Transcript for Episode 252: A Scenic Drive along the Loire River

Categories: French History, Loire Valley, Off the Beaten Track in France

Discussed in this Episode

  • The Loire Levee
  • Fontevraud Abbey
  • Fontevraud-l'Abbaye
  • Angers
  • Saumur
  • Saint-Mathurin-sur-Loire
  • Les-Rosiers-sur-Loire
  • Candes-Saint-Martin
  • Montsoreau
  • Langeais
  • Troglodyte village of Rochemenier


This is join us in France Episode 252. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and join us in France is a podcast where you’ll hear pragmatic advice for your next trip to France. Hopefully you’ll get inspired to go beyond Paris and enjoy the rest of France too. And what do you know? On today’s episode at least tells me the story of her scenic drive along the river. Between oj and Sue. One of her stops was at the phone to vote Abby, where Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son Richard the Lionheart are buried. I spent a few hours myself at first of all, and really enjoy it and we explain why in this episode, we talked about why this is also a great itinerary for cycling. Although in that case, you’d probably have to stop somewhere for the night. But there’s no lack of great villages to choose from, and we talked about a few of them. Or you could stay in a troglodyte house which they also have in this area, not so sure about those, but they would be worth a stop for sure. To be clear, our emphasis today is not on the warrior Valley shadows, but on the war River and the beautiful towns and cities you will encounter as you explore this area. This drive would take a whole day because as we’ll see, there are a lot of places that are worth a stop. And you could also do it in either direction. She did it going east, but she could do it going west. Now please note that there is no public transportation. To do this, you’ll need either a car or hop on a bicycle. If you’re interested in this episode, I recommend that you go to the front page of join us in and click on the Loire Valley area on the map of France. This will list all the episodes about this beautiful part of the country and we use a lot French names on this podcast sometimes I remember to spell them sometimes I don’t. So if you’d like to see how they’re spelt and see them written out, go to the episode page on a join us in France com forward slash 252. And now let’s talk about the war river and it’s beautiful Townsend.

Oh, nice to see you.


Very interesting vacation.

Yes. You had an you had a nice vacation and Have one yet. So now you’re ahead

and ahead. I’m ahead. I wish I could go back on vacation to be honest. Yeah, I like vacation at the very, very, very end of the summer. I’ve always been that way, you know, and like, it’s the thing you look forward to. It’s like when I was teaching in New York, I would have lunch the last I would be the last person to have lunch. I would look forward to the lunch. Yeah, having too early. It’s like it’s over. Yes, that’s it.

You know, Anyway, today, we’re not talking about at least his vacation


We are talking about a scenic drive you took along the North Valley. Exactly, exactly. In fact, this was the culminating event basically, of my vacation this year.

So we’re not going to talk about the chateaus per se today. We’re mostly going to talk about this Dr. taking you through different villages and towns that are interesting, interesting, and the whole, not too much in great detail, but a little bit of

connected to basically the idea of what the luau represents as a river.

And it and I have in the past been to, I think almost all of the Chateau, but this was something new for me to to actually just do this drive right and it was very, very lovely and it was very, very, very pleasant. Let’s put it that way it was just very peaceful and it was there was no rush of big tourists and lots of tourists and oh,

yeah, that you know, is the height of the summer. This is not a place that attracts throngs of tourists.

So it’s the shadow of course they do.

Yeah. And even they don’t.

I think some of them do, you know, some of the bigger ones, the ones that are fans, but But of course, part of this is that now the just a couple of things because they’re I don’t have numbers to throw out but the law with an E at the end right because there’s also otherwise Satan Allah Management.

And others don’t ask me why there are both and when

one doesn’t have any at the end, it

doesn’t have any low and it goes into the law with an E at the end, which is

the real law. So don’t last week. Okay, absolutely. So the little while, empties into the Lanois the big one.

Yes. And there’s also this share and the VN, among other river other important rivers, but yeah, and of course, I don’t know if we’ve ever talked about this, but I like the fact that in French there’s a word love, which means a river that empties into the ocean, which we don’t have an English I didn’t know that’s what it meant.

It’s exactly what it means gonna flow. Uh huh. So that okay, I’m flow opens into the, into the sea, and you’ll see exactly what it taught me some French today. extra points for you.

What’s interesting talking Words is that in English we have more words for little things like stream, which doesn’t exist in French they say Little River. Yeah. So it’s like the only Louie su

Yeah, that we saw right.

I mean there is very internal. Why the word love I love the word flow anyway, so so Lenoir is the longest flow over in France. Yes. And for centuries was royal.

