Last Monday’s EU AUSTERITY DRINKING TOUR took us to the vines of Vertou in the heart of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine (see post: here).
Today we travel further up the Sèvre River to the Southeast edge of wine making in Muscadet: Clisson.
We leave futurist Nantes late. Our hangovers slow us down. So we buy new floss, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. No greater joy exists for the traveler than fresh toiletries.
Our train stretches through 30 minutes of vineyards and villages. The river basin turns into hills. And we arrive at Clisson.
A meander through sleepy medieval streets finds a 15th century, covered market. Then the 13th century stronghold :
But it’s lunchtime. And it’s France. The castle and wine tasting room are closed. So we save them for later and explore the village.
Oh, and we find pastries.
The wide, brown Sèvre provides fantastic views of epic ruins.
And the carbon copy Church of Assisi:
A further walk finds an ancient temple peaking from the hills and terracotta roofs:
Then we get lost in the Italianate grounds of a villa:
Amidst the temples, portici, gardens, sculptures, cypruses and Italian restaurants, we start to realize something:
Clisson is Italy: just a bit grayer, wetter, and French-er.
After hiding from the rain in the bell-tower of a Franciscan church, we get our castle on.
Like 19th century Romantics, we imagine faded glories. Here local Brittany lords fended off becoming part of France for centuries until the Revolution broke them.
Nostalgia for Scotland’s castles, now two months past, seeps in. But we remember this is France. This is wine country. Time to get out of the cold. Time for Clisson’s tasting room.
But the bottles were closed. Rain seems to have washed away Clisson’s customer service skills.
Unfazed, we leave. A romp through more vineyards would just get us wetter and colder. We leave Clisson already charmed by its history, colorful homes, and quirky desire to be Italian.
Worry not. Wine finds us next Monday.
- Nantes, Muscadet, and the vines of Sevre et Maine: EU Austerity Drinking Tour 48 (waywardwine.com)
- The Story of Jeanne de Clisson the Badass Female Pirate (factfiend.com)
- TRAVEL: Reap of Muscadet (intoxicatingprose.com)
- Pierre-Luc Bouchard Muscadet Sevre Et Maine 2011 wine review by (PB) (winecask.blogspot.com)
Looks near to flooding, no dikes to save all of that beauty and history. Wonder how ancient is the temple & if locals use ancient techniques for processing grapes?
The River was insanely full that day. Every at river level is set on struts or arches probably to avoid ruination. The Roman/Greek antiquity of Clisson is all 19th century reinvention.