The Touraine: host to the world’s first solar powered home…..in1864!

no 4The next time you are in the city of Tono 4 plaqueurs take a trip along the rue Bernard Palissy and stop outside of number 4. There you will see an old stone plaque on the facade of a house: “A. Mouchot construisit dans cette maison de 1864 à 1866 le premier appareil pour l’utilisation de la chaleur solaire “ or “A. Mouchot built in this house from 1864 to 1866 the first device to use solar heat.”
Augustin Mouchot

So, who was Augustin Mouchot? Augustin became a Bachelor of Science in 1850 and gained his degree in mathematics-science two years later. On September 15, 1853, he was appointed assistant professor of pure and applied mathematics at the Imperial School of Alençon in Normandy and it was during his time at Alencon that he became interested in solar energy. Building upon the work of Claude Pouillet (1790-1868) Mouchot made a “solar furnace” that allowed him “to use the sun to make an excellent stew, consisting of a kilogram of beef and mixed vegetables.” On March 4, 1861, he filed a patent on the use of solar energy by the process called “héliopompe” (1) for heating the water from the sun. The principle is based on the concentration of solar radiation through a tapered funnel.

As he wished to live close to his elderly father he transfered from Rennes to Tours and, in October 1864, he was appointed professor of mathematics at Imperial High School (renamed ‘Lycée Descartes’ in 1888). It was during his time at Tours he lived at 4 rue Saint-Étienne (now called 4, rue Bernard Palissy) and is here that he invented the first solar motor with a parabolic reflector and a cylindrical glass boiler feeding a steam engine. He managed to run a pump and two steam engines in 1866: “From the year 1866, I already had two small steam engines running […]. In June 1866, the success has exceeded my expectations, since the same solar receiver was enough to maintain the movement of a second much larger machine than the first.

Solar Generator, 1878

Solar Generator, 1878

Mouchot received financial support from the French Association for the Advancement of Science.  At the end 1869 Mouchot published his major work, Solar heat and industrial applications. The foreword says: “This book covers a new branch of applications that can have the greatest influence on the future of certain countries. Finding a convenient way to collect and use sunlight directly for agriculture and industry in the warmer regions of the globe….There will necessarily come a day when, for lack of fuel, industry will be forced to return to the good work of other natural agents. Deposits of coal and oil will provide for a long time enormous calorific power, we do not doubt. But these deposits will be depleted without a doubt…. One can only conclude that it is prudent and wise not to fall asleep in this regard in false security. ”

Mouchot was hoping to permanently leave his teaching obligations and secure financial support from the French imperial government. But the war of 1870 disrupted his plans and when the city of Tours, bombed December 21, 1870, was occupied by the Prussians in January 1871 the educational premises where he was based was use to house military ambulances. After the fall of the Empire, Mouchot did not abandon its work on solar energy, he conducted himself in the yard of the high school and, searching for alternative funding, turned to the General Council of Indre-et-Loire.  After much discussion, a grant of 1,500 francs was granted and Mouchot built a solar oven and a generator of 2.60 meters in diameter which was installed in Tours and used for experiments in the garden of the Prefecture.

On October 4, 1875 Mouchot exhibited his work to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. The following year, during the ceremony of the Descartes prize in Tours, Pellet, professor of special mathematics, honored Mouchot: “You will not be surprised that a science teacher talking about this invention that this year has shown our school. It is the work of a man of studies, but it has a firm eminently useful purpose “.

By 1876, Mouchot’s was at the hight of his fame. He registered patents, publisheed a book on mathematics, and presented the findings of his work for the encouragement of French industry. Newspapers and journals recounted his essays relateing to the use of solar heat. Thus, in 1876, the Revue des Deux Mondes published a laudatory article “Industrial use of solar heat.” In 1877, the National and Central Agricultural Society of France published a report entitled “Solar and Mouchot“.

In  1876, Mouchot was granted leave from his teaching post to devote himself entirely to his research. With the support of Baron de Watteville, the Director of Science and Letters at the Ministry of Education, Mouchot was provided with a grant of 10,000 francs from the government for a mission in Algeria where he launched into public demonstrations, testing numerous versions of its devices. The Algiers General Council granted him an additional 5,000 francs to build new machines and on March 12, 1878, Mouchot gave a lecture to the military circle of Algiers on the use of solar energy for military purposes.

