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Loire Valley: Town of the Troglodytes

If someone calls you a troglodyte in America, they are literally calling you a “cave dweller.” Most likely, they are insulting your lack of technical skills and implying that you would be more at home with a rotary phone than a cell phone.

Today, our bike route in the Loire Valley took us through a town where if they call you a troglodyte, it is probably because you do live in a cave.

The caves we visited today are not inhabited, but have been turned into art galleries and stores, restaurants, or show how they have been used over the centuries. Most of the caves started as natural caverns or were opened up by limestone excavations. In some areas they are still used as residences, wine cellars, or garages. One segment we explored was a commercial district in the past. Nice and cool when it is hot—as it is right now; cold and damp in the winter.

In addition to introducing us to towns of the troglodytes, we explored the grounds of the Château de Saumur, a highly photogenic fortress overlooking the town of the same name. The castle was preserved, in part, because Napoleon I used it for a prison at one time. It does look rather imposing—as in difficult to break into or out of.

Laurie’s Relive video captures more of the cave dwellings and a bridge over a river nicknamed Wing Mirror Bridge by our hosts. It’s a converted railway bridge barely wide enough for two cars—leading to sometimes knocking off the mirrors of oncoming cars. Plenty wide enough for bikes though.

2 thoughts on “Loire Valley: Town of the Troglodytes”

  1. An unusual sight for you, and a fun memory for me! I was there about 20 years ago. The most surprising thing I learned was that the Nazis commandeered the caves to hide a temporary war room, weapons, and stolen goods for a period during WWII.
    There’s a charming town with sweet canal just west of there (or there was 20 yrs ago lol).
    Enjoy your travels! Be safe and healthy!

    1. Yes, lots of World War II history here in the chateaus towns. In one town there is a railroad car commemorating one that they liberated on its way to a concentration camp.

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