The river was river

just like the forest, which meant that anything that floated on it had to pay money. Oh, well, okay. I mean, in other words, it really belongs to the kings of France, right. So the king could set up to and they did such and they did. And, and so one of the things now this was kind of a decision we made coming back from our our summer vacation, which was in the region of Brittany So, basically we got off the highways in RGA. Now I’m not going to talk about RJ other than to say it’s another one of these very beautiful old cities that are associated with the region of Anjou and the lower than one alley with a huge castle up on top, but basically the idea was to get along the river to so right we really didn’t stop and visit I want to say that might be happening another time. Right. And and there are two roads that take you along what is called the levy. I guess it’s the same word isn’t in English. We have the same word. Now we say levy levy in French

Louie LEV

Yeah, exactly. And it was built in. Get this the 12th century. Geez. Settled starting in the 12th century. That isn’t the 1100s by the king. of France, when that region and from their North was France to protect the land, because it’s very rich land around there. And because the law is a river that for loves Yeah, and floods and flats and floods, it’s kind of

flat. That area very flat.

Yes, it’s very fat. It’s very rich, which of course is now why it’s associated with a wonderful white wines a lot more than reds. I’m not sure why there’s got to be some reason in the soil way whites tend to be better there. But so when you drive when you do this drive, which we did from West going east, you could do it either way. You are really driving on top of the living. And, and so going east, you have the river to your right, and then these lovely villages to your left, okay. And it was very strange because we left on We took these very tiny little they pockmarked out, which means minor tiny roads, back roads, you know, to get down to the road that goes along the river. And it is, as you mentioned, it’s relatively flat.

Yeah, yeah. A lot of people mentioned that it’s a good place for people who want to cycle but I

don’t want to kill them stuff. That’s right. Right. And we saw several small groups of people who indeed were cycling and it is for someone like me, it would be ideal. We’re your ideal.

Or if you’re cycling, like yesterday, I saw a family. It was obviously a French family with mom, dad and three little kids. Yeah. And dad had on his bicycle, he had a trailer kind of thing. And mom had big basket hanging baskets. And the kids just had their little bite, but it’s obvious they’re going somewhere. Yeah, on a bike on a bike or vacation. Yeah, and that would be pretty easy to do with kids because

I’ll feel fairly flat. Yeah, it’s the they call it in fact, the cattle. You’re the little wagon that they attached to the back. Yeah. And yeah, it’s, it’s really. And also the other reason why it’s a place where even me I could imagine doing that, which tells you a lot about who I am, is that it’s, even though it’s flat, it’s not boring. And so, as you go along the river, one of the things about the law is that it’s very, very, very wide. But there’s a lot of sand. I see. And apparently, part of the history of it, and part of the history of why they had to build the levee is that the, the river carries all of this sound, it comes down from the I can’t remember then the mountain now my husband, if he’s listening to this would kill me. But it’s somewhere in the messy song where all of this actually starts somewhere in the last day or something like that. And for some reason, that has been Do with the geological aspects of it, the silt and the sand is carried by the river, right. So, over the centuries and centuries, there have been areas that have been basically clogged up by the sand IC, which has caused a lot of the flooding right now and so what happens is what you see is that it looks like it’s very shallow and very peaceful and it is not. But what you do see is lots of areas that look like little baby islands that are sand with birds on them, and it’s really and then on and then you see these vineyards at the beginning, leaving RGA its way really flat and then it gets more hilly. Yeah, as you go. And it’s beautiful. Yeah, I just

thought it was really beautiful. Yeah, I was there last summer and I thought it was very pretty, too. It’s really, really lovely. Yeah, so so we were taking this ride and

we’ve made a few stops ran a couple of them worse. That were by pure chance. And then a couple of them were suggestions from people that we know. And so there are lots and lots of villages that are built along this levy. And what one of the characteristics of them until you get much further on is that they’re all very, very, very horizontal, in the sense that they’re linear. So you have the village built as a almost like two lines parallel to the river. Yeah, people want to get the river view or something. Well, I think it had to do with what the original function of these villages were, because they’re, there are groupings of them. And then there’s a lot of space where there aren’t any, but most of the villages go back very far in time, and they were connected to the Commerce along the river and also because they wanted to be protected by the levy. They they Kept themselves as close as possible. And my guess is it was also in case of flooding they could go up above I see up to the top of the levee because it’s not that high, but it actually was really from preventing destruction of the houses. And the other thing about them is that they’re all built up this absolutely gorgeous very white limestone, right? Yes. And we were there on a beautiful sunny day and they just as shines you know, yeah. With the blue of the river and the blue of the sky. And I thought and lots of flowers everywhere. So what as you can tell, I actually really liked it a lot. That’s good. So a couple of these little villages.

The first one is called Sam met Gemma summit you have

met john.

