Monday, November 17, 2014

A Troglodyte Farm - Not Far From Saumur

Saumur's Chateau rises above the city below.

We stayed at the IBIS hotel opposite Saumur Gare - the station. It doesn’t sound so glamorous but IBIS are comfortable and we have never had reason to complain. Yes, and they have great WIFI.

We visited Saumur several years back when we first stayed at Chinon. It was when Sue wanted to visit Cadre Noir, the French equitation school where we enjoined an afternoon training session. Saumur like most Loire cities has its own Chateau but some of the great delights come from outside the city, mostly no more than 20 kms away. In our case, we wanted to visit the Troglodyte village (farm) of Rochemenier outside of Doue-la-Fontaine. The Dordogne region of France is littered with such communities however this one was different. Most are built into the side of cliffs where this one is in an excavation pit.

The Troglodyte village of Rochemenier had its beginnings from the 13th century and was inhabited into the early 1900s.
As we walked towards the Troglodyte village we passed the church and there to the left of us was a deep depression in the ground. As we walked down, we saw a small what was a small farming community that was inhabited and developed over several centuries. The area takes in two Troglodyte farms.

These rooms below the surface consisted of Bedrooms, a dining room and even a village hall. There were barns, wine cellars a sheep pen and all the equipment associated with the farming community over the years.

The farm is open to the public with a numbered walking path. The leaflet in English explains the life and times of this underground community very well.
A photo from the 1900s showing what it was like then.
You can almost imagine that people were actually still be living here.

The community bar
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Underground hallways lead from room to room.

Above ground is the rebuilt village church. The original was burnt down during the 16th century wars of religion. During that time, the Troglodytes built an underground church where they worshiped. It is directly below the above ground church of today.
A photo from the very late 1800s???

I've just discovered that our recharger on the laptop has died so we may have to post on the iPad in future. meaning less photos.


  1. Wow, that's just amazing. I forget, sometimes, how very "unconnected" rural life was back even in the early part of the 1900s. Those interior photos (like the one with the bed and chair on either side of the fireplace) really bring that home. Have you ever seen the movie, "Jeux Interdits" (Forbidden Games)? Great movie. Set during the start of Nazi occupation of France in WWII... the key family in the movie lives out in a rural area outside of Paris, and they are so undeveloped! And, that was the late 1930s-ish! Similarly, the Pagnol books/films, like Jean de Florette... set in rural southern France in the 1920s, but you'd think it was the middle ages.

    In any case, thanks for these photos! So interesting!

    1. Judith - we sometimes think that some of the rural properties we pass on the very back roads here in the Loire must be similar - unchanged over scores of years. I wonder also what treasure in the way of antiques are contained in the houses, attics and barns.

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