As a result of his Algerian research Mouchot designed, with the help of Pifre Abel (1852-1928), a young engineer from the Ecole Centrale who became his partner, a “large unit of 20 square meters”. This is the largest ever made solar receiver. The steam produced operated under a constant pressure of about 3 atmospheres, a pump capable of lifting 1,500-2,000 liters of water per hour to a height of two meters. In September 1878, the unit was demonstrated during the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1878. The press reports enthusiastically about this machine while audiences were “impressed and amazed“.

Demonstration of Abel Pifre's solar-powered printing press in Paris, 1882

Demonstration of Abel Pifre’s solar-powered printing press in Paris, 1882

The jury of the Universal Exhibition awarded Mouchot a gold medal. The Ministry of Agriculture and Trade appointed Mouchot, “inventor of the use of solar heat system as a driving force.” He received the Knight of the Legion of Honor on October 20, 1878.

Although Mouchot devices continued to fascinate scientists and general public Mouchot, himself, received diminished government support of just 5,000 francs. Mouchot’s approach was to provide an alternative energy source or a complement to then insufficient coal production for the needs of French industry. But the discovery of new coal deposits in eastern France and the improvement of the rail network that enabled the supply of coal across the country led the government to believe that solar energy is not profitable and stopped financing  Mouchot’s research. Similarly, after the Universal Exhibition of 1878, combustion engines and the massive applications of oil radically changed the industrial landscape.

quote 2Without grants to support his work Mouchot returned to the field of education. For the tercentenary celebrations of René Descartes in Tours in December 1896 Mouchot was appointed member of the Honorary Committee. On 23 December, the President of the Archaeological Society of Touraine paid him tribute “as modest and as passionate about science cultivated for itself, Mr. Mouchot works in solitude reminiscent of the hermitage of Descartes. His mathematical work is the continuation of the work of that which we celebrate. So I am pleased to join in this day, in the same thought, the master of the seventeenth and the nineteenth-century disciple.quote 1

Augustin Mouchot life ended in poverty, he was physically tired and from 1907 received a pension from the Academy of Sciences. Separated from his wife and almost blind, he died poor and anonymous in Paris on October 4, 1912. His funeral was held on October 7 in Saint-Lambert de Vaugirard church and he was buried in the cemetery of Bagneux in southern Paris.

rueOn 23 June 1913, less than a year after his death, the city of Tours gave his name to a street of the district Beaujardin (rue Mouchot – see map right).

Oil and the combustion engine have destroyed the works of Mouchot that have almost fallen into the dustbin of history. However, Augustin Mouchot had a subtle and daring foresight about the future of energy that faces humanity today.

(1) For an example of a modern Fench “héliopompe” click here.

Primary source: Georges-François Pottier, Departmental Archives of Indre-et-Loire,

Posted in 19th Century Touraine, Augustin Mouchot, Electricity generation, Solar Power, Tours | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yet more on old french signs

Hi all, Quite some time back I posted a blog about old signage in the Touraine region. You may be interested in visiting Poitou-Charentes In Photos where the author gives some insights into the history of these ‘ghost signs’; see example below,  Happy surfing, Jim

Dubonnet sign, Mansle

Dubonnet sign, Mansle


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Gaston Monmousseau (1883-1960): trade unionist and political agitator of the Touraine.

Gaston René Léon Monmousseau was born in Luynes on 17th January 1883. He was the son of John and Mary Silvine Monmousseau.

Gaston Monmousseau, 1922

Gaston Monmousseau, 1922

Gaston spent his childhood in Azay-sur-Cher. After leaving school he was apprenticed to a carpenter from Luynes.
After military service, he worked for the state railway in Paris where, as an anarcho-syndicalist, he campaigned amongst the railway workers. In January 1913, he organised an anti-militarist rally in Azay-sur-Cher against “the law of three years” (1). In 1917 Gaston was greatly inspired by the Russian October Revolution. By April 1920, he was Secretary of Propaganda for the Fédération des Cheminots (Federation of Railway Workers), he was arrested for plotting against the state. He was released in February 1921. One wonders if he was present at the 18th Congress of the French United Socialist Party held in Tours on 25 December 1920. See my previous blog entry.

