And on our continuing saga of my road warrior campaigns in my belle France, I bring you again to the wonderful historically and architecturally stunning Centre Val de Loire region. We went for wine but got a lot more of nice places finally the chance to see them amongst the many unlimited choices we are lucky to have in France. We arrive at Bourgueil!!!

The town of Bourgueil is located in the Indre-et-Loire department 37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. It is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional natural park. The town is located in the Touraine Angevine, formerly the province of Anjou. We arrive here by car of course following the road from St Nicolas de Bourgueil (see post), the D35 road.

Bourgueil city hall and justice palace front side nov21

A bit of history I like

The region of Bourgueil including the domain of the castle of Gizeux and up to Château-la-Vallière was attached in 1790 to the brand new department of Indre-et-Loire under the French revolution, About thirty deputies from the three provinces constituting the generality of Tours: Anjou, Maine and Touraine plan to return territories to Poitou and to subdivide the remaining domain into four departments, around the traditional capitals, Tours, Angers and Le Mans, and around the city of Laval, which would reclaim land from Maine and Anjou. On November 12, 1789, the representatives of Saumur dissociated themselves from this decision. The Saumurois plead in favor of a department of Saumur located at the crossroads of the three provinces of Anjou, Touraine and Poitou, with Loudun for the sharing of powers, Discontent was growing, the population of Bourgueil was demonstrating for its maintenance in Anjou and joins forces with Saumur. On January 14, 1790, the Constituent Assembly of 1789 decreed that “Saumur and the Saumurois will be part of the department of Anjou”. The Constituent Assembly ratifies this structure on June 22, 1790 and the King on June 25, 1790. The Bourgueil region is detached from Saumur and separated from Anjou, to integrate the brand new department of Indre-et-Loire.

Bourgueil is at the heart of the Touraine vineyard on the slopes of the Loire Valley, producing famous red wines which were celebrated by Ronsard, by Rabelais and by Honoré de Balzac in Maître Cornélius, (1831) where Louis XI asks “that we bring him good Bourgueil wine served at the table”. The Bourgueil is a wine with a controlled designation of origin (AOC) since 1937 produced around appellation vineyard covers 7 towns : Restigné, Benais, Ingrandes-de-Touraine, Saint- Patrice, Chouzé-sur-Loire, La Chapelle-sur-Loire and Bourgueil. It was in the 4C that the vines spread under the impetus of Saint Martin and his disciples. When Henri II, Count of Anjou, acceded to the throne of England in 1154, the Angevin vineyard experienced a real boom. The wines of Bourgueil are vinified from the Cabernet franc grape (locally called Breton). Cabernet-Sauvignon can also be used within the limit of 10%. My favorite wines here are from the Domaine Yannick Amirault.

The wines of Bourgueil

And so much wine around us made us hungry and thirsty so the time was right to have lunch in Bourgueil. Mind you this was a Sunday in France,,,,, Even then the first choice was booked full !! so we settle by chance to the Pause Coffee Saveurs Terre bar cafe 12 Rue de Tours. As by chance, we hit it right, super friendly folks talkative we like,  came both owners to the table. We had the typical cafe lunch of steak and fries with a bottle of Benoit Thibault Cuvée Bastien 2019 red Bourgueil of course ! Dessert were panacotta and berries, and a expresso coffee all for 21€ per person, nice, We left continue talking and the meal was correct , nice company we like to be back here for the ambiance, Very helpful with my Dad in wheelchair and our dog Rex !!

Bourgueil Pause Coffee Saveurs Terre front nov21

Bourgueil Pause Coffee Saveurs Terre wine racks to bar nov21

Bourgueil Pause Coffee Saveurs Terre benoit thibault cuvee bastien wine nov21

There are things to see in Bourgueil other than the wineries are the abbey and the church.

The abbey Saint-Pierre de Bourgueil was an important Benedictine abbey, founded in 990 by Emma, ​​countess of Blois, daughter of Thibaud Ier le tricheur or the cheater, count of Blois, In 1156, Henri II Plantagenêt held the Estates General of his provinces there. . In 1208, Pope Innocent III took the abbey under his direct protection. This abbey was once one of the richest in Anjou. This imposing ensemble is famous for its vast gardens sung by Ronsard. The Bourgueil abbey was ruined during the French revolution. In 1801 ,many of the stones were used to build houses in Bourgueil.

Bourgueil Abbaye St Pierre afar nov21

1782 sees the advent of the last abbot of Bourgueil, César-Guillaume de la Luzerne. The times are changing. On the rights of use, a lawsuit opposes the inhabitants of the town to various owners, among others the abbey of Bourgueil from 1781 to 1786. In 1791, he refuses to take the oath to the Civil Constitution of the clergy (revolutionary) and goes into exile in Switzerland, Austria, then to Venice.

Bourgueil Abbaye St Pierre entr cinema visits nov21

Bourgueil Abbaye St Pierre garden nov21

Today, the Abbey Association, thanks to voluntary work, helps to restore and animate the abbey. It offers an annual fair, the sale of handicrafts, the cinema … It is also possible to visit the various monuments as well as the museum. Within the abbey, three groups of buildings still remain: – To the north, the 18C outbuildings and the Tithes barn, To the south, the old 17C castle, currently a religious community ;live and work by the Sisters of Saint- Martin, and the 13C cellar buildings. The church no longer has a steeple.

Bourgueil Abbaye St Pierre front nov21

The characteristic feature of the Church Saint-Germain is that it has a Romanesque nave contrasting with a Gothic choir. The choir was rebuilt in the 13C in the Plantagenêt style. The front door was renovated in the 12C. It is a rectangle whose vaults rest on four monolithic columns. The keystones are decorated with bas-relief and painting. The old 11C nave was rebuilt in 1888. However, the church was recorded as early as 1002 by a papal bull of Pope Sylvester III. 

Bourgueil ch st germain front nov21

Bourgueil ch St Germain altar pulpit nov21

This is a nice church that should be seen more, it is nicely renovated inside and wonderful showcasing of its altars left and right and the main central altar. It has 3 naves and 3 spans ,the keystones of the arches shows figures from the Bible. The belltower is flanked by a clock tower with inside staircase crown by a fish steeple. This steeple was flatten in 1854. 

Bourgueil ch St Germain altar left nov21

Bourgueil ch St Germain altar right nov21

The city of Bourgueil on its heritage

There you go folks, a dandy little town that we enjoy getting to know it as a new dot in my world map. Passing by several times and finally saw it in person, Bourgueil is a nice town and worth the detour, very good wines price/quality ratio here! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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