's wives would then sell the fish in the "écarts" (distant places of the town). Each woman had her sector and went there on foot, and later by bike or car. The fish was sold in private and in restaurants. Salmon and shad were shipped to restaurants by train from the station of Langeais to Tours or Paris. Before the war, when there were important fisheries, fishermen went to Bréhémont at night and went back to sailing to the Halles de Tours.

(*) : Dictionnaire des communes de Touraine. Editions C.L.D. 1987.

(**) : Source Serge Brosseau

A must-read

  • Dictionnaire des communes de Touraine. Editions C.L.D. 1987.
  • Le patrimoine des communes de Touraine. Flohic éditions 2001.
  • Histoire des levées de la Loire, Roger Dion, 1961.
  • Le Val de loire. Etude de géographie régionale, Roger Dion, 1934.
  • Bateliers sur la Loire, Françoise de Person, Editions C.L.D. 1995.
  • Les mariniers de la Vienne et de la Loire au XVIIIe et XIXe siècles et Châtellerault Port d’attache, Geneviève Cerisier-Millet, Geste Editions, 2010.
  • Les travailleurs de la Loire au XIXe siècle, Le fleuve et ses riverains, de Saumur à Bouchemaine, Amélie Dubois-Richir, Editions Le Petit Pavé, 2006.


Lat. : 47° 17′ 45″ Nord
Long. : 0° 21′ 23″ Est
Google Map
Elevation 32 to 40 m
Area: 12.71 km2
Population : 808 hab. (INSEE 2007)
Density: 64 hab./km2

During your walks about the town, you will meet:

  • A fortified farm,
  • The « Milly» farm,
  • dovecotes,
  • le Manoir de Bray,
  • varenniers house,
  • residences of merchants and notables, ornate, decorated with many symbols,
  • central columns urinal, also known as "vespasiennes", and transformed to a time in Morris columns,
  • L’Auberge à l’écu, whose first traces back to 1581,
  • the large port town,
  • the "perrées",
  • levees of Vieux-Cher,
  • floods sign and scales,
  • valves,
  • shingles of the Indre,
  • Sainte Marie-Madeleine Church,
  • Firefighter house and safety chamber,
  • kilns hemp,
  • Loire boats,
  • "Boule de fort" ground,
  • a public weighbridge,
  • weathercock.

Association Patrimoine et Traditions en Ridellois (PETRI)


Sights to see

It is a major port in Bréhémont, surprising for a small town, but illustrates an important trade hemp retting several areas on the Indre, many ovens hemp, fishing boats, the "toues cabanées" or not, a barge moored near the harbor all, and even the remains of urinals for sailors. The town has a well-preserved architectural and diverse ethnographic heritage.


Thanks to Serge Brosseau for its accurate and documented informations.