From buried in the ground to reaching to heaven

Trip Start Jun 01, 2012
Trip End Aug 13, 2012

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Flag of France  , Pays de la Loire,
Sunday, July 1, 2012

After spending the morning wandering around the walls of the 13th c. castle in Angers, we headed out to find the troglodyte village in Rochemenier. Amazing. They are structures unlike I've ever seen before. The pictures just don't do justice to how interesting this small farm was. The people did, indeed, live underground. When a new kid was born, they just hollowed out a new room from the limestone. The animals lived down here, and indeed people were still residing in these dwellings into the 1950s at least, if not later. They had a wine press and walnut press in the caves, as well as an underground chapel that they built during the Wars of Religion when the above-ground one was burned down. The site is set up very well, with an explanatory handout and labels, along with numerous implements and pictures of what life was like for these farmers during the late nineteenth into the twentieth century, though the earliest settlement here dates from the thirteenth century. Just amazing. 

Stopping briefly in Saumur, where we had a nice lunch (rabbit stew with dark chocolate dipping sauce for me, excellent beef bourguignon for Ben, accompanied by a glass of hypocras) and got out just in time to miss the parade (which we're glad of), we spent the rest of the afternoon at the abbey of Fontevrauld. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it. Simple, elegant, and packed full of rich history, both medieval and modern.

Now we're in a hotel outside Poitiers and, as it's late and we've another day of driving ahead of us, I will leave it there for now. Hopefully one of us will come back and fill in some of the details in the near future. 

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