Yeah, why I like that name. I’m just kind of cute, huh? We stopped there. We had a little coffee and snack. Nice little sort of cafe that was right across from the river. And it was very pretty I discovered afterwards that some of the houses there go back to the 1500s 1600s relatively typical style of the LA Valley, which is fairly low. The houses are not very, very high. But they have a very pretty aspect to them. I can’t quite explain why but I found them very, very nice,

find some find a photo

and find the photos. And this particular village, this I’m at your home is famous because it was one of the first places where the workers were brought to start working on the levy, I see. And so it really goes back very, very far. Although, from what I could see, I don’t think any of the houses go back to the 1300s or anything like that, but certainly to the 1600s and 1700s. And they were very, very charming, you know, and with enough facilities that he unless you have to go do your big, big, big shopping, you know, you have your post office, your little pharmacy, you have a few of those things there. So really Very small but not deserted by right, everything. Right. Right. And roses and and oleander everywhere. It was just really amazing to see how much is coming from to lose where we have such a dry hot summer. It was so nice to be where there’s enough moisture that there are flowers.

Well, yeah, there are flowers in Toulouse too. But you have to water your, your plant.

Well, yeah, but here I mean, this is not necessarily just from watering. I mean, this is not flowers and pots. You know, I mean, this is just like there’s enough moisture, I guess. Right in general in general. Yeah. And so we discovered basically that this drive along the levee was really fascinating because you have a couple of bridges, which are much more recent in the history of the levee, which go across to the other side to the southern side of the river, but the villages are all built on the northern side, at least in this part. And so they they succeed One another you have some at john and then one that comes very close after a few kilometers afterwards about seven or eight called lay Jose, Jose Israel and as you can guess, rose bushes except that it turns out that the name has to do with the word of hope Zoo which is which is in English okay now in English it is a I know what it is in French. Rosa is a oh boy I knew I was gonna I said to myself I have to look this word up and now I Rosa is a shoot What is it in English? It’s

I’m I can see it in my well Me too.

I know what it is in French. I just don’t know how to say this. It’s a kind of

weed. It’s a read but it’s well, it’s a read. Read. Yeah,

read. So it’s it’s what

it’s where they put Moses. You know when The basket.


Yeah, that’s just

that it’s those kind of with the tall

tall Dixie

top and they’re invasive. Exactly. Grow really will take over the world and Sam

matter and labels you are both villages that actually were begun in the very beginning of the 1300s. And they Jose was famous. He was a guy who was you if it’s for well, because the Word became the word was originally in Latin, the word for Roseville and at some point was formed and then people started thinking that it was Jose and not Roseville. Okay, so it’s just a bad name. So it’s just that you know, like a lot of times these the names and the words like that evolve they they evolve. Yeah, both villages. We’re famous for being places where they would load in under the and unload the goods on the flat bottom boats, which were called to TOUESTOU


or football.

I know. I knew that if I said I just knew it, you know?

Okay, okay. It’s funny,

though. In the door Daniel. They’re called Jabbar. Yeah. But in the valley This is their name to the liquidity their flat bottom bow know the floor to DOUS.

The to the photo photo. Cheese people.

Yeah. Well, it turns out that it’s because the language that was spoken in this area up until the beginning of the 1300s was an ancient language that us a lot more Latin and it was starting in the 1300s that Old French started being used. And so a lot of these words changed. So a lot of them seems very strange to us now, but it was really fascinating to read that it was in the LA Valley, which is one of the reasons why tour is considered to be the city to go to for the purest, Old French. I mean, the purest French in is that this is where French started. I see. Okay. Okay. So they were using a mix of Latin and whatever the local languages were. And then it evolved. And I’m not sure how that happens, you know, like, and so the long day, which of course, is the term used for the language that became friends? Yeah. was officially recognized in the LA Valley. I see in the 1300s.

So that’s it along with Doyle or

ILOIL. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like oil. Yeah. Well, yeah. So as you drive so we go through sound that john and it was interesting. You

shoulda coulda

shoulda No, no, they both have very pretty churches that have lots of flowers. And they both are built in this very linear fashion. Although lay Jose is actually a bit bigger. And to my surprise, it’s just it’s a village that has over 600 permanent residents. So it’s, it’s a, it’s consequent for a village, because in France, you have villages that have not even 100 people. Yeah. But this has basically the OZ even more has every kind of commerce you can imagine. I didn’t see big supermarkets. I mean, I don’t think it has that. Right. But

by now, friends, people they know if they live in a rural place like that, they just go to the big town for supermarket exactly once a week, once every other or whatever. And then yeah,

and then they go and, and in this case, they’re kind of halfway between on And so many of you. Okay, so I guess it depends on which is easier to get to for a variety of people. So we were actually on our way to Seoul, Muriel. Which you have stopped at also. Yeah. And so Maria is of course, very famous for its cavalry. Short for the horses. Yes. Which I was surprised to find out because we drove through and wanted to see the old historical center is no longer there.

So I don’t know where they’ve gone.

I don’t know where they’ve taken the horses. But so Mira has been famous through centuries Yes. Or no? No, is that what it’s called? Think that’s what it’s called.

