Saturday, 24 August 2013

Travels if France - Poitou

Friday 23rd August

Chateau d'Eveques
Another travelling day, when we made a slow and enjoyable trip south of Poitiers towards our next stop East of Limoges. We started by visiting the ancient medieval city of Chauvigny, and wandered around the citadel looking at ruins, churches and the like.

There was a rather striking ruined chateau called the Chateau d’Eveques (of bishops) but it was getting very hot so we curtailed the walking around. 

The afternoon took in St Dorat, and we were surprised at the number of British people in quite a small, out of the way place. Lovely old church, mind.

Travels in France - Poitou

Thursday 22nd August

Old town in Poitiers
Today we visit the main city in the Poitou. Poitiers has a resonance being the site of two battles, one a victory for the Franks in the 8th Century, and the other a decisive conflict in the 100 years war in 1356, won by the English. Funnily enough, only one battle is mentioned in the tourist information.

Cathedrale St Pierre
Poitiers is a smallish city, considering its strategic importance and its role as the one-time capital of France, and that is its strong point. Three routes were neatly laid out in coloured paints, and we did two of them, one to the old town (route jaune) and one to the cathedral of St Pierre (route bleu). Each walk was around a mile long which was plenty. There were some lovely old buildings, but we were unfortunate to arrive at the ancient Baptistery de St Jean just into the French lunch hour.

The facade of the Cathedral of St Pierre was pretty amazing and we enjoyed looking at all the little figures painstakingly carved in the stone of the Portico.

Frescoes on ceiling of the Abbey
In the afternoon we went off to see the frescoes in the Abbey of St Savin, which was around 30 miles due East of Poitiers. They depicted scenes from the bible including the stories from the first 5 books of the bible. It was interesting, although the exhibition was only in French, which made it hard work to translate. That was enough for one day and we returned to the Chateau for a lovely evening meal.

Travels in France - Loire valley

Travelling again, but at quite a leisurely pace. We called into Saumur and had a look around, including the old town. The Eglise St Pierre was closed for major works, and as we had seen 2 Chateaux yesterday, we decided that a beer was better. So we pootled off to Chinon for a beer, and a light lunch (assiette de charcuterie for me)and a trip to the Hypermarche for some wine. Then we had a short stop in Loudun, prior to arriving late afternoon at the Chateau du Boise Doucette. It is lovely and relaxing and very quiet. It is around 7 miles from Poitiers.
Sunflowers galore!

Madame is very talkative, but speaks French in a Poitevin accent, that makes Biere sound like Pierre. Talking only french is hard enough without this - I suppose it is like understanding a geordie accent in England. 

The sunflowers are amazing outside. Indeed there seem to be only two regular crops in the Poitou - sunflowers and Maize.