Tuesday, June 21, 2011


View of Vendome from the castle

June 16 - Saumur to Vendome

After a breakfast of coffee, yogurt and muesli we drove east towards Tours and then northward. Here I must mention, that navigating in France is no simple task. Signs may display the name of a city at one point, then suddenly a round-about appears and the city you are heading for is no longer mentioned. We got used to keeping our eyes on Tout Directions.

We eventually made it to our destination, Vendome, in the heart of the Loir et Cher (not to be confused with the Loire River and valley). With its own wine appellation, there are lots of vineyards and wineries in the area. Vendome itself is very historic, dating back to a treaty that was signed here in 587 A.D. The remains of a castle still remain on the hill top overlooking Vendome. This very area was likely first inhabited by Celts and then Romans.
The Loir River

The cathedral in Vendome

Vendome itself is very quaint, with the Loir River running through it in several branches. The city’s architecture and design made good use of the river’s flow. On Friday mornings there’s a market held in the town center, with all the standard foods, wares and even clothes. It’s quite a lively event.

The Porto Entrance to Vendome 

Vendome has a lively Saturday morning market that is held in a central building that was designed just for the purpose. The city bought a block of houses, razed them and built the central market building.

We took a drive to visit the small village of Troo. What made it worth the side trip were its troglodyte (cave) dwellings. We had never encountered these before. Apparently some date back to the twelfth century when quite a number of the population in France lived in these limestone caves.

Troglodyte dwellings in Troo

In Troo a number of these caves remain in use. There are homes, bars, restaurants and even B&B’s in these cave structures. We walked passed very neat little gardens with elegant entrances built to the cave dwellings - lots of glass and ventilation pipes. We checked into staying at a B&B, but it was full. Next time.  

We drove back to hotel in Vendome and prepared for the next day's trip to Chartres and Evreux.     

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