The most anticipated and talked-about excursion for our program was the trip to the troglodytique and caves of Anjou. Literally dug and carved out of the ground and stone, these caves became village dwellings for many people of historical France. These caverns served as protection for the Protestants during religious wars, but were also a means to preserve the fertile soil above ground that was becoming scarce with the rapid growth if civilization.
Our program group was told during orientation that this was the best trip of the month, so we came into the day high expectations.
After a half day of class, we boarded our bus and made our way to the small village of Rochemenier where we took a tour of the old cave homes. We explored tunnels and dark rooms that once served as homes or stables for the citizens. We had the misfortune of rain and staying entirely dry wasn’t an option, even under the protection of the caves. The site was still incredibly impressive and fascinating.
Our next stop was an underground winery where we first got a lesson on how white, rosé, and red wines are made. Our visit continued on to the caves where the bottles were stored before enjoying a tasting of three delicious drinks of the Loire Valley.
The final stop that evening was at a beautiful restaurant resting under hills. The dark and twirling tunnels led us into an expanse of dining tables and chairs.
Our feast started off with a fine bottle of wine and an appetizer of mushrooms, salad, and a delicious tart. The names of the dishes escape my memory, but the main course was a pita-sort bread that we filled with a shredded beef butter and a couple other mixes.
After a delicious tart for dessert, we were on our way back to Angers.
Bastille Day being the 14th of July, there are great celebrations all across France on the 13th and we made it back into town just in time for the fireworks. With the rain still falling down above us, we found shelter in the foyer bedrooms and observed the spectacle of lights shoot off over the river.
We ended the night with a few drinks before making our way back to our homes to catch up on some much needed rest.
The troglodytiques were amazing. I’m so glad I was able to see such an interesting place and to taste such delicious drink and food. It was a great great day.