Until the 20th century, many people in the Saumur region of France could be found essentially living in a cave. The cave homes were made from rock carved during the quarrying process.
While it became less popular with more modern conveniences, Fair Companies showcases the updated cave home of one man who has found it inexpensive and comfortable to live in a home carved out of rock.
Fair Companies reports:
there are over a thousand miles of underground tunnels and thousands of caves, known as “troglodytes”, homes, hotels, restaurants, museums, wineries, farms (silkworms, mushrooms, snails) and even a disco and a zoo (for nocturnal animals like bats).
What makes this land so perfect for underground dwellings is its very malleable rock. 100 million years ago, this part of France was covered by sea. When the water receded, it left a layer of tufa, or tuffeau, a type of limestone that turned out to be ideal for building castles, churches and homes in the surrounding area during the Middle Ages.
All of this quarrying created lots of tunnels and caves that turned out to be ideal homes, especially for quarrymen.
Watch the footage of Henri Grevellec who bought a condemned cave home in 2000 and has updated it since for his own family:
Grevellec says that homes like this are not expensive to buy but that he has made improvements "here and there" to update it for more modern living. The rock, Grevellec says, keeps the home cool in the summer and mild in the winter. Fair Companies refers to the home as "bioclimatic troglodyte" for this reason.
Fair Companies reports that Grevellec's home is actually six individual cave homes, which he is working to connect or use for other purposes, such as a wine cellar.