Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Day in the 12th Century

The medieval city from below (photo by my son, Ben)
One of the first places we visited while in France last summer was the town of Chauvigny in the Vienne department of Poitou-Charente. The medieval part of the town is on a hill, and it contains the ruins of several castles:  "Château des Eveques (‘baronial chateau'), the 'Chateau d'Harcourt', the 'donjon de gouzon', and the chateau de Montleon."

We spent the morning wandering around the narrow passageways. I was surprised to find that some of the houses were still occupied and that garages had been built into what might have once been stables. Adding to the mixture and ancient and modern, the 12th century donjon (great tower) had a rebuilt stairway lit by modern skylights; and we could see the cooling towers of a nuclear plant in the distance. 

Narrow little passageway
People still live inside the castle walls

Small cars can just make it down these narrow passages.
Note the garages to the right, and the old drain that goes down the middle of the pavement
I loved the views out over the old roofs

The Church of St. Pierre

This is a modern sculpture outside the workshop of one of the resident artisans who work on the ongoing preservation and repair of the buildings

This modern sculpture sits on the stairs leading to the castle keep

Amid all the ancient walls and roofs you can see a bit of modern glass skylight

Look closely: In the distance you can spot the twin towers of the nearby Civaux Nuclear Power Plant

Looking down at the small streets and ancient roofs; I couldn't get enough of scenes like these

More roofs in another direction. Interestingly enough, you could hardly tell where the walled city ended and the newer city began, because the styles remained so much the same.


Joyful said...

Very nice! A place I'm sure I would like.

Linda said...

It's a lovely higgledy-piggledy landscape. So nice that it isn't a sterile museum of a town.
France is quite keen on nuclear power - where I lived in the Rhone valley there was a cosy nuclear power station nearby.

Anonymous said...

What gorgeous shots of this old and very charming town.

becky said...

Oh, Clair, you do make me want to travel. Thanks for taking me to places I may not otherwise see. Maybe someday! In the meantime, the land of enchantment is not a bad place to be!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How wonderful -- I'd love to see this , but meantime (or instead) thank you for sharing your views!