As a member of the anarcho-syndicalist minority of the CGT, Gaston Monmousseau became secretary general of the CGTU, a position he held until 1933.
In December 1922, he represented the CGTU at the International Trade Union Congress in Moscow. In January 1923, having participated in the International Congress, “Imperialism and War”, he organised against the occupation of the Ruhr by French troops, he was imprisoned once again. Monmousseau also participated in the Congress of the Red Trade Union International in Moscow where he met Lenin.
Picture2Turning away from anarcho-syndicalism, he joined the Communist Party in 1925 and became a member of the Central Committee and the Politburo. He was again imprisoned in 1927 following his involvement in the series of strikes directed against the Spanish-French colonialist war in northern Morocco (1920-26). Upon his release from jail, he married Alice Louise Marcelle Legendre at Courçay in the Touraine. Alice was the daughter of a peasant militant anarchist in the region.
In September 1929, as Deputy-member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern (Communist International), he was charged with conspiracy against state security and released in May 1930. In April 1931, he was again imprisoned for 4 months. The April 26, 1936, Monmousseau was elected, on the first ballot (with 17,527 votes out of 31,255) to the Chamber of Deputies to the National Assembly for St. Denis, Paris (1936 was the year of the General Strike in France – a strike that was betrayed by the French Communist Party under direction from Stalin and Co in Moscow. Maurice Thorez, national secretary of the French Communist Party, stated that “one must know how to finish a strike, at the moment that the main points have been obtained.” Thus, the opportunity for strengthening opposition and resistance to European fascism, internal fascists, royalists, Petinists and the like was lost.). At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, and after the dissolution of the French Communist Party, Monmousseau went underground. Convicted in absentia, it is stripped of his parliamentary mandate. His only son died in deportation in Dachau.

I have found no information as to Monmousseau’s role in the French Resistance during World War II. But I imagine he played an active part. By summer 1941 (and the invasion of the Soviet Union) the French Communist Party’s ambiguous position towards resistance changed, and along with propaganda work among the occupation troops, armed struggle became the order of the day. See my previous blog entry.

From 1956 to 1960 he was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. He died July 11, 1960 in the 19th arrondissement, Paris.

(1) If there was a controversy that ignited France during the first half of 1913, it was the law of ‘three years military service’. This law extended conscripted military service by a further year. Announced in March 1913, the law was passed in August, despite strong resistance. It actually caused strong discontent in the working class, but also the peasantry, whose sons will miss working in the fields one more year. The Socialist Party, the CGT and the Anarchist Communist Federation (ACF) were at the forefront of the struggle, and organized several protest rallies in Pre-Saint-Gervais, near Paris, each time attracting nearly 100,000 people. The French state aimed to have 160,000 more men constantly under arms. This was an important step in the militarisation of France at that time, and a precursor to World War I.

Principle source:
Posted in 20th Century, Azay-sur-Cher, French Communist Party, Gaston Monmousseau, Luynes, Transport ~ roal. rail, water, World War I, World War II | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine-making in the Touraine during World War II: a story of Resistance and Resilliance

Over the past 4-5 weeks I’ve been talking with Florence Rowland a researcher for the London-based TV/Film company, Jura Productions. Jura make programmes about wine and were interested in finding out more about wine-making in the Loire Valley during the Second World War and the particular difficulties vintners experienced because of the demarcation line which ran through our region (1940-42).Vichy_France_Map

I had the greatest of pleasure in introducing Florence to local wine producers, especially in the district around Montrichard. Ludivine MARTEAU from Domaine Jacky Marteau above the village of Pouillé in the beautiful Cher Valley and very close to Montrichard was particularly helpful in providing Florence with contacts to local families with memories of the period.

Florence also put me onto the following book, Wine and War; the French, the Wine and WarNazis, and France’s greatest treasure, by Don & Petie Kladstrup (2001). Wine & War  has some fascinating insights into the difficulties experienced by French wine growers during World War II. Below I relate the difficulties winegrowers experienced across France and follow this with a few extracts from the book that relate to the Loire/Touraine region.

Difficulties Experienced by French Winegrowers during World War II

Many of the men who worked the vines and were essential for the harvesting of the grapes found themselves prisoners of war for the entire war period or were later deported to Germany as forced labourers under the Service du Travail Obligatoire regulations.

Chemical fertilisers and insecticides were practically non-existent. All copper, used to make copper sulphate essential in treating the vines, was confiscated and sent to Germany. Wine bottles were also in constant short supply throughout the war period.

