Sunday, 30 September 2012

Church on Sunday - Villaines-les-Rochers

 The church St. André in the village of Villaines-les-Rochers,  is not very attractive from the outside due to alterations over the centuries but inside is quite surprising!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Still going strong...not!

Spotted this fellow on a recent visit to Tours,oddly enough outside the 'Irish Shop'. For those of you who don't know, he is none other than Johnnie Walker an iconic symbol of the Scottish whisky manufacturer who started production in my home town of Kilmarnock during the19th century. The company started by the said J.W. continued to produce and export its popular brands until its current owners,'Diagio', decided to close the plant in March this year after 192 years, with the loss of 700 jobs. Wonder if the people of Kilmarnock will demand a change to the company slogan, 'Born 1820 - still going strong'.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Lamp post...

Driving around our region's towns and villages we are often impressed with the range of lighting and lamp posts on offer. Here in Barrou we had a chance to replace our old concrete lamp posts last year when our main street was given an overhaul.

Our mairie  chose these...

perfectly functional and not unattractive...although a stroll along  Rue de la Mairie can be enlightening!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

B(l)og roll...

We said goodbye to our final guests at 'Le Bourg' last week and our final guests of the season arrive at 'Les Balcons' on Saturday. One of the things we look forward to is the simple luxury of a full toilet roll! We supply this simple item for guests and take away what's left on 'changeover' days. Its a small thing we know and they are only full for a short time but they are so much easier to store!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Stepping out...

                                      Traditional dancing at the 'Milk Fair' at Liguel on Sunday.

Loved the hat doffing though thought last year's more entertaining

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Here comes...

'The Hurdy Gurdy man'...

Part of Sunday's entertainment at Legueil...charming.

You can listen to a sample of it here...

Monday, 24 September 2012

Milk fair at Ligueil...

We visited the 'Milk Fair' at Ligueil yesterday but struggled to find much in the way of 'lait' around. It was basically a large brocante with the advantage of the decorations left up from the 'Comice Agricole' - which is the annual fete which one of 6 villages in the local commune take their turn to present.

This was the main feature of the fete - try to contain your excitement!
A pleasant afternoon nonetheless.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Church on Sunday...Azay-le-Rideau

The church in Azay-le-Rideau plays second fiddle to its illustrious neighbour (the chateau) but is still worth a visit when you are in the town. Dedicated to Saint Synphorien (?) the church, which has been a protected monument since 1908, is not the most attractive of buildings, with its façade displaying a mixture of styles that appear to be at odds with each other.

There has been an attempt to modify the earlier14th  century part of the church to blend in with the later 16th century addition which works by if showing the scars of time.

To get its best view you have to wander around to the entrance of the chateau and pear over the hedge but even here it is still a bit of a mismatch.

 Inside the church is pretty enough with its two naves blending slightly better internally than externally, although still displaying their individual Romanesque and Gothic styles.   

Around the alter the are the remnants of very early  frescos.

Its windows are a mixture of old and new(er) with some of them having to be replaced fron WWII war damage.

Where's Joan...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Why here?..

When we visited Vic-sur-Gartempe last Sunday I took the opportunity to have a look around the church - it is currently going through a renovation programme and to get a photograph of the rear I had to wander behind what seemed like someone's garden to get a view. The building is between the church and a car park with an open outlook to the church. When walking back to the car we noticed the house had a very good stone model of chateau de Chenonceau under the window. Have no idea why it's there but we were impressed.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Expect the unexpected...

One of the things we have learned about living here in the Loire Valley is to expect the unexpected. An example of this was experienced last week when we were invited to one of our French neighbours for an aperitif. In his garage was this 'zebra' Citroen - now, as it happens he has a new posting with his company to Africa for four years but this has no bearing on his colour choice,no, it was "just for fun".

Interestingly in was painted by an English artist from the nearby village of Chaumussay. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Patrimoine day 2012 part 2...

Our second visit on Sunday was a return to the village of Vicq-sur-Gartempe and to the delightful 'La Villa-des-Iles' where we visited last year.We returned as Liz and Mike had not been there.

 This year it was playing host to 'Authors of Poitou-Charentes', though it was a little lost on us.

We had a little refreshment while we were in the garden and a few verses of 'Old MacDonald' from the happy lady who served us -honest!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Patrimoine day 2012...

As well as the brocante at La Roche Posay, this weekend offered the annual opportunity to visit places that here in France would normally be closed to visitors. This goes under the heading of  'Journées du Patrimoine'. Unfortunately,or perhaps I should say fortunately, we had a 'changeover' on Saturday at 'Le Bourg' (as well as Friday at 'Les Balcons') so it meant we were only free on the Sunday.
With friends Mike and Liz we headed 'over the border' into 'La Vienne' our neighbouring départment as a private chateau that had intrigued us was to open its doors.

We had driven past 'Chateau de la Vervollére' many times and I had stopped and photographed it a few times but the idea of getting a look inside was quite exciting - 'see how the other half live' so to speak.

It was not to be as interesting as we'd hoped as although we got up close and were able to circle the castle we had limited access. This perhaps should not have surprised us as it is, after all, a private 'house' and what we were allowed to see were the parts of the castle that most probably had had the support of 'Historic Monument' umbrella with regards to preservation and restoration.

After the charming owner had us under a hot sun for half an hour giving a potted history of the area and chateau (it was once home to members of  Cardinal Richelieu's family) we were lead into the small main courtyard.

  From here we were allowed to explore the tower and the chapel.

The lower part of the tower housed some interesting artefacts... 

...but it was climbing the stairs to the top that made the tower even more interesting.

The roof structure was a joy and the views from the openings made the climb worthwhile.

The chapel was small but boasted a 15th century fresco of which Monsieur was mightily proud of..

We left wishing we had seen more but were glad we took the time to visit - even though we didn't get to see their pool!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Video killed...

Radios for sale at Sunday's brocante at La Roche Posay racecourse...

...what a difference from last year's rather wet and dismal day.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Church on Sunday...Monts

The church of Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens  in the village of Monts on first glance appears quite innocuous, if not unattractive. It is a design that is repeated by degrees throughout Indre et Loire because of the influence and designs of busy19th century architect Gustave Guérin.

The church, like most others in the region, sits on the site of its 12th century predecessor (1114) of which very little remains.

There is a very impressive fresco depicting  the last judgement in the centre of the nave...

...and a restored earlier fresco on the ceiling of the apse.

There is also a very ornate side chapel... all in all, a church full of surprises.

Where's Joan ?...

If you are visiting Chateau Cande  its worth popping into the village for lunch and visitnig the church.