But I think they still have like demonstrations and they have shows

shows. Yeah,

I don’t know if that’s where they do the horse training right?

But what was surprising because

you know, me haha, I’m an American. I sit up here. Oh, maybe they’re just on vacation and in Cottonwood do, you know look at these buildings there have been abandoned, you know? Yeah. And it’s really a huge part of the city of So mirror, it’s the part that slow it down, it’s actually close to the river. So all of the huge buildings that are actually 17th century they’re beautiful, gorgeous classical style architecture. They actually are abandoned. So I don’t know where the cavalry has gone, because this is famous for the training of the horses and and all of that, and yes, they still do the horse shows with the performances.

Yes, when I was there, I saw several ads for the horse shows,

but it’s a royal city. So what happens is that the whole history of the lower Valley is connected to the history of the kings of France. And the river was the property of the kings of France, which is kind of hard to imagine the concept. Yeah, but,

but it probably meant you couldn’t finish without permission. Exactly you couldn’t you know float No, you don’t float on the river. What do you do you you say what you say

on a really nice actually yeah, you float if you’re not in your boat. You sail with your in your boat. Yeah.

But you’re right. It’s just like the whole concept of the Royal forest. I mean a person could have been executed for cutting down a tree in a forest that was a royal forest. And the law from Andre on going east was royal. It really belonged. Everything around it and on it belong to the royal family. So they built these cities, which is how they wound up afterwards, of course, building all these Chateau in the Renaissance. But so Maria was a royal city in the success that it had the castle which is up on top of the hill, which is really, really quite impressive, although I only saw from the outside.

Yeah, I didn’t go in either because I was there to pick up my book. BB a puppy, right? So I drove around the town and I walked around the town some, but I really I got there and kind of late afternoon and looked around for a few hours. And by the time I was ready to go see the shadow, it was close. It was close. Yeah. And then the next morning I picked up my puppy and then I wasn’t with a brand new puppy.

No. And we were actually the we had other things we wanted to get to do that day. So basic, but the outside I took some pictures. It is of course very Disneyland looking. Yeah. The shadow of so many was absolutely magnificent. And it really is the predecessor to the other shadow that come a little bit later. And so it was really it had two sets of walls around it. And it’s still very beautiful. It’s not that big. It’s bigger than it’s not a village. It’s a small city. But it’s very, very beautiful. And of course, you’re at the beginning of the part of the valley where you have hills. And so the area around it starts to have very beautiful vineyards. And so what. And the other thing that’s typical of this part, once you start going this further this, that this point going east is that you have troglodyte houses. And so if you drive along the river and when you go to somewhere, you cross over to the southern side of the river, and the valley. From there on going east, you have endless numbers of limestone cliffs that are also K, which is chalk. And there are all of these troglodyte houses that are still used, which is very interesting, and I mean, people live unable to really live in them. Yeah. And, well, one of the things and I’ve seen this in the Sharon area, opposite Bordeaux to one of the reasons people like doing this is that the temperature is the same You’re around, you know, and they’ve the windows all face south. So they’re on there. No, what am I saying? No, the windows face north. They’re on the southern side of the river. And the houses are built into the cliffs. And so in the heat of the summer, they’re cool. And then, just like with certain caves, in the wintertime, they never get that cold either, here, but you live in a cave and a lot. And so what happened was we were, we were driving along, as we were heading towards so Mira. And we passed a couple of these very pretty villages. And all of a sudden, I looked up and I saw that there were these openings that were actually you see the windows and you see the doors. So there was a road. So I said to my husband, I said, oh, let’s take this quick turn up, because I’m sort of curious to see what they look like and it was just one of these very sharp turns that you go up the hill, very narrow. Little Street. And sure enough, we drove up. And there were these houses that were clearly still inhabited that were carved into the cliffs. Wow. And you have this view of the river that is spectacular

view would be nice,

but I don’t want one. So what happened was we drove all the way up. And we come to this little chapel. And we discovered that we are in the middle of endless grapevines on this rolling hills. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Right? So take the side roads,

take the side roads if you have the time. Yeah. And then from there, after taking some photos and looking down and going, oops, I don’t know if I would like to live up here because it really makes my head turn a little bit. Yeah, but it was really quite impressive and all of these people seem to think was very cool to do. We took the back roads and went to the village And the eBay of Fanta.