German-appointed wine merchants were established in each of the wine-growing regions and they set arbitrary prices for the importation of wine into Germany; French wine growers had little option but to agree with the price that was stated. The Vichy Government in the ‘Free Zone’ (see map above) tried to appease Germany by guaranteeing the German wine supply. This was coupled with a Vichy campaign of ‘healthy living’ and an anti-alcohol campaign, which was in part a reaction to the lower supply of wine (see table below). Certain days were designated ‘alcohol-free’ with bars and restaurants forbidden to serve alcohol on those days. The advertising of alcohol was also forbidden and, for the first time ever, a minimum drinking age limit of 14 years old was introduced. While trying to get people to drink less the Vichy government was also directly appealing to its wine growers to produce more in order to meet the demands of the German market… can imagine the effect this would have on the attitude of French people and vintners!


Vichy France also had to raise taxation to pay for the costs of occupation and so it instated a 20% tax on wine producers and a further 20% hike at the point of sale. This lead to a massive black market in wine as people across France avoided the new 40% tax. The Germans themselves took advantage of the black market and between, July 1924 – February 1943 they bought more than 10 million bottles of wine on the black market.

The Vichy authorities fought against the black market with more and more regulation of the wine trade, the rationing of wine and the abolition of the time-honoured right of wine growers to keep large amounts of wine stocks for tax-free ‘family consumption’.

Stories from Vouvray

Gaston Huet (1910-2002) used the caves of the Loire to hide his stocks of wine and then planted weeds and bushes to mask the entrance. The tale of Gaston Huet of Vouvray is one that runs through the book, Wine & War. Captured at the start of the war Gaston spent five years in a prisoner of war camp. He returned to Vouvray weighing just 100 pounds after losing over a third of his body weight. He saw his seven year old daughter and wept. Then he saw his vinyards and wept again. No pruning had been done, branches were unattended; the neat lines of wired vines were not to be seen. Weeds were everywhere and many vines needed replacing. He retrieved the wines he had so carefully hidden in local caves at the outbreak of war and Gaston went on to became one of France’s greatest winemakers and was Mayor of Vouvray for forty-six years.

Andre Foreau, a Vouvray winemaker and Gaston Huet’s brother-in-law buried his wines under the beans, tomatoes and cabbages of his vegetable garden. “Every day as we tended our vines, we listened for the click of the rifle.” remembered Andre.

Charles Vavasseur

Charles Vavasseur

At the time of the occupation, the Mayor of Vouvray, Charles Vavasseur (1867-1950), also a wine grower, went to a local artist to produce a forged document saying all the wines of Vouvray had been ‘reserved for the Wehrmacht’. When the German troops arrived they were told the only place large enough to hold them were the caves with the ‘reserved’ wines. Vavasseur said that there’d be no guarantee that the troops would be able to resist the wines so the troops were eventually billeted elsewhere.

Prince Philippe Poniatowski buried his best wines in his yard so he could restart his business after the war. Philippe’s grandfather, a successful industrialist, had decided to buy the property when he learned it was in danger of being uprooted, somewhat ironically, to make way for industrial expansion. As is typical in the small-farm wine business, the Poniatowski family fortune shrank during the decades after the war and the vineyard of Clos Baudoin is now owned by François Chidaine.

 Jean-Michel Chevreau of Chançay

Jean-Michel Chevreau, a Loire Valley wine grower from Chançay; a village that lies between Vouvray and Amboise. In 1940 the Germans rarely came through his village. When they did Jean-Michel and his friends would treat the affair rather like a game; sneaking out after dark and siphoning off wine from trains bound for Germany. “We loved being one step ahead of them. Every time they thought they had us, we’d come up with something new.” he said. Chevreau began his personal campaign in July 1940 after German troops that were passing through his village spent the night in his wine cellar. The next day he discovered hundreds of wine bottles were missing. A week or so later Chevreau and some friends went to the railway station near Amboise where the German’s were loading wine onto trains bound for Germany. They then siphoned off the wine, an operation they repeated a number of times over the subsequent weeks. Soon there were reports coming back from Germany complaining of empty barrels. Extra guards were posted at Amboise station and floats were put in the barrels to indicate they were full. Chevreau and company just emptied the barrels and filled them with water.

