There is a unique route of bicycle paths through the beautiful village of Souzay-Champigny, in the Loire region of France.
Traveling through these paths takes you through the village, past lovely cream-colored stone buildings, typical of the region, and into a magical and mysterious medieval tunnel system carved out of the cliffs.
The tunnel system was originally created from quarrying the cream Tuffeau stone, used for the buildings and castles the Loire region is famous for. The quarried caverns provided an inexpensive framework for medieval living spaces and buildings, known as troglodyte houses.
Now, these paths have overgrown ivy draping down over gothic white stone arches and doorways, creating a sense of being in a secret world, peaceful and hidden away under the cliffs. There are various information placards, in French, detailing the uses and historical significance of various chambers and buildings.
Know Before You Go
There are various small troglodyte paths leading through the village so it can be somewhat of a quest to find all of them. To reach the largest series of caves, take the Rue de la Bessiere, beside the 15th-century castle, Château de la Vignole, and follow it until you see a sign that says "Parcours Troglodytique."