Oh, yes that I went to that before I got the puppy and before you got puppy

and yes, so I hadn’t thought about it much until we got to so mirror but it was it so me wrong when we saw the signs pointing to the eBay phone

and you were like oh, I recognize that and I went Ah, I

always wanted to go there. So to explain why one of my heroines in history is Eleanor of Aquitaine. Yes, who is or was buried at this Abbey in form, which is part of the huge, huge domain that was hers as the Duchess of Aquitaine which included the whole region of Andrew. And this was where she was buried and where she went to the last very last period of her life, which was A very long life. And of course, if you don’t know the story of Elena rapid teen, she was this incredible woman who wound up being both Queen of France and Queen of England. And who mothered, I guess you can say that many, many kings and gave. She gave birth to she had eight children. Yes. And was an incredibly interesting, independent intellectual woman who was just one of my heroines

Yes. And her language was was oxy toxic. So she grew up speaking the local language have to lose up to the

language of our club system. But she, of course know how to speak French because she was a very, very, very well educated young woman. Yeah, who inherited the domain from her from her father. And at the end of her life, she lived a long life I don’t remember exactly, but I think she was 76 when she died, which for those days, and when We’re talking 12th century was really Yes. She died in 1204. I believe she was an old lady. Yeah. And she left England where she had been living as the wife of the king. Actually, she left a few years before that, but she went back to her lands. And this was where she was buried when she died.

Yeah, and it’s an interesting Abby, I have some I wish I had known you were going to talk about this because I would have looked at my pictures again. Pictures, yeah, lots of pictures. But I remember that there was this game. They were computers where you could draw and it would project what you were drawing on the wall.

There wasn’t there this time. Okay, so I don’t know.

I don’t it wasn’t there. Maybe they removed it.

Maybe they removed it. It was fun. But what was interesting is that the village which is the village of phone to whole Isn’t the middle of nowhere. It’s really in the middle of nowhere. I mean, it’s it’s a very pretty little village. It’s surrounded by rolling hills with grapevines. But boy, is it really in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, it’s pretty. It’s really countryside. And it turns out now that it’s a village that is fairly chic and very, very it has a music festival and it has artists residents there and it’s a very, very active cultural scene there. But the abbey is the history of it is absolutely fascinating. And it was founded as one of the very first Abby’s were both men and women lived together and they didn’t live in the same room, but they shared and the it was run by a woman. It was run by an artist. And it was one of the reasons why it was very much it was really important to her and it was one of the reasons why she chose to actually For life there, so I went there because I read a few books about her and I knew that she was buried there and I’d never seen it before. And I have a couple of wonderful pictures of the, what is called zone the zone, which isn’t. That’s not the word in English. It’s called a it’s a link state, but there’s another official word for it, but it’s a very gorgeous, beautiful sculpture that still has all the original color and it’s hard to photograph.

It’s hard to photograph

it’s indoors and you have to go high. And so my pictures none of it had straight lines. Anyway, it I took them from the side

and of course, she’s buried next to her.

I don’t see her son. Okay. Not very next to her son. Richard lighthearted. But the she’s on to the sculpture which is which is Polly Chrome, and is very beautiful. And it shows her holding a book which I think is one right The original from when she was buried in 1204. But her body is no longer there. And there was a young woman who was working as a as a guide there. And we were asking some questions and it turns out that she and her daughter and her son were their bodies were taken out and disappeared during the French Revolution. So, so the she’s on are the originals. She was really buried there that the the abbey itself is this incredibly impressive structure that has been mostly renovated. So it has a little bit of both very nice, very nice. It’s huge, absolutely huge. The grounds are fabulous, too. It’s just the whole where they have the

so they have a look effect. Wow. Where they used to eat and it’s all color. You can see all the colors. Yes,

yeah. Oh, that was beautiful. What they do now because it is this whole village is the center of artistic activity is that there’s a contemporary artists who has some kind of an installation in, in the, in the church. And so that was kind of interesting wasn’t it wasn’t a horrible one even my husband that was kind of interesting it was when I was there, it was like it was like this was things that had to do with Rosa. In fact, it had to do with some kind of very natural material. There’s a gorgeous vegetable garden there. I mean, the whole place. We wound up we went there because I kept saying to him, he couldn’t care less. I kept saying, I have to see where she’s buried. I have to see where she’s buried. And as it turns out, we spent hours there. It was really beautiful. You can

spend a good two or three hours there and that’s why I did never got to the Chateau in Soma because I spent longer there than I thought I would and then there’s so many of us.

And it really is gorgeous there. I mean it is again in the middle of nowhere, but It was really I was so happy to have gone I sort of paid my rent. Yeah.

And it’s one of these stately kind of places. It there’s not a lot of furniture left inside, which is kind of too bad. I think they, I wish they would bring in, you know, even modern furniture, you know, so we have an idea or reproduction of what they think it might have look like. Because it’s hard to imagine people living there if there’s nothing The rooms are

talking about. The back the rooms were the day that the nuns in the the the live Yes, yes. Well, but part of that has to do with a more modern history of it, which was really interesting because we bought a couple of books about it, and it was a prison. It was a prison until Believe it or not the 1960s or 70s and it was a prison where they actually did. They took the church which is where of course where she is. Her statue is Yeah, he’s OG song. And they built floors like they did here, the shackle bound for the horses. And they actually had layers going up. It was infamous as a prison for a long time. And then it was used by the Germans in World War Two. So it has a very interesting, very rich and not always happy history right now, but it’s a fabulous place to stop and visit it just Yeah, I would recommend it. Yeah, it really is. And if you’re really into being in a place like that, I mean, there are places to sleep and there are certainly some nice restaurants and things like that as

well. Yeah, I’m sure that I didn’t eat there. I I just, I remember parking illegally.

