Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Sign of the time...

When walking around Le Grand Pressigy on Sunday we noticed this sign outside the Hotel  Savoie Villars...

good news is it is re-opening in June. This after a period of closure and uncertainty is great news for the village and our future guests. 
We use to enjoy dining here, though on one of our early experiences there I asked for a glass of port as a digestive and madame asked me if if wished to start my meal again. It's an aperitif here in France!

Monday, 29 April 2013

On a mission...

Yesterday was the brocante at Le Grand Pressigny, we were going anyway as it is always a good place to meet up with friends but we were also on a mission. Friends had asked us to keep our eyes peeled for a child's pram for their grandchild for when she comes over to visit here in France.Luckily we had a few stalls where young entrepreneurs were attempting to turn unwanted toys into cash...

we hope this will suffice. Can't think what anyone who knows us thought we were buying this for. 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Church on Sunday...Saint-Gatien cathedral

Our visit to Tours this week reminded me that I had not actually featured this Loire Valley and Touraine treasure as our 'church on Sunday', so here it is!

Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours, is dedicated to its first bishop. Its construction began in 1170 replacing another cathedral which had been burnt down in 1166 during the conflict between Louis VII of France and Henry II of England (who also ruled over the neighbouring French region of Anjou at the time).

Construction of the cathedral took a while; it was not completed until 1547 so what we have is a building made up styles spanning a number of centuries.

 The predominate style is 'Gothic' with the façade alone grabbing your attention immediately...the detail is amazing

Once inside you cannot fail to be impressed...how did they build these buildings...could we do it now?

The nave.

The choir.

The stained glass windows,many from the 13th century, are are breathtaking...

with contributions from the 'Lobin' factory of Tours.

As you  walk around the cathedral you view various tombs including that of the children of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne.

The north transept contains the St.Martin altar...

and a fabulous rose window.

The south transept  hosts the cathedral organ.

Where's Joan?

Well, here she has her own altar, yet strangely in the guide to the cathedral she doesn't warrant a mention.

The outside of the cathedral is almost as impressive as the interior, with its Gothic windows...                  

and flying buttresses.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Loches & Montresor...

Wednesday's visits took us to Loches, it was market day and then on to beautiful Montresor

We nipped in to have a quick look at the Caravaggio paintings on display within the annex of Saint Antoine Church as we walked around the market.

After the market we headed over to the town's lovely gardens...

always a pleasure.

We ended our visit with a good lunch at 'Le Gerbe d'Or'

After lunch we headed over to Montresor another favourite village of my camera.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Le marché et marche

On Tuesday we took our guests to La Roche Posay market...

 before doing our walk by the river...

and on to the old railway bridge. 

Then a hearty lunch at Les Doves...

before heading down to our camera's favourite place the beautiful Angles sur l'Anglin.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


My brother Billy and his wife Moyra are over for a visit so this week Pauline and I are having a little break after a busy spell preparing for the coming 'season'. It is their first time  in the Loire Valley so we will be doing some 'touristy' things, even though they say that they are here to visit us and are less interested in the great chateaux.

We picked them up from Tours station after a journey that saw them leave their new home in Spain early in the morning to Paris Orly and then by train to us.

We had lunch and then we dragged them round some of the sights...

the glorious Saint-Gatien cathedral...

and Basilica St Martin,before stopping off for a light refreshment in Place Plumereau...

a quick Tours!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Rosie-white blossom

We are having a great spell of spring weather here in Southern Touraine in the Loire Valley, with spring showing its true colours everywhere you look. We have an interesting tree here in Barrou which gives us  two-tone blossom of  pink an white - if they wanted to name the new species 'Rosie - White' after the New Zealand ladies soccer player,Rosemary Eleanor Florence White, would work!

Monday, 22 April 2013

The truth will out...

We joined friends old and new for a soiree in the restaurant here in Barrou on Saturday night. The music was provided by 'No Lies' a group hailing from Nantes. They sang in English and covered songs from a diverse range of artists, the Police, KT Tunstall, Norah Jones,Toto and many more...certainly not the familiar sixties mix we are used to hearing from French bands. A good night was had by all!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Church on Sunday...Saint-Pierre Balesmes in Descartes

The 11th century Saint-Pierre Balesmes is the second of four churches in Descartes and one we had driven past on numerous occasions in the past. So on our most recent 'pass through' we decided to stop and have a look. Imagine our disappointment when we found that it was locked up. As luck would have it a man was passing as we were taking photographs of the outside and I asked him if it was possible to view the inside - he said that it was and in fact his mother had the keys further along the street at her home, Not wishing to miss the chance to view it we headed off in search of the keys and his mother! When she answered the door and we asked if it was possible to view the church she said no. We then let her know we had spoken to her son who said we should come and speak to her,armed with this information she invited us in. Turns out she was a very fit 90 years old and was the church caretaker. After introducing us to her younger sister she said she had to go along anyway to set up for a service that evening so we could save her a walk!.

We entered the church via a side door and not through the rather 'lean-to like' porch that had been added in 18th century

Designed in the style of the Latin cross the interior of the church is very simplistic with a lack of much in the way of adornments. The apse of the church, lit by three pretty stained glass windows in a semicircular arch, is fronted by a very plain altar slab.

The vaulted nave is timber-clad.

There are still some remnants of early frescos within the church plus there is a baptismal font that seemed rather inaccessible.

a nicely carved lectern plus some more stained glass widows but not much else....

certainly no Joan, indeed no statues at all!

 Externally the Romanesque style is a familiar sight here in Touraine.