Monday, October 27, 2014

Just another Saturday Market in the Loire

It’s been an amazing day (Saturday), I really don’t know how we fit so many things into one day.
It started out as a visit to the Saint Aignan market. We arrived around 9ish without having breakfast. We like to buy some delicacies from a patisserie and then find a bar to order a coffee and watch the world go by. I took Sue to the same bar where I enjoyed my arvo Pelforth Blonde the other day after my bike ride. The lady who runs the bar remembered me and was really nice. I think we should come back while we are here.

The French now put their fizzy pop in boxes - Oh No!!!!

What kind of mushrooms would you like - this lady has them all.
Halloween is just around the corner.
Trousers and towers
I wonder what country girls wear these sassy dresses!!!

French markets are fun, they have some great produce, and some very tacky clothes. When we walked towards the market at Saint Aignan, we could hear recorded music being piped into the streets and all the town folk were milling around the stalls - seafood, cheeses, meats, veggies and those tacky clothes I mentioned earlier.

I think that the markets are also a meeting place for the locals to catch up with each other. We saw many examples of this over the morning. In fact it happened to us! We met a local American who lives in Saint Aignan with a friend visiting from the west coast of the US. We had dinner with him a few nights back.

After the market, we took a drive to investigate a place recommended by friends that we are staying with. It’s called Chateauvieux not far from Saint Aignan. Yes, there is a Chateau but also it has a few examples of Troglodyte homes. These are homes that are dug into the sides of the soft hillsides of the valley. These days, many of the extensive caves and tunnels are used to store wine or grow varieties of mushrooms. 
As we drove into Chateauvieux we noticed these balls of green growth which we are told is a parasitic mistletoe.

Look closely and you see homes that are part of the some cliff faces - we saw much of this a few trips back in the Dordogne region of France. 
A closer image. - Further up the road in Beurre on the way to Montrichard, there are extensive cave networks that meander for many kilometres under the hills. I should imagine that the French resistance used these tunnel networks to their advantage.
After leaving Chateauvieux we travelled to the village of Contres where they have a rather modern and upmarket supermarket as Sue was cooking dinner for our hosts in the commune of Saint Romaine sur Cher. 
Throughout France you see in the small villages, memorials
to the locals  that lost their lives during the war. In this case there are only six names, three from two families.
One has to wonder why they were transported to Germany from this little village on the Cher River in the Loire never to return. Were they part of the resistance?  Were they found out? Were they posing as French when they may have been Jewish. I wonder if there is anyone in Chateauvieux that could tell us - how sad.
BUT!!!! Beforehand I had a one hour window of opportunity to shed a few calories with a 32 kms ride along the Cher on the Saint Aignan side, cross over and come up the other side and home - what can I say, it keeps me sane.

Tomorrow being Sunday brings new experiences with an afternoon apero with our hosts and their French friends, Annick and Gerard. 
Our friends tell us that Gerard sleeps in the same bed that he was born in. During the war, the Germans took over his home and there is still some graffiti scratched into the soft stone walls. We've now met for a group dinner on a couple of occasions and they are always jolly company.

Something that I was not quite use to back home. So much for privacy.

Monday we move to a cottage in the village of Thenay via the generosity of our hosts Carol and Michael. If you ever decide to come to the Loire Valley, their cottage is in the middle of the Chateaux district and really worth renting. We'll tell you about the life of living in a rural village in the Loire over the next four weeks while at Thenay

I took a longer ride today (60 kms) being Sunday. The hunt season is in operation in rural France currently so you need to ride on the main roads and keep your distance from the forests. This morning as I was riding along the banks of the Cher river, I heard the sound of several large blasts - I hope the hunter's shots were unsuccessful. 


  1. Those Loire Valley castles must have been spectacular in their day. What has happened to them now? Can tourists stay in the Chateauvieux castle and in use it as a base for touring?

    1. Hi Hels, we've seen the big and famous chateaux on previous trips but these smaller ones I find a bit easier to absorb. Some of the smaller chateaux do offer accommodation but the big ones such Chambord have a flow of 1000s. Chateauvieux is an aged care facility of some sorts I'm told.

  2. I remember the tacky clothes as well at those open air markets but it is also fun to see the stalls and listening to the vendors selling their goods. I am glad you are having a good time.

    1. Nadege - I notice that some of the store holders travel from one market to the next - a few I saw at Ambroise were at Saint Aignan where we bumped into WCS.

  3. I've lived here for over eleven years, and who do I run into at the market? Two Aussies! Was great to see you again! :)

  4. Love seeing all of these market photos! Glad you ran into Walt!

  5. Markets abroad always seem far more interesting. :)


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