That’s not surprising to me.

And, and going in and because I was trying to go fast, to see it fast. And then in the end, it grabbed me and I spent longer than I thought I

was I was really it may be, yeah, it was really one of those things just like I’ve always wanted to go and see And pay my respects in there we

were you are in the middle of nowhere it’s it’s really a very peaceful kind of area. Yes. Not a lot of i mean i don’t i don’t i didn’t see anywhere they could park but Tauruses

oh I don’t know we there might have some there might have been there were there was definitely a parking area but I did not see tour buses. My guess is that when we were there we were there on a Sunday. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I mean, we were there in the middle of August. Yeah, I

have a phobia with places that have a big parking lot for tour buses. I’m like, Oh, no, run away. Yeah,

I You’re right. We saw we didn’t see groups. So I don’t know. I really don’t know. But it was really lovely. And you’re right. It’s the whole thing. That whole area of this whole region is very beautiful and basically very, very peaceful. Yeah. So we left from the hole. And we headed towards as we’re going towards our destination for the night which was the city tour which is for another time, but we headed back towards the river because this is south of the river so really good go a bit away from the river and we’re not huge distances. And we went to the the last village that I just wanted to talk about talking about the river in this little bit of a drive, which is the village of Canada summer.

Okay, gonna spell that ZANDES

con the son of tongue Yeah,

okay, which is the village that we were told we could not miss by member of the family

then yet I missed it. And I don’t have family

and because they because they lived in the area for years. This is part of the family that actually knew every village in the area. And it’s it’s considered to be on the list of one of the most beautiful villages of France was actually up for you know, there’s a special program with Stephen bound about every year they vote on The most beautiful film right? And and I was, as we were getting towards there, I kept saying, Oh, I wonder if this was ever blah, blah, blah, blah. But you see, I’m so intuitive. I knew it. And as I was looking it up yesterday, sure enough in 2006, it was it didn’t win, it didn’t win, but it was considered as a candidate anyway. And it is on the point where the law is joined by the GN, okay. And it is a village that is very, very, very important. And it’s very important for two reasons. It’s very important because of its history as a village along the river. And it’s very, very important because it is where Mach 22 was buried. And math down the tool is one of the most important early Christian bishops extremely important in the history of the church of Catholic Church Of course of Christianity and E St. Martin. It’s St. Martin. Okay, this is him I’ve done several times. I’m out on the tour. And, and he created he built an was buried in the Abbey. That is, is there. So there’s an abbey in the village there’s actually an abbey. Well, what’s left of it is the church itself, which is really big for some very small village right and then a few of the outer buildings, not the rest of the Abbey. But, but so we knew that we were going to make this our last night before we just headed back straight to end the night spend the night in tour and had no idea what to expect. This is one of those deals where it was like okay, we were told to go there. Let’s go We’ll see what happens. And so personally, it was very interesting. It is very charming. It is not my vote for the most beautiful village in France, but there are so many so many so many beautiful villages in France that it wouldn’t make any difference one or the other. But it’s fascinating. So was it dead? It was pretty dead there. Yeah, it was dead. It was dead partly because we were there at the end of the day on a Sunday, right? Because in August, though in August,

right, if you go the day on a Sunday in January, then it is truly day it is truly dead. Yes, but

so this is the deal about it. So first of all, it is it’s mentioned for the first time in the three hundreds. It was a Roman site. It was actually a site that the Romans used to load and unload. So it’s famous for having stretches along the banks of the lower which are the southern side now, where they would load and unload these these flat bottom boats. Also be The VN, which is a river that of course comes from the museum from the message sample empties there. So it was very important in terms of commercial center, starting apparently, even prior to the Romans, it was Celtic, but even before then it was it was really, really important. And then say Sam uptown Martin detour, if you will, if you don’t want to come from our town, who is someone who truly, really lived and lived a very long life and interestingly enough, all through the three hundreds he was in the fourth century. He created the this Abbey there, and it became a sight of a pilgrimage. He died near three 303 97 Okay, he died in 397. He was buried there and because he was responsible for Christian Isaac, he was a proselytizer. He was right he had an incredibly interesting life, which I’ll tell more about when we talk about tour, but he had originally In a Roman soldier, and then he became a Christian and he became an evangelizers and he Christian eyes, swathes of the whole area of the loo I

understand how this happened. How did a single guy go and preach and convert all these people?

