Finally, Tuesday. Everything reopened, and we were excited to get going. We first drove to the Abbaye De Fontevaud, founded in 11oo A.D. for the newly formed Order of Fontevrault. It was very interesting for a few reasons, the first being that it was a double monastery, housing both nuns and monks for many years. They must have been a very intelligent religious order and always named a woman in charge of the property, an abbess. Over the years the significance of the position grew and was eventually held by women in the Royal family. The religious order dissolved during the French Revolution, and it became a prison until 1963. It was beautiful, and until we saw the condition of the dungeons, I thought I wouldn't have minded being imprisoned there. There is an abundance of limestone in the area, and we had read about limestone caves that people had worked or even lived out of along the river. On our drive along the Loire back towards Saumur, we saw a row of caves with windows and doors. There was a sign for a restaurant and we decided to stop. It turned out to be one of those great unexpected moments that you have when you travel. We lucked out and the restaurant turned out to be a storefront for a huge labyrinth of caves that for centuries had produced mushrooms. There was of course a guided tour and Matt and I eagerly embarked on it. It was bizarre and funny; statues of a caveman and wolves for some reason, but also lots of mushrooms. A third of the caves are still in use to this day. The caves of the Loire produce 80% of France's champignon, or, button mushrooms. We finished the day off with dinner in Saumur, very nice meal. We shared a côte de bœuf and a bottle of wine, what a great day!
solitary confinement, ouch