Well, it really is ALL country around here! We often find ourselves in back of some sort of mysterious farm machinery going between fields.
Sunday we drove north of Angouleme to the small riverfront town of Verteil-sur-Charente. You can walk along the river, and we popped in to see an old mill, which fascinated Larry. As I was outside admiting the view of the Chateau, Larry came out and sternly told me I HAD to go to the bathroom. What, am I three years old? He insisted. I went to the bathroom, and to my hilarity found a window inside giving view to yet another turning mill wheel!
We continued our walk, looking at all the pretty houses (someone is selling a 5-bedroom riverfront house for 250, 000 euros. Who’s in?) Up the the church, there’s a painted sculpture from the 1600’s.
Winding through back roads through fields, we were looking for the medieval cemetery I had seen mentioned from a leaflet from the tourist office. In the one-crossroads village of Ligne, we finally found it, opening the gate and seeing about 50 long rectangular weathered gravestones. Very few still had easily recognizable markings, just a few crosses, battle axes, and swords. It’s interesting that the gravestones were horizontal (we were later to see many others from the 17th and 18th centuries) instead of vertical. Unfortunately, the tiny small church nearby was closed for renovation.
Tusson is a town that still had many Renaissance and older buildings, and has put together an interesting open museum of regional craftsmen leading to a medieval garden. We ate an overpriced Sunday lunch in the restaurant Le Compostelle. Our best course was the enormous slice of foie gras, everything else was less than ordinary (although Larry did like the dessert) We wandered through town, but had to rush to get to the garden we wanted to visit and then on to see the Priory we had wanted to get into yesterday.
The garden on the grounds of a fancy-looking inn, Logis du Portal in Vars, was beautiful. Set along the banks of the river, there were roses along every wall, a huge vegetable garden, long lawns bordered by flowerbeds.
On to the Priory in Ronsenac. We got there a few minutes early, and admired capitals on the next door church and the field of bachelor’s buttons while we waited.
Finally our guide showed up, he was dismayed to find we only had rudimentary French, but soldiered on. To our surprise, he is the owner of the Priory, it has been in his family for many years and he has slowly been restoring it while living inside. He led us through the ruins of the cloister, and up a winding stone stairway to the partially ruined floors above. He’s putting a great deal of money into this place, and judging by the depth of his book collection, is a serious historian.
In the old chapter house,you can see fragments of two 13th century frescoes, one of the expulsion from Eden, the other of a monk. Can you imagine living under this?
Fascinating day. Leftovers for dinner.