|We're the blue dot near Brissac. Doué just south east of us about 20 minutes.|
As usual, there is much we will miss in Doué. This place has been inhabited since neolithic times, as evidenced by local dolmens. In Roman times, it was a villa at the crossroads of trading routes between Saumur, Angers, Montreil-Bellay, and Gennes. We've certainly found it a crossroads for our travels in the area.
In the 8th century, Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious, lived here. In usual medieval fashion, the town passed from Carolingians to Aquitaine to Anjou with the monks of Cunault also sheltering here from the Vikings. At one point, the town was fortified and a bit of the walls still remain.
Doué has its share of troglodytic areas due to the quarrying of the tufa limestone. We have already visited the near-by Rochemenier troglodyte farms. The zoo is located in another tufa quarry and is a most popular place to visit. (And they have picnic tables for lunch, we discover). The Arena (les Arènes) has been turned into an event venue with hillside seating and a stage as well as troglodytic areas of gardens, dining areas, and exhibition spaces. Along the Rue des Perrières, one sees troglodyte houses with profusions of roses over their walls. There's a tourist site called "Le Mystère de Falun" (mystery of the limestone) which does a sound and light show in abandoned troglodyte caves. I believe you can also stay in a troglodyte hotel.
The town owes its international reputation for growing roses to Baron Joseph François Foullon who with the help of one of the king's gardeners, created a rose-growing industry in Doué. He was also instrumental in improving public areas - the lavoirs (for community clothes washing), repairing the town fountain (only source of water), built a fair grounds, established nurseries for growing plants, especially poplar trees. Unfortunately, Foullon, who became minister of finances for Louis XVI on July 12, 1789, was arrested and hung, then decapitated by an angry Paris mob on July 22, 1789, one of the first victims of the French Revolution.
There remains a stables from Foullon's estate which has been turned into a museum of old shops from 1900-1950.
|these flowers grow everywhere but seem to prefer old walls like those of the stables|
|roses on the arbor|
|an interesting tree - no idea what it is|
Doué produces sixty percent of the 12 million rose plants grown in France each year. More than 40 nurseries produce over 2000 varieties of roses per year. Below are some of the varieties we saw in bloom at Les Chemins de la Rose.
|An old 2 CV in front of the garden entrance|
|Now that's a peacock!|
There are plenty of benches to sit and enjoy the wide variety of roses. Sign's along the way (in English as well as French) teach about roses and their propagation.
|A rose arbor with tables and chairs underneath|
|reading signs about the culture of roses|
|my vantage point - a little knitting on the bench in front of the peace roses while waiting for the others|
|Everything is draped in roses right now|
After a lunch at the zoos picnic tables, we head home. Naps for some and then we prepare to go to a local wine fest called Vins sur Vingt (wines on the 20th).
|Again, we're the blue dot and the "city" of Saint Jean is the other blue dot just north of us by 5 km. The red outline is the area of the township. It includes many of our local wineries.|
|We be jammin'|
Low and behold, we knew the carrier of the oath of office. It was Sheila Plumejeau from the Gonorderie winery we visited yesterday.
Four wine growers from the area pool grape resources to produce 2 special wines just for this fest. We drank the Anjou Villages Brissac (red) and there was also a Cabernet d'Anjou (rosé from Cabernet Franc grapes) that we didn't try.
Once the cermonies are finished, the festing begins. There are tables and chairs in two locations as there are two music stages - one up by the church
|Judy up at the church site|
|A very French and very entertaining trio called Beretta Chic were the first entertainers. All music groups were from the Angers region|
|The fest is a family affair and there were balloons for the kids|
|the venue down below the church|
|It wasn't as cold as we dressed|
|The church in Saint-Jean-les-Mauvrets|