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You are here > Discover our land > Discover the Nohain valley > The Nohain and its mills

The Nohain and its mills

Why we love the Nohain :
- In Donzy : to be able to talk to the millers of today (like at the Moulin de l'Île). To stroll along the Chemin du Commandeur and enjoy a quiet while imagining the former bustle of the millers.
- At Moulin l’Evêque : to trace the history of flour-milling in one street.
- At the "Gros Bouillon" in Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire : to understand the origin of the name Cosne, "Condate" for the Celts, which means confluence.

Tributary to the Loire river, the Nohain takes its source at Entrains-sur-Nohain and travels about 47 km before emptying into the Loire river at Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire (at the "Gros Bouillon"). It includes 8 tributaries and it crosses 10 municipalities. Thanks to the length of the Nohain river, many mills have been established and developed the local industry. In the beginning of the 20th century, the Nohain had 59 mills, 36 for flour, 3 for oil, 12 for smithies, 4 fulling-mills for wool, leather or skin and 4 for barks.

In Donzy

Among the most important mills in Donzy we could mention the Moulin de l'Île and the Moulin de Maupertuis.

The Moulin de l’Île was originally a pointerie and was transformed in 1858 into an oil mill which still operates today.
The Moulin de Maupertuis is certainly the oldest mill in Donzy. Its existence is attested in 1390. The Carrouée family kept it in activity until 1961. In 1989, the mill was transformed into an Ecomuseum of milling and the Association for the Promotion of the Moulin de Maupertuis Site was created. Today, the site traces the history of flour milling and allows you to become apprentices millers during a visit. Do not hesitate to discover it !

The Chemin du Commandeur, a little outside of Donzy, is an exceptional site. Several mills are located along this path and they belonged to the Commander of Saint John of Jerusalem and then to the Monmignaut family. These mills were used for flour or for the fulling of fabrics.

In Moulin l'Evêque

Straddling the municipalities of Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire and Saint-Père, Moulin l'Evêque is made up of 4 arms of the Nohain and up to 5 paddle wheels in operation. The mills were donated by the Bishop of Auxerre to the monks of the Templar Commandery of Villemoison.

During the French revolution, these mills were sold to the Mégrot family who stayed until 1983. Today, we can see three different vestiges of the mills’ operation. First of all, the paddle wheel of the Moulin Blanc, the particularity is that this mill was transformed into an ice house in 1928. It remained in activity until 1976. The second vestige is the Grand Moulin, which includes stone grinders on the first floor. There is also a hopper in perfect condition on the ground floor. You can see the mechanism which was driving the grinding wheel. The mill-wheel has disappeared because it was replaced by a turbine when the mill was transformed into a sawmill. The last vestige is in the Moulin du Commandeur where the mill-wheel remains. This mill has been transformed into a general mechanical workshop of spare parts for mills. Shut down in 1983, the workshop has kept all the machines and tools as they are : a true witness of an activity which completely disappeared.

At the "Gros Bouillon"

The name refers to the place where the Nohain empties into the Loire at Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, on the Quai du Maréchal Joffre. The "Gros Bouillon" testifies the strength of water that the Forges Royales de la Chaussade needed to function. Today, it is a place where you can stroll, enjoy some freshness and also watch the sculpture “The bargeman and his boat” by Jean-Jacques Bourgeois, a reminder of Loire's fleet activity in Cosne. 

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