Background - Our village
The village of Le Puy Notre Dame is built on the hill of Puy (which comes from the Provençal word "Puech", meaning an isolated hill). It has a lot of amenities all within a few minutes’ walk of our gîtes. These include the boulanger, (bakery), a lovely restaurants and a bar/tabac (bar/post office/newsagent). The village also has a pharmacy, a garage and a hairdresser. A much larger selection of supermarkets, shops, bars and restaurants is available only 10 minutes’ drive away in nearby Doué la Fontaine and Montreuil Bellay. See Food and Drink
This historic village is a charming wine-producing village not far from Saumur. It has a population of around 1,300 and is in a conservation area set in the beautiful countryside of the Regional Loire-Anjou-Touraine Natural Park. It is designated a “Village de Charme”, and a “Petite Cité de Caractère”. The village and its surrounding area are dominated by the massive collegiate church with its imposing stone spire and pinnacles, dating back to the 12th century. Pilgrims have visited the church over the centuries on the road to Santiago de Compostela (Saint Jacques de Compostelle), and to see its ancient relic which is said to be the belt of the Virgin Mary, brought back from Palestine by William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, from the Crusades.
With its ancient, narrow streets, the village has a richness of history and outstanding architecture, including beautiful mansions and many imposing gateways of the 16th and 17th centuries. It also has the remains of the old fortified gates. The ramparts were partly destroyed when Le Puy was occupied by the English in the 14th century during the Hundred Years' War and sacked during the Wars of Religion.
The daily life of the village revolves almost completely around wine and mushroom production. Underneath the village is a mysterious underground world of limestone passages and cellars stretching more than 100 kilometres. Many of these are used for mushroom growing and wine ageing.
In Sanziers on the outskirts of Le Puy Notre Dame you can visit the cave vivante du champignon, (living cave of mushrooms) owned by Jacky Roulleau, and learn more about the production of mushrooms. The tour takes place in the underground 16th century troglodyte cellars (which are 18km in length) and shows you how mushrooms are cultivated. It also tells you a bit about the local history, including life as a 19th century cave dweller and about the geology of the tuffeau (limestone) rocks.
At the end of every July, you can enjoy a weekend’s spectacle of the Grand Prix Retro of Le Puy Notre Dame with vintage cars racing in and around the streets of the village. For competitors and visiting enthusiasts alike, we offer safe and secure parking for your car, as well as facilities for the essential fine tuning needed to get the best from your classic car in racing trim. The village of Le Puy Notre Dame, is well situated to explore the beautiful Loire Valley and beyond, where there are lots of interesting places to visit and activities to do. See Things to do