Historical Clisson!!! And its wines !!!

And this one was a nice trip and story. I have gone to the wine areas of the Loire but not much into the Nantaise or Nantes area. Until I heard of this town and a friend moved to Nantes. So one day I decided to pay a visit to my friend and afterward took a tour of this Nantaise town of Clisson. It was a wonderful trip and since we have come back couple times more. Hope you enjoy Clisson, its history and its wines!!! This is an update on text and links, pictures in individual posts ,therefore ,this one is a black and white series post.

Therefore, we went , and did a whole day at maximum satisfaction level. Once we were finished with visit locally, we set the wheels to Clisson, in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 ,Pays de la Loire region and some wines ,muscadet! Old Bretagne mind you!!

We visited by car after several months of talk by a colleague at work and me passing by it on my trips to Spain, this time there was a wine tasting fairs and well it was the right time to try the town with the family. We set out on the N165 past Nantes taking the A844/N844  taking exit 38 briefly on the A11 (free) and taking exit 44 for the N249 direction Clisson, you get off at the D763 direction Mouzillon/Clisson , it becomes the D149 entering Clisson right into the rue des Halles pedestrian street where there is a square for parking ,place St Jacques. Just to mention there is a train station or gare de Clisson, the first TER line in this area for the train lovers in you.

A bit of history I like

The town sits in the middle of the muscadet vineyards of Nantes but more importantly for the historically correct, it was part of the Brittany I now live. or Bretagne in French or Breizh in Breton ! It became part of Brittany in 851 with the treaty of Angers between king Charles the Bold of France and Erispoë, king of Brittany. So ,therefore, need to tell you a bit of history here, my treat!!!  The town took active part in the war of succession and the 100 years war. During the War of Succession of Brittany Olivier IV de Clisson was an active part on the side of the Dukedom of Brittany as a consequence was beheaded in the Halles of Paris after been accused of discussions for intervention with the king of  England Edward III. During the 100 years war his son Olivier V de Clisson was a key participant.

During the French revolution ,the Vendée wars against it took the valley of Clisson in total destruction. The revolutionary convention decided in 1793 to make obligatory the men to conscribe to the army ,however Clisson refuse the recruitment ,and with the insurrection started on March 10 1793. The rebel Vendéens took over Clisson on the same month and by May the Republicans ( French revolutionary as in the French Republic of today) entered the town and started the first massacre of people and burned the houses. This did not spare the Castle also burned; it got worse when the so call infernal columns occupied Clisson in 1794 with more massacres of the population; the town is completely destroyed and whoever was left leaves the town as well. Later , exiled Nantaise from Italy come back and decided to lived in Clisson by 1798, Pierre (painter)  and François (diplomat) Cacault and later a friend François-Frédéric Lemot is pulls into living in the town as well and acquired the Garenne or a hunting park of the castle and old hunting grounds of the Lords of Clisson in 1805 and later purchased the castle in 1807.  Here starts the rehabilitation of the town and the look you see today in many of its facades takes you back to Italy.

There are many things to see here but with our time , we visited the Castle, Church of Notre Dame, and the Halles or covered market. We later came back for more so see the posts and pictures in my blog.

The Castle of Clisson was part of the family of Clisson (lords) since the 12C and by the 15C was a strategic point in the borders with the Dukedom of Brittany.  From a wooden castle it became a stone castle ; it was part of Olivier V de Clisson ,then the last Duke of Brittany , François II is very attached to the castle where he marries Marguerite de Foix ; Anne de Bretagne  was their first and heritage daughter!! From 1807 it belongs to Lemot until his death in 1827, the castle stays in ruins until finally purchase by the regional council in 1962; it is still in renovation but very slow, never got back after been ransacked and burned during the French revolution. The castle has a 3€ admission and several divided hours and months such as closed in January, opens 14h to 17h30 in February, March, and April every day except Tuesdays; 10h30 to 18h every day on May and June ; 10h30 to 18h in July, August every day. 10h30 to 18h in September every day. 14h to 17h30 October, November, and December every day; all day closing on November 1st and 11th as well as December 25th and 31st.

The Church of Notre Dame has a beautiful façade inspired on the Gesu of Rome. At Place Notre Dame. Built at the same spot as the old Collegiale Church burned at the French revolution. The new Church is from the 19C following Italian design. It has a Tuscan bell tower with a huge wonderful fresco painting of 1930. You have two wonderful Chapels of the Christ and Virgin: and can get nice views over the city such as the Castle ,  the terrace of the Hotel  Best Western Villa St Antoine,the viaduct, the terrace of the mansion Villa Lemot, and the bridge or pont de Nid d’Oie. worth a detour indeed.

Then, you can see the Les Halles or covered market ,there is renovation ongoing but a very nice place right in center town. They were built in the 15C on orders of Duke François II of Brittany. It served as refuge for combat troops of both sides in the wars of the Vendée and were restored on many occasions. They extend from the rue Saint Jacques to the Place Notre Dame, and still house today the nice market held on Tuesdays and Fridays. Renovations are done. More info on the markets from the city of Clisson here: http://www.mairie-clisson.fr/infos-pratiques/marches/

However, the main reason we came is to take a closer look of the muscadet wines famous in the vineyards Nantaise or Nantes. It all started with five winemakers who decided to share their enthusiasm for the wines of the region and do events of wine tastings coupled with local products. So this weekend they hold Soif des vins et de Savoirs or thirst of wines and knowledge. For this we headed for the Domaine du Grand Air at Bourginal a village of Clisson.  There was sparkling and red wines from the region as well as Sauvignon, and Pinot noir, and Chardonnay etc wines.

The association and their partners with contact info at the Domaine du Grand Air webpage: http://www.domainedugrandair.fr/association.php

The winemaker of the Domaine du Grand Air, you can see pictures of their work: http://www.domainedugrandair.fr/photos.php

Very friendly nice farming area, and it shows the love of their trade. We came home with a case of white wines mix, pure grape jelly done on premises; foie gras from the Poitiers area, chocolates, macaroons and more from the region, including the famous gateau Nantais or cake. Here is the recipe in English from the tourist office of Nanteshttps://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/food-and-wine/gateau-nantais

We just ate all kinds of goodies in the event from foie gras to cheeses to sweets in addition to the wines of all sorts that were  full no need to stop to eat on the road, just headed back home a bit late.  And passing over on the road N149 to Clisson we passed by the vineyards of Mouzillon and saw a very nice Church Saint Martin

The tourist webpage of the vineyards of Nantes on Clissonhttps://www.visitnantesvineyard.com/the-destination/you-wont-stop-loving-it/a-touch-of-italy/

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 tourist office on Clisson in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/clisson-ville-italienne/

In all a wonderful day and time , very heavy on time but heck we will be back, so much to see , we have our works cut out to see it all in our lifetime. France is a feast or a mouvable feast at that! At the time of the original post it was chilly with lows of -1C and now 9C (about 44F)at mid day, sunny bright wintery day, and no rain!  Paris at 45F  and cloudy wind-chill at 40F .

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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