These residences, caves, workshops, shelters were dug out of the rock by man in the middle ages. The cliff and troglodyte village are the result of multiple occupations which succeeded each other at different periods of history. The cliff is composed of tuffeau, limestone formed 90 million years ago. The rock is easy to cut and sculpt. Despite being flaky, it has been widely used in the area for construction.
It all began with Richard the Lionheart, successor to the English throne, County of Poitou d’Anjou du Maine, the Duchies of Normandy and Aquitaine at the end of the 12th century. He owned half of France at the time. It was a troubled and complex period with local conflicts and tension about the domination of the French kingdom with Philippe Auguste, successor to the rival family, the Capetians. At the time, the royal estate was reduced to the Ile-de-France and Philippe August had allies, such as the Counts of Blois, who owned land bordering on the east of Poitou the Touraine. So Richard had to secure his estate by establishing fortified constructions in strategic locations, such as Saint-Rémi.
In the Middle Ages, it was habitual to create refuges for the population, harvests, stock and arms.
Later the site was repeatedly occupied then abandoned. In the 17th century, families of hemp weavers settled there for many years. They grew hemp in the valley and lived, spun and wove in the humid, temperate caves they dug themselves.
The caves gradually emptied with the decline of the hemp industry, before being abandoned for ever.
Nestled in the cliffs of Saint Rémy-sur-Creuse in the Vienne, Ethni-Cité, a troglodyte village, overlooks the valley of the Creuse. The history echoes with stories of weavers, the Middles Ages and Richard the Lionheart.