The German’s knew they had to tackle the issue and soon recruited local people to keep a watch on the wine. They failed to realise that the people the recruited for this duty were the very people who were syphoning off the wine in the first place. Chevreau and others had to go out each night between their village and Amboise and report any incidents. They were also given ‘wooden sticks which we were supposed to poke suspicious objects.’ Authorities in Chevreau’s village of Chancy would stamp their papers noting the time they started their ’patrol’, the papers were then stamped again in Amboise to register when they had finished. “We never did any work,’ Chevreau said. “All we did was calculate the time it would take to walk along the tracks from our village to Amboise; then we’d get on our bikes and go to Amboise and hang around for a while before getting our papers stamped there. Then we rode home.”

But as the war and occupation continued things began to change. Chançay started to experience heavily armed patrols with soldiers who were unpredictable and ruthless. One mistake by a local villager could lead to torture, deportation or death. “We tried to live in the shadows.” recalls Jean-Michel.

 Jean Monmousseaux

Jean Monmousseaux was a winegrower and négociant or wine merchant, of the Touraine. He had served in de Gaulle’s tank regiment. Jean’s son, Armand, said his father always found it hard to accept France’s defeat. Jean became a member of the resistance who joined Combat one of the earliest resistance organisations. He risked his life by hiding weapons, documents and Resistance leaders in his wooden wine casks and then transporting them across the Demarcation Line. It was Jean’s friends who pointed out that his wine barrels were large enough to transport a man inside. While that seemed fine in principle it proved more difficult to carry out in practice. Wine barrels are made to be watertight and both ends are firmly sealed beneath the curved ends of the staves, and each stave was made to fit perfectly with its neighbour. To put someone in a barrel the metal rings have to be removed, the staves carefully dismantled before reconstruction, stave by stave around the person inside. Jean and his cooper made a few trial runs but the whole operation took some two hours. On top of this was the trip to and across the Demarcation Line. Monmousseaux thought it worth the risk and used this means of transporting people, arms and documents for some two years with the German’s never realising what he was doing. Jean’s wife was English and she had no idea of what her husband was up to. He kept it a secret so as not to put her, their family and friends in danger.

I’ll keep you all posted as to when there is a screening of the film being made by Jura….meanwhile for a video-story of the splendid wine-growing Loire region of Saumur during World War II…..just click the image below:

Domaine Guiberteau ~ WWII

Posted in Agricultural labour, Amboise, Chançay, Cher, Demarcation Line, Loire River and Loire Basin, Saumur, Vineyards, Vouvray, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Touraine Flint Tool ~ the stone age predecessor of the Swiss Army Knife?

Hi all,

Local historian and general, all-round good guy, Tim Ford as written an insightful piece comparing a small, local, stone age flint tool found by his wife, Pauline, to today’s modern Swiss Army knife….click here to find out more…

Pauline's descovery

Pauline’s discovery

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Pigeon Post from Tours? The siege of Paris and the use of microdots!

France declared war on Prussia in July of 1870 and so began the Franco-Prussian War, 1870-71 (1).  The south German states, allied with Prussia and the superior organisation and Krupp manufactured artillery pieces of the Prussian and German armies made short work of the French forces. By September the main French army was destroyed at Sedan and Napoleon III himself was captured.  While in Paris the Second Empire was overthrown and replaced by the Third Republic.

Tragically, even though the French armies dissolved, Paris refused to capitulate. For over four months the French capital was surrounded and besieged. The French government was re-established in the city of Tours; the principle city of the Touraine Region on the Loire.

UK General Post Pffice Notice, November 1870.Communication between the Paris and Tours was vital for the functioning of the French State and for the morale of the morale of the Parisian citizens. This issue became particularly pressing with the cutting of overhead telegraph wires by Prussian troops as well as the removal of the ‘secret’ telegraph cable that ran along the bed of the Seine. A number of postmen did succeed in passing through the Prussian lines in the earliest days of the siege but others were captured and shot. Eventually communication with the outside world rested on the use of pigeon carrier post. These pigeons s carried thousands of official and private messages from the officials and citizens under siege.

