Travel log Maigret's journeys in France
M.Gallet, décédé
Paray-le-Frésil - Châteauneuf-sur-Loire - Sancerre - 2 - Arpajon / Avrainville - Dizy - Givet - Vichy - Meung-sur-Loire - Ingrannes - Poissy/Orgeval - Nemours/Glandelles - St.-Fargeau - Le-Coudray-Montceaux - Morsang-sur-Seine - Jeumont
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Sancerre Cher(18) - Val de Loire
The town of Sancerre is a remarkable landmark. The hill on which it is situated rises up from the landscape as an old solitary mini-volcano (which it isn't, it is only an accidental geological elevation). Properly speaking I should say the "city" of Sancerre because, although there are less than 2.000 inhabitants, it was granted a city charter in medieval times. These rights are still applicable to-day.

Escutcheon of the city of Sancerre Sancerre at the top of the hill surrounded by vineyards
Sancerre and the surrounding scenery is protected under national and European preservation laws. Therefore no industry, large scale chain stores or landscape polluting activities are allowed. As a result of these decrees the outlook of the surroundings is untainted and the town itself breaths a rustic, almost medieval atmosphere. Of course during holidays and in summer these characteristics bring along a lot of tourism and fills the streets with sauntering day trippers.
Some history
In the analysis of M.Gallet, décédé I explain that actually not Sancerre but the hamlet of Saint-Thibault figures as the background for this Maigret story.
Historical street in the center of Sancerre
As a matter of fact, it is historically ascertained that this modest hamlet in reality forms the origin for the construction of the town of Sancerre.
Saint-Thibault was already a not insignificant defensive and commercial settlement in the Gallo-Roman period (1st century A.D.), probably much more important than it is to-day.
Pulling back from the banks of the Loire, probably because of floods, in the 5th century A.D. some reinforced structures were set up on the site where to-day the village of Saint-Satur is to be found.
Eventually, in the 8 or 9th century the first fortification was constructed on the top of the hill. Around this fortress the city of Sancerre was established. All this makes Saint-Thibault about 800 years older than Sancerre.
Old engraving of the city of Sancerre. This print shows a view as it was seen from the Loire river at Saint-Thibault. In the foreground, a little to the right, the village of Saint-Satur, behind the town and the fortification.
Region of supreme delights - the wines
On account of the curtailing laws tourism and producing wine are the only sources of income for the area.
The region of Sancerre is world wide known for his excellent white wines. Wines that Maigret savors plentiful in M.Gallet, décédé. The all landscape is covered by vineyards. The endless rows of vine tendrils produce a wine that is famous for his incomparable intensity and finesse. The typical "smoky" flavor of the Sauvignon grape that is grown in this area, together with a part Pinot Noir grapes, characterizes the taste of the Sancerre wines.
Vineyards on the hill slopes around Sancerre
The delicious red Sancerre wine
Sancerre is identified with white wine. But, there is also a red Sancerre. It is much less known and even difficult to get outside of France. On the 2500 ha (6000 acres) of the local vineyards 125.000 hectoliters (3,302,000 gal) of white wine are produced and only 30.000 hl (792,500 gal) of red wine.
Sancerre wines, a supreme delight
But take this advise from a practiced wine votary: the red Sancerre's are worth looking for. The wine is light but intense, delicately fruity and mature in a sort of frivol way. Drink this red wine cooled like white wine (12°C or 53°F) with sushi, a salad or chicken, delicious !!!
Vine tendrils, everywhere you look
Go to Sancerre - 2
Paray-le-Frésil - Châteauneuf-sur-Loire - Sancerre - 2 - Arpajon / Avrainville - Givet - Meung-sur-Loire - Ingrannes - Poissy/Orgeval - Nemours/Glandelles - St.-Fargeau - Le-Coudray-Montceaux - Morsang-sur-Seine - Vichy - Dizy - Jeumont
Home Page - summary of works - Travel log (main page)