Thursday Doors: Chateau de Meillant (1)

After a visit to the restored Cistercian Abbey at Noirlac, feautured last week, we visited Chateau de Meillant, a very grand edifice that has ben in the same family for over 500 years.

How they made it through the French Revolution without an appointment with Madame Guillotine I don’t know, but the current owner lives in one wing, of which this is the main door:

The rest of the house is open to the public and is richly endowed with period features, taking photographs of which is forbidden – not least because they sell more guide-books that way. On the outside, though, there are plenty of Gothic doors to admire:

Behind the chateau is what used to be the servants’ quarters:

and the stable block, which now houses a collection of vintage cars:

Next week more from Chatea de Meillant, including some rather less pristine examples.

Thursday Doors 20 July 2017

Tuesdays of Texture: Moss

This moss-covered stone can be found in the grounds of the impressisive Chateau du Meillant, in central France.

Tuesdays of Texture: Moss

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Steps

Answering the theme of ‘steps’ this week is this dramatic-looking staircase to be found in the twelfth-century church in the nearby village of Saint-Martial-sur-Isop.

Although the ceiling has obviously been renovated,  this steep and winding set of stairs leading up to the roof looks, if not original then pretty old. Not surprisingly, it isn’t open to the public.

More responses to Frank’s latest challenge can be found here: Tuesday Photo Challenge: Steps

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

We live in a very rural part of France, where agriculture remains a crucial element of the local economy.

As most farms remain family businesses, they are typically much smaller than the vast agri-industrial enterprises to be found elsewhere. Modern methods are used, of course (nobody uses a pair of horses for tilling any more, apart from at the annual ploughing competition), but there is still plenty of heritage, in the sense of evidence of the way things used to be done.

In particular, there is the open-air museum of rural life at nearby Montrol-Sénard, which includes this barn, still containing old cattle byres. There were some just like these in our own barn when we bought it, but they were too far gone and disappeared during the restoration process.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

WordPress is marking Earth Day this coming Saturday by taking ‘Earth’ as the subject for this week’s Photo Challenge.

In the same spirit, I’m recycling – in this case, an image from a previous post. Admittedly, though, this also has a lot to do with the fact that I’m travelling this week and so don’t have access to my full photo collection.

This field is no more than a few hundred yards from my house in rural France. It rained quite heavily after the crop was harvested, highlighting the lines drawn by the farmer’s plough.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

Thursday Doors: A Vendre

Something a little different this week…À vendre: For Sale.

Here in rural France there are innumerable properties, both residential and commercial, for sale. Many of these – perhaps even the majority – have been up for sale for many years. And they are, frankly, unsaleable.

When it comes to commercial properties – shops – the economic consequences of improved transport links and the spread of car ownership have left many rural communities with little more than the bare essentials available locally. In our village, for example, there is a boulangerie, a pharmacy, a ‘superette’ and – bizarrely – two hairdressers.

There are also plenty of empty shops optimistically displaying ‘À Vendre’ signs – as they have been for many years, to judge from the distinctly dated style of the shopfronts. Here are a couple of examples:

a-vendre-3

a-vendre-2

Of rather more architectural interest is this failed enterprise – hairdresser, parfumerie and purveyor of fishing supplies. Obviously, nothing worked:

Optimistic

Even large towns are proving incapable of supporting smaller local shops, as these two examples from Confolens illustrate:

 

Normal service will be resumed next week, with some reassuringly knackered doors from the cathedral city of Chartres.

Thursday Doors 29 March 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

Take a ride in the glass lift that’s now inside the bell-tower of the church and you will find yourself atop the medieval town of Sarlat, in the Dordogne, with matchless views over the tops of the old buildings:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop