10 December 2008

Like some more Vouvray?

The first time I came to the Loire Valley was at Christmastime in 1972 — 26 36 years ago (oops!). I was traveling with two friends and we stayed in a hotel in Tours. Two of us hitchhiked to Chambord because we wanted to see the castle. We probably didn't even know about Vouvray.

The church in Vouvray as seen across the vineyard

I ended up living in France for 8 years in the 1970s and '80s, mostly in Paris. In the late '70s or early '80s, I drove through the Loire Valley at least once, on my way to Noirmoutier, an island off the Atlantic coast of France.

A little farmhouse in the Vallée Coquette at Vouvray

And then in 1989 Walt and I drove through Saint-Aignan to Beaugency, where we had lunch. It was one of our first vacations together in France. We were on our way from Bordeaux back to Paris. Neither one of us remembers Saint-Aignan at all from that trip — we were hurrying to get to Chartres before dark that day — but we know we drove through because Walt was marking the routes we took on a map that we still have.

Troglodyte houses (built into the sides of cliffs) in Vouvray

In 1992, Walt and I drove the length of the Loire Valley as far as Orléans on our way from Nantes to Paris. We stopped in Saumur, drove through Azay-le-Rideau, saw Chambord from the car. I didn't do photography much back then, but Walt might have pictures. The weather was cold, gray, and even foggy, and I had caught a bad cold out in Brittany. It was pretty miserable.

The Château de Moncontour, a wine property at Vouvray

On none of those trips did we ever go to Vouvray. I'm not even sure we were much aware of the existence of the wine or the village before about 10 years ago. We weren't aware of the existence of Montrichard or Saint-Aignan either. It wasn't until October 2000 that we really got a clue.

A shop window in Vouvray

That changed everything. Through a series of circumstances, we ended up moving to Saint-Aignan in 2003. This week is the sixth anniversary of the week when we found the house we now live in.


  1. Ken

    You mean 35 years ago :-)

  2. It was 40 years ago this summer that Lewis and I first visited the Loire Valley, but it was you and Walt that introduced us to Vouvray in 2004. Flat Stanley enjoyed his visit also:-)

    You are making me homesick and thirsty with your talk of Vouvray, I'm going down to the corner soon and buying a bottle if they still have a Vouvray there. By the corner I mean the Frame shop-winery not the gas station.

  3. Are you trying to make us think you are younger than you are?

  4. It's hard to pull anything over on you people, isn't it? Now I'm feeling really old. Maybe I'll go for a rejuvenating walk with Callie and then come back and have a glass of... Vouvray. K.

  5. LOL!!!!

    Toutes mes excuses Ken. You see in 1973 I was still in high school and I remember the yrs in Engineering school /University and in the industry. So I did a quick math. However I was PC not to go further with my comment though chm did express what I was thinking :-)

    A votre sante - pour moi un bon the chaud car il faut que je sors de nouveau pour enlever la neige ( melangee avec de la pluie ) lourde dans l'entree.


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