Troglodyte Houses

Since prehistoric times, man has been digging troglodyte houses in the soft chalk rock of the valley of the Loire. Safe from attack and insulated from extremes of heat or cold, they were low in cost and could be extended as circumstances changed.

These underground spaces represent a network of more than 1000 kilometres, today used for the storage of wine, growing mushrooms or tourism.

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The dwellings thus made weren't only for peasants - at Turquant, not far upstream of Saumur, (Maine et Loire), a small manor house was created in the 16th century. And at Louresse-Rochemenier, 20 kilometres west of Saumur, the fire which devastated the village church led to the conversion of a troglodyte quarry into a church, with the large opening that had been used for the extraction of the rock being turned into the church tower!

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