This autumn has been one of the wettest I have known here in SW France. The rain has poured from the skies, seemingly unceasingly, while the half-term holidays faltered in puddles and soggy footprints. It has hardly been the best time to house-train a puppy, to say the least.
However, the other day I happened to be nearby in a favourite village when the skies cleared a little to the west and a sun, a real live sun, poked its head out and threw a glorious light on the village’s Romanesque church. I happened to have Roddy’s camera in the car with me as I was trying to photograph a nearby property for a client, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take ten minutes in the afternoon sunshine and share with you a whirlwind walk around its church. I know you all like pictures, some of you like churches, and who is not partial to some sunshine?
We’ll start with the church….
This lovely staid building* dates from the 11th century, with later parts added in the 12th and 16th. It stands proudly in the centre of the village, in what is almost an English layout, complete with a swathe of green and a local hostelry. It is constructed, as is typical of the area, of local sandstone, and the children have often remarked on how the twin arched windows and the small one below them seem to create a church that seems to be surprised with the modern world!
Frivolity aside, it is easy to appreciate from the east how solid and safe it must have been in times of trouble through the centuries
As I pottered around the green, nodding at the odd resident that seemed surprised to see me, I could not help but appreciate how the cluster of buildings around the church green seemed to all touch the building in some way.
There was a definite air of solidarity between the village houses and the colossus in their midst, and for aesthetic purposes I rather think it was most definitely a two-way arrangement
The green itself ebbed and flowed with different shades of colour, and I’ve been here in summer and seen so many people enjoying its grass and shade
And as I walked, I realised that all the roads in the village led into the green, and each of them provided an alternate view to the soul of its inhabitants, each vista reflecting a sense of endurance and longevity. It’s one of the things I have always noted here, and grown to like immensely.
This street leads north west…
And this one leads south east…
While another leads westwards…
And as always, there are the small details that even on a bleak autumn afternoon, can never fail to make me think, and smile. Who would not love an entrance like this to their home?
And who would not want a mimosa at the end of their wall, just starting to come into flower?
If I’d had time, I’d have stopped for a coffee in the bar….
…. before heading home to muddy dogs and hungry children!
…. leaving the village by a newly constructed TINY roundabout by the perfect holiday cottage. Perfect for one, definitely, perhaps for two?
(I may have indulged myself with too many photographs, perhaps, but it was fun at the time! I hope you enjoyed the little tour)
*Church cruciform plan with central steeple. The nave has been diminished by at least half of its length in a later period, but has remained characteristic of the 12th century. The cross under the steeple is vaulted with a dome on the horns. The transepts are those of the Romanesque period but enlarged, including the opening arches of the chapel apsidioles. The choir includes two spans of rib vaults with ogival ribs of the 16th century, with fallout on base. The belfry, reworked, dates from the beginning of the 13th century. [from the Monuments of France]
16 thoughts on “A Break in the Clouds”
It’s always nice to take a quick trip back to France when I’m in the States. 🙂 I completely understand your joy at seeing the sunshine as we saw it rarely during my three weeks and it’s been raining much of the time since I returned (rained in France, not here.) We cherished the one completely clear day when we were in the mountains and relished every hour that it didn’t rain, even if not clear.
Have a blessed week with sunshine!
You write of rain, of bleakness — and yet your scenes are full of light — I think more than Paris is light-infused in your country. You make rain look appealing. And o! le tricoleur! How much I miss it from my year in Provence (87/88) — even wrapped around a pole and maybe even drenched, your flag makes my heart sing. Thank you for bringing me what has always seemed my real country, with your splendid heartfelt blog. Carolyn Foote Edelmann, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing. I am living in a cold, damp and windy country. Your area seems bucolic in comparison.
If only your rain could be re-directed to the bushfires in Australia. Your walks are always lovely, Susan. Hope you are all doing really well.
Beautiful photos! Do you mind if I used some of your photos as references for my watercolor sketches?
What a wonderful trip through this amazing village. Thank you for sharing. There are never too many pictures.
Oh, I always love your photos. And always with a wee wish that I was there seeing those sights in person! Hopefully the rain will ease soon. We had a burst of very hot weather – high 20s – but it has cooled down again. Roll on summer! Best wishes!
I love your reference to a sense of endurance and longevity. It’s a key reason for moving heaven and earth 6 years ago to retire in Nice. Thank-you.
Here, on an island off the north coast of Scotland, we have had a very wet summer. The farmers had a hard time with harvesting their barley because the fields were so wet and tractors were making huge deep tracks in the ground. However, most seem to have managed to some extent. For us retirees it only meant not getting out for walks as often but the fireside is always welcoming. Love your tours and look forward to many more. Many, many thanks!
What a truly beautiful post this is. You’re right with the weather situation but you also have the tremendous gift of seeing the good, the beautiful, the surprising, the tiniest bit of upliftment in every situation – and then make something even more beautiful of it!
I had to scroll up again to find the teeny tiny roundabout – I wonder what they were thinking (if anything at all) about to paint one on this micro road 🙂
I love old churches, often more than new ones – because of their stories they tell, even if we don’t know them, we can feel the ‘special’…. and your kids saw that astounded expression of those old buildings so very well! Loved it.
Are you now also dealing in real estate? Actually, that could really (realY?!) be a future occupation. With your love for old buildings and the capacity of telling stories, I think, anyone would love to buy a property you have detected for anybody interested in buying in your corner of the world. And you would have more and more wonderful, kind and friendly neighbours, because you’d know every one of the ‘buyers’…. Go for it Susan. It’s not that you have anything else to do (;) 😉 ;))
A very nice post and wonderful pictures – definitely not too many.
I have nothing in common with those that think you post too many photos! It lifts my heart to see where you have been.
Thank you again for the lovely pics! I love the old churches & you never take too many pictures!
Wishing you sunny skies soon. It was nearly 80 F on Saturday and snowing and mid-teens today. 😉
Thank you that you stepped out, enjoyed the light and shared it with us. I love those type of moments in rural life.
SOME OF OUR SO CALLED MODERN BUILDINGS HERE IN SANDY SPRINGS, GA, DO NOT LOOK AS MAJESTIC AS THE ONES IN THESE PHOTOS. INSPITE OF LOOKING HISTORICALLY OLD, THERE IS AN APPEARANCE OF WELL GROOMED AND CLEAN. RECENTLY NEW BUILDINGS IN SANDY SPRINGS, GA NOW HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF BEING RUNNED DOWN AND SHABBY.