Monday, September 22, 2014

Les Rosiers

Easy day today.  To Les Rosiers-sur-Loire for lunch, stopping on the way at the Village des Troglodytes en Rochemenier.  The stone hereabouts is a chalky sandstone which gives buildings in the area a pleasing, light appearance.  It is soft enough that some farmers decided to carve out houses underground, complete with caves to keep their animals, press their grapes and store their wine.  The excavated stone was used to make lime and to treat farmers' fields.  Finally abandoned in 1900, the settlement even boasted an underground chapel which is partially beneath the village church.

People were shorter in those days, so after achieving my daily quota for head-bumps on the low doorways, we exited the caves and made for Les Rosiers for lunch.  Naturally, we had a Croque-Monsieur at Le Cafe des Rosiers before setting off to explore the south side of the Loire towards Tours.

Fifteen minutes from Rosiers is the town of Saumur (Reggie's maiden name) which we will revisit when the castle is open.  Further upriver (the Loire here is wide and shallow with numerous sandbanks) we found many vineyards and wineries (most closed on Monday) some with the backs of their buildings tunneled into the chalky cliffs for real "caves des vins".   At Avoine-Chignon we found a massive, multi-reactor, nuclear generating station, followed a few minutes later by the Chateau d'Usse segueing neatly in century-long steps.

Then a quick hop onto the autoroute and home in time for supper.

Entrances to two underground houses

Animal shelters

House "modernized" for the park-keeper

Underground chapel


Reggie in Les Rosiers

Chateu d'Usse.  One of what seems like thousands in the area.

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