23 March 2008

Trôo, c'est trop !

That means: "Trôo is just too much!" And what or where is Trôo? It's a village on and around a big hill overlooking the Loir River and its valley.

The Loir River Valley seen from the top of the bluff at Trôo
June 2001

The Loir River? Didn't you spell that wrong? It's the Loire river, with an E. Well, no, not this time. The Loire River is the big water feature in the region, of course, of Loire Valley fame. But the Loir is a smaller river a little ways north, and a tributary of the larger Loire.

The Eglise Saint-Martin at Trôo was built in the 10th century
at the top of the hill overlooking the river valley

The Loir is a miniature Loire, in some ways. It has vineyards all along its banks, and it has some nice châteaux. The Loir flows through the northern part of our département (county), which is called the Loir-et-Cher. The Cher is the river we live near, and it's sort of the southern reflection of the Loir. Both are tributaries of the Loire, and the département is named for them. (In reality, the Loir flows into the Sarthe, which flows into the Maine, which flows into the Sèvre Nantaise, which flows into the Loire... so it finally gets there.)

Trôo, like all French villages, lost many soldiers
in World War I and has a monument to them

The big town along the Loir River, north of Blois, is Vendôme, with the ruins of a medieval château and a huge church. I have some pictures of Vendôme that I will post here soon.

The Eglise St-Jacques-des-Guérets is in the valley below Trôo
25 January 2004

Then there's Montoire-sur-le-Loire, a town of 10,000 so that is famous (or infamous) as the place where Adolph Hitler and the president of France signed a treaty sealing France's surrender and occupation at the beginning of World War II. They met in the town's little train station, which is still there but has only a very small sign to indicate its historical significance.

Restaurant at the top of the hill in Trôo

The village of Lavardin is just outside Montoire. It has a ruined château too, high on a hill overlooking village and river. Lavardin is one of the famous « plus beaux villages de France » — one of France's most beautiful villages. I have some pictures from Lavardin too.

Champignons — mushrooms — are grown in the caves at Trôo

The pictures in this post show the village called Trôo, pronounced [TROH], not [TROO]. As I said, it is on a hill, and it is trogodytic. In other words, there are caves carved out of the side of the hill in places, and those caves are used as dwellings or out-buildings (wine storage and aging, mushroom growing, and so on).

The newer village at the base of the hill in Trôo
25 January 2004

The church at the top of the hill in Trôo is pretty, and the view out over the valley is very nice. It's one of those places in France where you feel like you might be the first tourist of visit in years, or decades, or ever. One book I have, the Signpost Guide to the Loire Valley, calls Trôo a "strange little village." It's not even listed in the Cadogan guide.

Also at the top of the hill is this house called Le Louvre

The Signpost Guide says that Trôo not only has cave dwellings, but it also has underground passageways and stairs that serve as streets and alleys linking the troglodyte homes to each other. I didn't see those.

Another view of the St-Martin church in Trôo

I did see the church at the top of the hill and other sights, which are pictured here. I've seen the name of the village spelled Trôo, with the accent (as on the WWI monument pictured above), or Troo, without (as in the Micheline guide). Either way, c'est trop. The people there are called Troiens — all 350 of them.

Trôo and the other towns and villages along the Loir River are a good hour's drive north of Saint-Aignan and about 30 minutes north of Blois or Amboise.


  1. Loir is also the word for dormouse, isn't it?
    This post and the one on Chambord before it marvellously interesting, with great photos as ever.
    You asked about the cedars at Chaumont previously - I think they are Cedars of Lebanon, but I'm no great expert on conifers. I would expect to see cedars of Lebanon in most of these grand grounds. Cedars of Lebanon were used to indicate that the owner had been on crusade. Seeds were brought back from the Holy Land and planted, but I don't think any of these original trees survive. The tradition of planting them survived but the semiotics changed a little I suppose. They say to the visitor 'look how much land I own - I have the space to plant this vast spreading tree' and 'look how powerful I am - I can plant this tree with the expectation that my grandchildren will be here to see it in maturity'.

  2. Someone we talked to in Le Lude enunciated very carefully for us: "Le Loir, La Loire." Maybe she thought we had stumbled into the wrong region by mistake and were wondering where the famous chateaux were.

    I'm looking forward to learning what tree you have. If it turns out to be a Cedar of Lebanon, just think how impressed all of us will be (according to Susan and Simon's research). Land barons! Crusaders!

  3. Claudia in Toronto24 March, 2008 03:26

    Would you allow me to print your posts on those villages, to add to my book:"Les pays de Loire."? It doesn't have one photo of Troo, and just five lines on the caves. It's a very good "reportage photographique" but it misses the interesting details that you mention.I've never printed anything from a blog yet.

  4. Claudia, I of course don't mind if you print pictures or text from the blog.

    Louise, I'll let you know if we turn out to be powerful with our vast spreading trees! LOL! Since we won't have grandchildren, I guess the next owners will inherit the trees, just as we did.

    Susan, yes, a « loir » is a dormouse. I don't know if the name of the river and the name of the rodent are related etymologically.

  5. Ken I'm glad you mentioned the Signpost Guide. Is this the best guide book for the Loire valley or would you recommend another? I have the DK Eyewitness guide.

    New Bern

  6. BettyAnn, no, I wouldn't say the Signpost Guide is the best one for the Loire Valley. I like the Micheline Green Guides (there's one for the Châteaux de la Loire) and also the Cadogan guides, which are fun to read.

  7. Thanks very much, Ken. I will check out your recommendations. I have used the Cadogan guide in the Dordogne and Lot and liked it very much.

    Since we weren't able to get together when you were in NC last fall perhaps we can have lunch in the Loire Valley in late May?


  8. You're right

    Come again in Trôo, and visit caves, some of them (3) belong to american people, some other (2) to british and some others.... to french..



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