Abandoning our boat for a bit, we hopped ashore to explore the valiant village of Sancerre, right at the “coeur” (heart) of France in the Loire River Valley.
With an area of less than 20sq km and a population of under 2000. Where I come from, we have that many people per square kilometre!
It was a fairly steep 2.5km walk up the hill from where we moored to where Sancerre is situated.
Likely to have been established by the Romans in 1AD, it would have provided a good vantage point for spotting enemy advances and therefore have been a safe haven.
The siege of Protestant Sancerre, in 1572, lasted 8 months and resulted in a Catholic win due to the starvation of its roughly 500 inhabitants. It was only 26 years later that a peaceful resolution was achieved with the signing of the Edict of Nantes by King Henry 3rd (Good King Henry). He himself had been a Protestant but was forced to become Catholic by the wealthy ‘powers-that-were’, before he could be coronated. He nevertheless remained tolerant and passed many laws that allowed Protestants to worship in their own way.
One of the oldest buildings in town, this was a home built in the 15th century. It belonged to the royal Silversmith during the reign of King Charles 7th. His name was Jacques Coeur!
The Notre Dame de Sancerre was built in 1754 when Louis 15th was king. He succeeded his great-grandfather (Louis 14th) as king at the age of five and ruled for 59 years until his death in 1774. A fair and kind leader; he was known as “le bien-aimé” (The Beloved”.
A twining road led us to Maison Des Sancerre, an interactive museum detailing the history of the area’s “vinyobles” (vineyards) and wine production.
Sauvignon Blanc makes up the vast majority of the grapes grown the region or “appellation”. Pinot Noir (a light red) makes up the other 20%.
A 4D movie, following the adventures of Gisèle la “coccinelle” (ladybird) delighted our senses with visual, auditory, vestibular and even olfactory impulses as we discovered viticulture in Sancerre.
Ladybirds play a big role in keeping the vineyards healthy by eating pests such as aphids.
Here are some of the other behind-the-scenes hard workers we spied in the museum’s gardens:
And some that they would probably rather not have had:
What I loved most was this fact: 300 families “des familles” grow the grapes and produce the approximately 25 million bottles of wine “chaque année” (every year)!Not big corporations but just moms and dads; brothers and sisters; grannies and grandpas; aunts, uncles and cousins working together.
These are some photographs we saw in “Maison Des Sancerre”:
This causes me to reflect on our own family and the time we spend together; storing up memories that we will treasure forever:
Relationships are so very important in life.
On our way home we bought ourselves a bottle of Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc and “des pâté” (some pasta) to make a chicken-noodle-soup ’cause it’s good for the soul! Today is the last day we will spend together with my parents before we go our separate ways; each to our own new adventures.
Thank you, Grandpa and Granny, for sharing this leg of the journey with us; for the things you’ve taught us and for the friendship we have as our heritage.