Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ROCHEFORT SUR MER



In the 1700's one of the most important military ports in all of Europe, this great city (almost) by the sea is nowadays the unappreciated sister to la Rochelle and even less frequented than Royan to it's south.
I am not sure why that is, but it seems that even it's citizens look with an envious eye to the city in the north. A bigger port, more tourists?


Personally we really like this town. It has an almost miniature Paris feeling to it, with it's main square, pedestrian friendly streets and wide open parks on the outskirts. Along the river Charente are some incredibly impressive buildings and fortifications. Including a giant glass hangar in which The Hermione, a replica of  the famous ship that took the Marquis de La Fayette to America in 1780 to fight in the War of Independence against the British, is being built, mostly by volunteers. 


Here are some images we took today. The main square is being turned into a christmas wonder land including a giant ice skating rink. Funny to see Palm trees covered up with a Pine forest.


GREAT ARCHITECTURE

CHRISTMAS WITH PALM AND PINE TREES

GIANT ICE SKATING RINK IN THE TOWN SQUARE

MONUMENTS

NAVETTE

PEDESTRIAN ZONES


A MASTER BUTCHER  (MAITRE BOUCHER)


POST OFFICE. FULL OF UNDER WORKED CIVIL SERVANTS


A FEEL GOOD TOWN



PATIO SEATING (END OF NOVEMBER)

THIRD FLOOR BALCONY

ARSENAL, PART OF THE NAVY SHIP YARD

LEISURE BOATS

NOT SO MUCH A LEISURE BOAT

CREPES AND FRENCH FRIES

GF BUCKWHEAT WITH NUTELLA

TIME FOR LUNCH

A GOOD DEAL

A VERY GOOD DEAL

FLEURS



DOG AT THE BUTCHER (CAME OUT ALIVE, NO WORRIES)


Saturday, November 26, 2011

CHATEAU DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD

On the way to yet another property we looked at east of Angouleme, we had to drive by Rochefoucauld, a quaint small town with a towering chateau above it all. Since we were early, we decided to take a tour and to be honest, not only was it worth it, it was for all of us, our first french Chateau to visit. An impressive one at that. 


Below an article I copied from a website that describes the Chateau much better than I could, an interesting fact is that by reservation you can book a room at a B&B inside the Chateau.The Rochefoucauld family lives in one large wing of the place, while the other wing is open for tours.


Personally I was very impressed by the condition of the place and of course the flooring and antiques on display. No flash photography, so some images are abit shady, but once the tour guide left us, .........it got a bit better.



Towering above the town of La Rochefoucauld by the River Rardoire in the Charente, the Ch√Ęteau de la Rochefoucauld is an impressive castle, with its original 11th century square keep flanked by Renaissance towers.
It is still the residence of the La Rochefoucauld family,  one of the oldest noble families in France, and has been in almost continuous ownership since it was first built (during the Revolution, some members of the family were killed, while others fled to the United States).
Parts of the ch√Ęteau are open to the public - there is no garden - and highlights include the beautiful 16th century staircase, highly ornate Renaissance detailing in the ceiling and windows, and the courtyard with its Italianate archways. 

These as well as the kitchen, the dungeon and guard rooms can be seen without the need to take the guided tour. 
However, to see the salons, including a small room with  painted wooden panelled walls and ceiling and the libraries with their antique maps and prints, you have to take the tour which is included in the ticket price. The tours occur at regular intervals and English is spoken.
The title of Duke de La Rochefoucauld was a French peerage, one of most famous families of French nobility, whose origins go back to lord Rochefoucauld in Charente (department) of the 10th Century - 11th Century (with official evidence of nobility in 1019). It became Rochefoucauld in the 13th Century.

IMPRESSIVE SET UP

AS SEEN FROM THE VILLAGE BELOW

THE PRIVATE WING, WHERE SOME FAMILY MEMBERS LIVE TO THIS DAY

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

DRAWING ROOM

THE FAMILY PORTRAITS OF RECENT TIMES

FAMILY ARCHIVES, DATING BACK, WAY BACK. SORT OF AN EARLY BLOG

A MUST HAVE FOR ME

 WHERE THE BLOGGER WROTE HIS POSTS

MASSIVE STAIR CASE

THIS ROOM IS CALLED THE BIRD ROOM

FAMILY TREE

ANOTHER SALON, LOVE THE WALL PANELS

MEASURING THE FLOOR FOR ACCURACY??

1 METER BY 1 METER. 

WOULD IT LOOK THAT GOOD IN A HOUSE?

CHINOISERIE

VENETIAN MIRROR

PORTRAIT

MUSIC ROOM

Thursday, November 24, 2011

SAINT SAVINIEN


A lead 



A lead for an interesting, Quay side property got us to visit this river town in the Charente Maritime today.  The townhouse, all 3300 sqft of it, was absolutely gorgeous and the views alone were worth the asking price.
No matter how we sliced it, we just could not find a negative on it at all. The top two floors would be perfect rentals in the middle of town, with a great 800 sqft Patio for guest to relax and watch the river traffic (house boats all summer long) go by, while they eat some good, gluten free food. 

The town itself, home to about 3000 people, is I think, the most beautiful town we have visited so far. Set in the middle of town, on top of a hill is an abbey, which dates back to the 1400's. Bakeries, butchers, all sorts of small business shops, all the important things when choosing a location to live. And have guest staying without being bored to bits.

Another incredible place we found in town is this organic set up of a fruit and vegetable garden. Though it was closed today, my hanging around the gate taking pictures, upset the dog into a barking fit until the owner  came out to see about the noise.
He was in the middle of some important work, but still spent enough time with us, including making us taste his two year barrel aged vinegars. 
His passion for creating a garden of this kind was all apparent, including his ways of observing the sun, moon and earth for perfect times to harvest each vegetable and fruit that he grows with his wife Christine. 
he told me that he even takes the time to talk to the grapes before harvest.
I almost cracked a joke about that, but I could see that he was serious.

Lunch at a small Resto, nothing too much to tell, other than that buffet of sweets that was included in my lunch. All home made, the chocolate mousse was very good.

Now. How do we land this property within our means??




RIGHT ON THE RIVER CHARENTE

THE ABBEY

GREAT VIEWS FROM ALL ANGELS

UP RIVER VIEW

OLD ADVERTISING

MARKET HALL


ANOTHER CHURCH


THE NICEST HOUSE WE'VE SEEN SO FAR


TIME FOR LUNCH

DESSERT BUFFET? I AM IN!

GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PRICE

AN AMAZING SET UP

ALL ORGANIC, FRESH, ALL YEAR

SMALL BATCH VINEGAR, ORGANIC AND EXCELLENT