Well, it’s another whole story. Yeah. Okay, it’s another whole story.

We’re probably ready for it like they were waiting for something. Yes.

Maybe there was swords involved. It was a little bit of both Okay, okay. Okay, I think was a little bit off but but, but what happened sorry for that little bit of burst of sound probably just popped out of me. But what happened was that because of the fact that he created this FA there and then he was buried there. It became so important as a pilgrimage site that Believe it or not, into the Middle Ages, it was considered to be as important as Rome. That’s how this is this little village. Okay. Little Village that now has just a few hundred people as permanent residence. Huh. But the other thing that makes this village really interesting is that like these other villages that I mentioned earlier, it’s very linear, right? Only this summer on the southern banks of the wall. And it’s famous because not only does it have this history connected to somehow found a tool and the church that’s there, which is really pretty amazing considering the size of the village. It has a part of the village that goes up high. So you have houses that are a pie that can look down on the river, but it is famous for having this prominent edge. That is a couple of kilometers so that you can walk along the banks of the river with these gorgeous gardens, which is always very polite, which is very, very nice. Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful gardens with flowers and and everywhere. And so we walked a little bit of this, some in the 19th and 20th century became a famous place a little bit like some other villages we know about close to the here for musicians and artists to go to So they’re associated with some of the houses in the village. And you can see take these paths to take you right down to the edge of the water. And you look out on the river. And so it has this very long, very rich history. But as again, as you mentioned, it’s not that big. It’s bigger than it looks at first because as we drove out, to get back on the main road to hit towards tour, you saw a few more how we started realized lotteries very, very long. I mean, it’s filled with these gorgeous, it’s got some very old houses, it’s got some three to four half timbered houses, houses made of limestone. Of course, this is just pure limestone area anyway. But it turns out that the village is really much longer than we thought. There’s more to it than we expected. Because we have so

long with this whole thing take you like if you want to just stop in these four places you mentioned, would you take the whole day? Yeah,

yeah. Yeah. And of course we could have we had made up our minds ahead of time and

then you went to 12 We went to tour today right? Right. So you could do it from tour to towards, or vice versa Candace

is pretty much halfway between tour and some you work Candy, candy candy, so candy Santa town, okay, the I don’t know if you pronounce the s actually on the end of it. It is just about halfway between tour and someo. So you can do it going east or going west, it really doesn’t make any difference. It’s also a sight of it’s part of a large region that’s part of the National Park. It’s famous for its birds and for all kinds of stuff like that. So a lot of people go there to do hikes. A lot of people go there to do boating, as well because they still take people out on the boats and things like that. And of course, it’s again, like these other villages has troglodyte houses, higher up in the cliffs. But if you you could start from tour and you can do these of course you You can get to tour easily from Paris or by train. But if you’re going to do these, you need a car. I’m sure you know, this is a unless you’re doing a bike tour,

you know, right right you do it on a bike. That’s one thing this

is this is a car trip, you know, this is this is it is a scenic drive scenic drive. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous scenic drive, right and you can basically do, you can get to tour do a few of these, and then go back to tour. But it we did it you know, just by starting in RGA and then going east and then of course finished finishing and by the lead, to be honest, you know, we took so much time at phone for whole

that by the time we got to tour It was like nine o’clock at night. Right? Right. Right. And that was the whole nights.

So yeah, there are probably other places between now and tomorrow that would be worth right stop. Right But these are just the ones you picked. Exactly. And you know, right

there typical there. I mean, this region is Famous for how everything is everything’s pretty much taken care of. And everything is very beautiful. And it was very bucolic at the same time was very beautiful because of how old everything was, everything’s well taken care of. And as you mentioned, we stopped in these four places. There are others you can stop in as well. But it’s a lovely thing to do. Yes, it’s a great thing to do and also scenic drive along the line. And I’m not even talking about what comes east of tour, because then you could continue on the levy on the road, Easter tour, and, and then and just for those who might want to try to combine this with a visit to some of the famous Chateau from RGA on you have all the famous Chateau of the lower Valley.

Yeah. Yeah. from one end to the other. Yeah. And you just go off the main road and you find them there are so many there are so many

one of these days I will see most of them. But Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Well, if I keep going just to pick up a puppy that’s you know, that kind of takes over. Yeah, I think that would be lots of puppies


Anyway you so much. That was really interesting. And next time I go, I will definitely make sure to go see those villages that I missed.

They are just lovely. And it’s such a nice,

somewhat different

from some of the other places I’ve been seeing a lot of lately

and then very soon we’ll do another episode about talk about Tour, which is also another very interesting town, which is a very city

thing. City city. Very lovely.

