The troglodytic valley of Goupillières
You may have heard the phrase “history only remembers the winners”. It is true that it is often justified, especially in sports competitions. And yes, great champions make people dream, just like celebrities from the cinema or music. At school too, we remember from history classes the names of great characters: Tutankhamun, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon…
In Touraine, the presence of the castles of the Loire Valley gives us the opportunity to talk about Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, François 1er , Leonardo da Vinci, and Catherine de Medici. But behind the splendor of the court, the overwhelming majority of our ancestors lived the previous centuries in a very different way. Thus, a hundred years ago, peasants still occupied troglodytic dwellings with basic comfort…
The life of the peasants: another look at the history…
This is the interest and the singularity of the troglodytic valley of Goupillières, near the castle of Azay-le-Rideau. The visit of this place allows to set in perspective what we see elsewhere in the great monuments.
The life of the peasants of the past centuries was focused on primary needs: feeding themselves with the vegetable garden, the orchard and the farm animals. Sheltering and protection, naturally. The galleries were dug in the hillside to extract the tufa stone (the peasants were also quarrymen, to allow the construction of the castles), and were thus intended to become living spaces. There is even an underground refuge in the heart of this habitat, to protect oneself from brigands.
Louis-Marie Chardon and the troglodytic valley of Goupillières
Like the Maurice Dufresne Museum and its incredible retro machinery collection, the troglodytic valley of Goupillières is inseparable from its creator. As a child, Louis-Marie used to come and play in this abandoned valley, the hillsides being the only land used by the family’s tree farming activity. After inheriting the place, he set about redeveloping the site in order to perpetuate the memory of this life of peasants, which particularly touches him.
The beautiful passions being contagious, it is from now on his daughter Amélie who welcomes the visitors, who come in family. As you can imagine, the animals of the farm (donkey, goat, pig, hens, geese and other rabbits) are a great success with the children. But the restoration based on old fashioned fouées is also very appreciated!
Remember: in addition to the self-guided tour, guided tours are offered at fixed times, indicated on the website of the troglodytic valley.