Final resting place of two English Kings
Fontevraud Abbaye is in a quaint little village by the same name. Located southeast of Saumur it is built of the light tuffa stone that is found in the area. At sunset the stone takes on a beautiful golden tone. Staying at the hotel in the abbaye allowed wandering around the grounds at night and free entrance to the abbaye tour. We began in the cathedral where the remains of two english kings, and two english queen/queen mothers lay in rest. The history behind the four effigies of Henry II, his wife Elinor, their son King Richard, and their daughter in law Isabella d'Angouleme (wife of King John and mother of King Henry III) in the center of the solemn nave fills books. The wonder of English history buried deep in the French countryside shows how profoundly things change and even more how we are all connected.
Though led by a woman, both monks and nuns lived and worked here. The abbaye was powerful for many years dying finally during the French revolution. It was later a prison for many years, and only lately has been wonderfully restored and cared for. Wandering the cloisters, the kitchen, the chapter house one can almost hear the sound of pens on parchment as the monks made copies, imagine the awe of a new recruit, the harshness of some disciplinary action and I swear there were ghosts of old monks pottering around in the herb garden.
- Historical Travel
Saumur with a link to Pennsylvania
This little story is about a Scottish doctor called Marc Duncan, who was given a position in Saumur to teach Greek, Philosophy and Medicine at the Protestant Academy of Saumur in 1606. He married in Saumur and built this nice house. He even declined a position offered by the English king James 1 (who was a Scot and protestant) as his personal physician at the English court, just because he liked it in Saumur (although other sources say his French wife of good family didn't want to leave the country and hey... you choose what is most probable!).
At the Protestant Academy of Saumur he met a student called William Penn, later the founder of Pennsylvania.
If you search for 'Duncan Saumur' on the link below, you can read more about him.
- Historical Travel
Rochemenier Troglodyte village
This was a little hard to find, but we felt it was worth the effort. Up until very recently people lived and worked the fields above and lived in the caves which had been dug below the surface. The village has been well preserved and is complete with tools, furniture, farm implements, pictures, wine presses etc. We were given a very good english guide to follow as we wandered the village on our own. There is even an underground meeting hall and chapel. They also sell locally made walnut oil which unfortunately I lost to security at the airport.
- Arts and Culture
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