All to the maximum quality queries, Divya, Annie. Thank you, Dana Bradford for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week. patrons enjoy several rewards including membership into a secret Facebook group where I answer questions. They can also hire me to be their trip consultant and help them work out tricky details that they will like some help with visit forward slash join us. That’s PATREON. Join us no spaces or dashes to see the different reward tiers and thank you so much for giving back patrons. My thanks also to Linda vergeer and john rebar, rebar maybe sorry, john, for sending in a one time donation by using the green button on any page on join us in France. com that says tip your guide. And I have sent you both an invite to the secret Facebook group. And if you’d like to support the show without spending a penny you wouldn’t have spent otherwise. Before you go shopping on Amazon. Go to the bottom of any page on join us in France. com and click on the Amazon ad because you came to the Amazon through join us in France. No matter what you buy. I get a small commission and it doesn’t cost you anymore, but you have to do it every time you go buy something on Amazon, it’s a bit of a pain, but hey, it helps, you know. And it’s the same thing with There’s an app for that too. And that one is obviously for hotel rooms. Thank you so much for pitching in. There is a new review of my MoMA voice map tour that I want to share with you. I like the fact that this person describes what’s going to happen to you if you get on one of my tours. I don’t know this person by the way. I don’t know if it’s a he or she so let’s say it’s a she I don’t know. I have taken several guided walks tours of MoMA while in Paris, but Annie is voice map audio tour is truly superior. She takes you to all the famous sites and more in an easy to follow route that you can take at your own pace. You can go inside museums and churches or stop and shop and get a bite to eat along the way. Without being held up by a big tour group, her detailed information about the landmarks and legends of MoMA goes beyond what you get on a usual walking tour, I would highly recommend this audio tour to anyone visiting more. Martha, thank you so much. That’s really nice. And yes, I do try to tell you as much as possible, and in a way, it’s an advantage that I’m not there in person. Because when you do a tour in person, which I’ve done to you have to catch people’s attention and keep people’s attention. Well, if you’re listening to me in your headphones, while I’m in your head, and so you are paying attention that’s just human nature. So so those are very fun. And I do think that you go into more depth and more detail with these voice map, self guided audio tours. And don’t forget that podcast listeners get a discount if they purchase through. Join us in France. Calm forward slash audio tours, you may have noticed that I’m making a big push for podcast listening on all my social media channels the last few days, I want to attract more podcast listeners and not general travel people, because they asked really basic questions and they make me feel like I mean, as you know, I mean, let me feel like I’m the hamster on this on the wheel like the hamster wheel. I’m always trying to answer the same questions and they certainly come at a fast pace. But you know what? I answer these questions on the podcast. That’s what I do. You know, I don’t do it on Facebook. I do it on the podcast, but but I should stop complaining because I’m the idiot here because I’m the one who’s been letting them into the Facebook group too easily. So I’m not going to kick anybody out of the group. But I have tightened the requirements to join the group. Pretty much If a group member invite somebody so if you’re a group member and you want I don’t know your spouse, your friend whatever to come in, invite them in and I will let them in is if somebody tells me I listened to the podcast of course I will let them in. If they say they are willing to try to listen to the podcasts, I will let them in as well. But the others the dilettantes who just want to be fed answers, you know, always the same one constantly. No, no, no, no, no more.

This means that the join us in France Facebook group will grow really slowly, I think. But I think that’s better for all of us. You know, more quality and less quantity. There are over six. I can’t say this 6000 group members anyway already, so that’s a lot of people. Other than that, nothing too exciting is happening in my life. October weather is You’re absolutely perfect. We haven’t had any rain to speak of upper temperatures are in the, you know, 25 degrees see kind of ranges. It’s lovely here in the south of France. I don’t think you can beat that actually. And another nice thing is that I’m going to a jazz concert tonight with Elise introduce. So that’ll be fun. That’ll be our first concert together. How exciting. And this morning as I walked by dogs, I walked right into a competition that I had never seen before. It’s called a do a salon in French do at long, which I think you say biathlon in English. It’s like a six k foot race plus a 21 k bike race plus 2.7 k sprint. I was I got there by the end. I just saw the stragglers but what’s what was surprising to me is that it was couples competing together. They all run in Paris. Anyway, I never see up before was it was cool. Yeah, new thing. So thank you for listening to this episode. Thank you for telling someone that they should listen to the podcast by searching for join us in France travel podcast and you guys are my only marketing team. So thank you for trying to do that for me. Send questions or feedback to any ad join us in France. com Have a great week of trip planning and I will talk to you next week of the join us in France travel podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2019 by addicted to France. It is released under Creative Commons Attribution non commercial no derivatives license

Transcribed by

Subscribe to the Podcast
Apple Google Spotify RSS
Support the Show
Tip Your Guides Extras Patreon Audio Tours
Read more about this transcript
Episode Page 

Categories: French History, Loire Valley, Off the Beaten Track in France