06 May 2015

Sancerre and other things, like stoves

Here are a few more photos of the Sancerre area, two hours east of Saint-Aignan and two hours south of Paris by car. We drove through there last October and spent some time looking at the scenery. The Sancerre vineyards and villages don't look that much different from the Loire Valley (Touraine) vineyards, except for one thing: it's much hillier over there.

As I've mentioned, Sancerre's white wines are the standard for fine Sauvignon Blanc wines in France and even worldwide. A lot of Sauvignon grapes are grown around the eastern Loire Valley (Touraine) and a lot of good Sauvignon Blanc wine is made here. If you order a white wine in a Paris café, you'll probably get a  Sauvignon made in Touraine. And the standard for what that should taste like is Sancerre wine.

But don't get the idea that Sancerre (or Touraine, or even Champagne) is a prettied-up, pristine environment. Grape-growing and wine-making are rural activities, and the atmosphere in wine regions might be more rural than you think. It's farming. Expect to see scenes like the one below. And also scenes like the others shown in this post. It's pretty but real.

The little town of Sancerre sits on a hilltop (below), with views over the surrounding vineyards and countryside. We didn't go up into the town this time, because we were on our way home and eager to get here. We've been to Sancerre several times before — once 25 years ago, and again about 15 years ago. And as I said, the area, which is on the banks of the Loire River but not really in what is called Le Val de Loire, where the châteaux are, isn't all that different from where we live except for the hilly terrain.

Oh, about stoves — yesterday we visited two places that sell and install wood stoves, one in Saint-Aignan and the other across the river in Noyers-sur-Cher. The first place is sending out a man to examine our current stove and chimney, and to measure the house, to see what stove he might recommend for our situation. I predict that his estimate of the cost will match or exceed the 2,500 € estimate we got from Invicta.

Maybe a stove like this one would be nice in our fireplace.
Or this one.

By the way, when we asked if this vendor deals in Invicta stoves, the answer was « Surtout pas ! » — "God no!" They are cheap stoves made with very thin cast iron that is manufactured in and imported from China, the woman said with a certain amount of disdain. Invicta stoves are of poor quality even though they are assembled in France, and they don't give off a lot of heat. So there.

The second shop we went to is the one where we bought our first stove back in 2006 and paid, yes, 2,500 € for, all included. Clés en main, as they say. The question we asked there is if they think we need to tear out the existing insulation and chimney liner. No, we were told. The existing 9-year-old insulation and liner should be just fine. They'll send somebody out to examine the installation and the house before the end of May and work up a bid.


  1. Most people I know have an Invicta stove - I didn't realise they were cheap and nasty!

    1. That outfit is just trying to push the more expensive stoves that they sell.

  2. I'm not sure that the stove above is your fireplace fitting at all!
    It looks very "cold"... almost industrial...

    At least you got confirmation from your previous installer that the life expectancy of the fittings is more than nine years....

    There is a very good brewery in Sancerre, too....
    the last one in the area to close in the mid-'60s...
    We blogged about it here....

    Life isn't just about the wine.... honestly?

    1. I like the plain, almost industrial look. It goes with our house and furnishings.

    2. But the more I look at that stove, the more Darth Vaderish it appears.

    3. You said it, not me....
      but SciFi was vaguely in my mind...
      except the badge looks a bit "Trekky" to me...
      It's a fire, Jim...
      but not as we know it!

    4. I updated my post to add an advertising photo of another stove we're interested in. It might be too big though.

    5. It does look better... but I agree with Judith...
      it is just missing the words... Sony Trinitron...
      and the big tuning knob...
      but, that said....
      it seems to be what I would call "ageless" in design...
      and therefore fit in with most decor without a problem....
      I notice also that it burns with a better flame..... ;-{)

  3. I'm certainly glad that someone has agreed that you don't need to re-do all of your insulation and liner!
    That bottom stove looks like a 1964 TV :)

    1. LOL, it does look like a 1950s TV set. When I was growing up, we got our first TV in 1956, for Christmas. At the time, we got a single channel, and the reception wasn't very good. Lots of snow.

  4. Say no to Darth Vader. I think we got our first tv a little earlier, my dad loved to watch the fights and baseball. Going from the radio to tv was a giant step. Then came another memorable moment- the one when we got on the world wide web for the first time.

  5. That's definitely a Darth Vader look. Once installed, it might not look that way, though.

  6. We love the little town of Sancerre and the wine too....it's a real treat for us and hard to find here in AZ. So we do with every day Sauvignon Blanc.

  7. The advantage to having the bottom stove is one could enjoy the fire AND think it was Christmas Eve all of the time (our local stations always had Christmas Carols playing with a rip-roaring fire shown on the screen!). My family didn't jump for a TV until I was in the 5th grade - probably 1960.

    Mary in Oregon


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