Le Puy-Notre-Dame Travel Guide

  • Panoramic view of fields of gold
    Panoramic view of fields of gold
    by iandsmith
  • Ancient tower
    Ancient tower
    by iandsmith
  • Things to Do
    by iandsmith

Le Puy-Notre-Dame Things to Do

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    by iandsmith Written Jun 16, 2012

    Normally, you'd expect a tip on where I stayed to be under "accommodation" but, non! For this is about the extraordinary bits of Le Grand Maison; the caves beneath.
    Now, having caves beneath your place is a bit passe in the Loire Valley, as well as many other places in France, but to have them to the extent they were here struck me as being noteworthy.
    We got a guided tour of them one morning and fascinating it was. There's still one or two bottles down there, some equipment and a whole lot of history, some of which will never be known.
    During WWI soldiers were down here and their scrawl can still be seen on the walls of the cave even today.
    We saw where the cave had collapsed, were told how much further it used to go (a long way!) and thought the experience was a bit special. Recommend you do it if you stay there.

    Etching from WWI Going down The inside story Bottling tools Still a cask or two
    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    by iandsmith Updated Jun 16, 2012

    Another day I went looking for a particular bridge that caught my fancy. I've got a thing about mediaeval bridges, can't get enough of them.
    So it was I wandered, not so much getting lost but going where the roads took me until it was time to return and then I was truly grateful for the GPS.
    I got to see some lovely bits of the countryside though. Oh, that I had a different travelling companion and I would have just kept on going the whole day.
    While on my excursion I also ended up wading (and I use the term advisedly) through waist deep grass heavy with dew just to get the shot of the old flower mill. Still, I think it was worth the effort, hope you agree.

    Probably a wine storage Moulin de Couche, the old flower mill The bridge over untroubled waters Wine storage facility
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Wine Tasting

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    by iandsmith Written Jun 16, 2012

    If there's a hill beside a river in Europe then there's apt to be a town, Montreuil-Bellay fits that bill perfectly. The Thouet is the river that also runs through other places I visited like Parthenay.
    The Château de Montreuil-Bellay was first constructed on the site of a Gallo-Roman village high on the hill on the banks of the Thouet River.
    Consisting of more than 1,000 acres (4 km²), it was acquired by a Bellay family member in 1025 but was seized by the Plantagenets during the second half of the 1100s. After the defeat of the English by King Philippe II, a Bellay descendant, Guillaume de Melun, constructed high, massive, walls with 13 interlocking towers and entry only via a fortified gateway.
    During the French Wars of Religion, the town of Montreuil-Bellay was ransacked and burned but the fortress itself suffered little damage. Ownership of the castle changed several times including, through marriage, to the Cossé-Brissac family. During the French Revolution the castle was seized by the revolutionary government and used as a prison for women suspected of being royalists.
    In 1822 it was acquired by Saumur businessman Adrien Niveleau, who divided the huge area into rental units. In 1860 Niveleau's daughter undertook occupancy and a major restoration campaign, redoing some of the rooms in the Troubadour style. Descendants of her husband's nephew are the current owners of the property.
    Nowadays, Château de Montreuil-Bellay is also the name of a wine made on the property.

    An imposing structure Montreuil-Bellay reflected in the Thouet Imposing from any angle
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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Le Puy-Notre-Dame Hotels

  • Le Chai de la Paleine

    10 place Jules Raimbault, Le Puy Notre Dame, Saumur, 49260, France

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

Le Puy-Notre-Dame Off The Beaten Path

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    by iandsmith Written Jun 24, 2012

    This little know attraction in the Loire Valley is worth your time if you are into art. It is one man's attempt to turn a basic tufa cave into something unforgettable. In this he succeeded but his dream was not quite fulfilled.
    Jacques Warminsky was that man but, tragically, he died before his vision was complete but, then again, I wondered whether someone artistic like him would ever have been fully satisfied.
    We had a guide for our tour who spoke little English but made a valiant effort and we understood much of what he had to say, all of which we found interesting.
    Bernadette Alberti was lady who apparently had a hand in this work, often working side-by-side with Warminsky, but she deserted the site after he died and I haven't been able to get any more details as yet.
    It's a truly extraordinary expereince that will take you less than an hour but remain with you forever.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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