Along the Loire valley cliffs of soft white limestone have provided building materials to rich and poor alike through the centuries.  The fine grained, easily worked tuffeau stone allowed the builders of chateaux and cathedrals to create smooth masonry and delicately carved details. To ordinary householders a cave carved into the cliff face offered a home that could be extended at will while providing building stone for use or sale.  Tuffeau mining reached its peak in the fifteenth century but still continues in a small way today as troglodyte dwellings are refurbished and extended.  

 

 

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A weekend based in Tours, with cycle trips up and down river, offered many tantalising glimpses of cliff-side dwellings, both modest and grand.  Here’s a small selection of cave and cathedral doorways plus one from the Chateau d’Amboise.

A post for Thursday Doors.  Click on any image to view the gallery.