Monday, 4 June 2012

A walk around...'Ethniciti'

As I have said before, one of the advantages of living here wthin the Southern Touraine area of the Loire Valley is our proximity to the neighbouring department of the Vienne and all its little treasures. One of these we tend to take new visitors to the area to, is only 15 minutes away from us here in Barrou.

'Ethni-Citi' -  is a collection of troglodyte dwellings dug into the hillside overlooking the river Creuse at St. Remy-sur-Creuse. In the middle ages these caves were the refuge for local people who were caught in the middle of the conflict between Richard the Lionheart who had a small fortress built on top of the cliffs and his French enemies.
Later weavers moved in as they provided a good place to work with hemp due to the presence of the small streams within the caves.More recently, the site again became a place of refuge,this time by the French Resistance during the WW2.

                        You park your car in the parking area below and walk up the path to the caves.

Today, some of caves are still used as homes or for storage. 

You can view part of the caves free of charge...

...including outdoor Chapel of Our Ladies of Lourdes 

There is a charge of 6.50 euros to view 'Ethni-Citi' 'proper', which consists of 7 small sites each with a theme.

Each room is numbered and accompanied by a small introductory text and very easy to follow. 

 Probably the most interesting part of the caves - the ones on the second level where the people would retreat to if under attack,are inaccessible.

You can get a good view of these by continuing to walk past the official site along the path in front of the caves.

The site also gives good views along the valley of the river Creuse.

This is a pleasant little excursion that to our surprise many local people have not taken advantage of - add in lunch or dinner at the local restaurant,a stop at La Guerche to photograph the chateau from the bridge and you have the makings of a good day out

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