With a chance to avoid the motorways this time. The route bleue (N7) and the wine territories have a much greater appeal. It does take a lot longer – but we wandered through dozens of timeless hamlets and past some extraordinary buildings tucked away in la France Profonde. (And yes, the sat. nav. can’t always cope and I did get us just a little bit lost…)
An overnight stay in Chateaudun (a town with medieval buildings that we are always keen to revisit, although we sometimes feel we should explore more adventurously) and an early morning visit to the chateau – perfect, we were the only people in the whole place, apart from a young woman energetically hoovering the ancient stone floor of the Sainte Chapelle – what a job!
I think this is the most northerly of the Loire castles (so the first you get to driving down from Paris) and it seems to be less well known to tourists. Definitely worth a trip though. There is an interesting connection to Joan of Arc. The buildings are from the 12th to the 16th century – and too close up for me to get in a single shot!
There are tapestries and furniture:
Architectural details, linenfold and – always my favourite – FIREPLACES!
But, as usual, what really caught my eye was the play of light, angles and exciting intersections:
This one gave me a shock – no idea I had taken it, but it is my ghostly shadow sneaking its way in!
The rather magnificent piece of furniture (see other picture below) is a cope chest – obviously, you don’t want to get your copes in a twist! I was told that it is certainly medieval, probably as early as the 13th century and, apparently, one of only seven surviving. I have seen a similar chest in Wells and another in York Minster but I think this Salisbury one is my favourite. Anyone know where the other four are lurking?
Yes, the colour that I need to include in every dyeing session is BLUE – all shades from aquas to violet purples and real indigo – someone will buy it!
But over 150 miles west, along the rather amazing Jurassic coast, just over the border into East Devon. We spent a week there last month, in a pretty little fishing village called Beer. Apparently the name is not derived from the drink but is an Old English word which has something to do with forests.
I realise that I much prefer to visit these places out of season. Then you get a real sense of community, as well as, in this case, a lingering nostalgia for the days of smuggling, stone quarrying and lace making (the locals claim that Honiton was merely the marketplace for their own labour – all the famous lace was actually made in their village of course….!)
By sneaky detours we scored two cathedrals en route:
Exeter, with its fabulous fan vaulting
and Salisbury, just before the recent dramas
Any idea what this is ? I had to ask. Obvious once you know though….
I’d better answer a few questions next time! But it might have to wait – I’m off on my travels again tomorrow. Rural France, probably very dodgy internet, so may be some while…. Have a good Easter.