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Published: September 12th 2013
A tour of medieval villages of
It had to happen at some stage and this morning we woke to the sound of thunder in the distance and some flashes of lightening along with steady light rain. And the warm temperatures of the past days have gone, replaced by a much cooler feel as we opened the windows to see what the people of the village were up to.Actually, they weren’t up to anything and like us had stayed in bed.
We had a late breakfast and a very relaxed morning reading and catching up on some administration as the weather outside started to improve.
Then as we planned to head off for a drive to some local villages and sightseeing the light rain came back again and so we postponed heading out until after lunch.
The cloud level lifted and the rain had stopped by the time we finished lunch and we headed off to the village of Rochechouart which was established as a fortified village in the 11th
century and had some history of meteorites being found in the area.
We parked at the bottom of the village which was located on a small hillside
with the idea of looking for a bridge built in gothic style that should have been nearby according to a directional sign.
We never found a gothic looking bridge but we couldn’t miss the imposing chateau atop the cliff overlooking the valley built in the 13th
It was a lovely village whose buildings had not had a lot of renovation over the years and we enjoyed a stroll around with the locals looking quizzingly at us. Perhaps they don’t see a lot of visitors other than for the chateau. We usually like to go inside the local church to check out the interior and stained glass but we couldn’t do that here as there was a funeral in progress. So we admired the unusual twisted spire of the church without being to read the history of it inside the church.
We returned to the car and drove on towards Cheronnac noting from a tourist road sign that we were following in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart who travelled through this part of France on his way to the crusades he fought in. Today with a sealed road our travel was relatively simple through the heavily
forested areas but we wondered just how those crusaders got on 1000 years ago when we guess forest would have covered the whole area.
Just outside Cheronnac at the hamlet of Peyrassoulat we were looking for a small grove of two types of trees that had had a very long life. We had been directed to the location by a brochure that was back in the apartment.
We located the path and set off down a track coming to a partial clearing where there were ruins of a building. Opposite were the two very old specimens of a plane and a yew tree. The plane tree was about 60 metres tall and was about 250 years old. Unlike most plane trees that get pruned every year this one had been allowed to just grow, The yew, which is a tree you usually see trimmed into a conical shape had spread out over a huge area with a really gnarly trunk. The yew was about 500 years old and truly quite remarkable.
Our last site to visit was a medieval church at Les Salles Lavauguyon just nearby to the old trees. The church was started in 1075 and
had the original sloping floor so that the congregation really did look up to the minister. The main attraction in the church though was the remains of 850 year old frescoes which had been discovered in 1986 while some renovations were being done. They remain amongst the oldest frescoes still in existence in France.
With the light starting to fade because heavier cloud was rolling in again we headed back home again following the Richard the Lionheart route.
It had been an interesting drive with some rather unique sights and we hadn’t had to travel all that far to achieve it.
Tomorrow we pack up and head off for the middle of the country and a farm cottage for 4 nights.
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