The pigeons were often taken out of Paris by balloon before being released by their escorting pigeon-fancier as soon as the balloon landed over the Prussian lines. Soon a regular service was in operation, based first with Tours (200k south of Paris – as the pigeon flies) and later based at Poitiers (300k south of Paris). Once in Tours the pigeons were taken to their base after their arrival from Paris and when they had preened themselves, been fed and rested, they were ready for their return journey. To reduce the flight distance back to Paris the pigeons were taken by train as far forward towards the capital as was safe from Prussian intervention. Before release, they were loaded with further dispatches. The first dispatch was dated 27 September and reached

René Dagron

René Dagron

Paris on 1 October. The following month the pigeon courier service was opened to the public. These private dispatches could only be sent when an official dispatch was also being sent, since the latter would have priority. However, the introduction of René Dagron microfilms eased this situation.(2) The Tours government used a micro-photography unit evacuated from Paris prior to the siege, clerks in Tours photographed paper dispatches and compressed them to microfilm, which werUK Government Letter to be dispatched by Carrier Pigeon.e carried by the homing pigeons into Paris. During the four and a half months siege, 150,000 official and 1 million private communications were carried into Paris by this method

The service ended with the last pigeons being released on 3 February 1871. The pigeons that were still alive were now official property and were sold at the Depot du Mobilier de l’Etat. Their value as racing pigeons was reflected by the average price of only 1 franc 50 centimes, but two pigeons, reported to have made three journeys, were purchased by an enthusiast for 26 francs.

In the years that followed the Franco-Prussian War, military forces of the European powers established pigeon sections in their armies and for use by its navies to send inter-ship messages. The developments of wireless communication led to rising pigeon unemployment and never again were pigeons called upon to perform such a service as that which they had maintained during the siege of Paris. Nevertheless, large numbers of birds were still in use at the vast inland fortresses of France, Germany and Russia at the outbreak of World War 1.

(1) In 1870 the Otto von Bismarck ordered the Prussian Army into France. The French Army was driven out of Alsace and Helmuth von Moltke won a comprehensive victory at Sedan. The French armies were surrounded and forced to surrender. In September 1870 the Prussian forces headed for Paris.

Paris was besieged and eventually starved into surrender. By the Treaty of Frankfurt in May 1871, France lost Alsace-Lorraine, Strasburg and the important fortress of Metz to the new Germany, and had to pay an extremely large war indemnity and endure a Prussian army victory parade through the streets of Paris (a scene that was to be repeated during World War II).

The French State wanted revenge for its humiliating defeat, and in particular wanted to regain Alsace-Lorraine. This led to France building up one of the 2 alliance power blocks in Europe from the 1890s, and as a result France was as keen to go to war in 1914.

(2)  For example: one tube sent during January contained 21 microfilms, of which 6 were official despatches and 15 were private, while a later tube contained 16 private despatches and 2 official ones. In order to improve the chances of the despatches successfully reaching Paris, the same despatch was sent by several pigeons, one official despatch being repeated 35 times and the later private despatches were repeated on average 22 times.

Records show that from 7 January to the end, 61 tubes were sent off, containing 246 official and 671 private despatches. The practice was to send off the despatches not only by pigeons of the same release but also of successive releases until Paris signaled the arrival of those dispatches.

When the pigeon reached its particular loft in Paris, its arrival was announced by a bell in the trap in the loft. Immediately, a watchman relieved it of its tube which was taken to the Central Telegraph Office where the content was carefully unpacked and placed between two thin sheets of glass. The photographs are said to have been projected by magic lantern on to a screen where the enlargement could be easily read and written down by a team of clerks. This would certainly be true for the microfilms, but the earlier dispatches on photographic paper were read through microscopes. The transcribed messages were written out on forms and then delivered by hand.

Sources used:
Posted in 19th Century Touraine, Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), Pigeons, Postal Service, Tours | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Domaine Charles Pain ~ excellent Touraine wine from the banks of the Vienne

bannerIn my last blog I described a visit to the home, workshop and boutique of  Cosette FRÉVAL, Remy-sur-Creuse. While we were there Sandra and I were treated to a few glasses of excellent Rosé de Saignée produced by Cosette’s cousin, Charles Pain who lives near Chinon.

Domaine Charles Pain covers more than forty hectares of vineyards located on either side of the banks of the river “La Vienne” east of Chinon, in the communes of Panzoult, Cravant-les-Coteaux, Avon-les-Roches, Theneuil and Ile Bouchard.

Its location between hills and plains allows the use of varied the terraces: low terraces composed of sand and gravel to clay-siliceous high terraces.

Wines from le Domaine Charles Pain

Left: Wines of le Domaine Charles Pain.

The winery, at his farmhouse, de Chezelet. is open every day except Sundays and holidays from 8 am to 12 am and 2pm til 6pm.

I encourage you to visit – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed – let me know your verdict on M.Pain’s wines


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