Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

NonRant: Plus Ça Change...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

No ADSL - again... and our telephone has only just been connected. This, despite having informed France Telecom weeks ago that we were moving; and tomorrow we go to the Mairie (the Town Hall) - at the Mayor's invitation - to officially gripe about France Telecom's lassitude.

Still, there are compensations. Our tower (we now live in a tower) is part of a 15th century chateau - which is built on the site of a 12th century chateau.

The term 'chateau' is far more flexible in French than its English transliteration. To me, the word chateau implies one of two things:

  • if prior to the mid-18th century, a fortified castle;
  • if after the mid-18th century, a 'belle epoque' style mansion house.

So anyhow... the 12th century ruin is certainly the remains of the keep of a genuine, honest-to-goodness 'raise the portcullis, the Franks are coming' castle. It is now home to the chickens, and Blanchette the goat is put there at night - and the swans live in the moat which surrounds it.

The main house is more like an Italian villa - 3-story, long stone buildings with terracotta roof tiles, facing onto a courtyard with a little lake at one end. nice, but not very 'castle-y'. I don't think they had such a thing as a gentilhommiere in the 15th centuiry, but this would have been the equivalent.

Par contre, our tower is built in a very imposing style, very similar to the towers at, say, Azay-le-Rideau. It has a square footprint (and a moat - now empty) and has one of those circular turrets which houses the spiral staircase.

Here's a visual - I think you will be able to work out which bit is the tower. Nice, but not over the top. the next place we move to will be over the top, I promise.

And here's a close-up of our bit - taken from the courtyard rather from our part of the gardens (our gardens are about an acre and a half, in the top left of the aerial shot). Frankly, I don't think that the photo does the place justice.

I'll give you a hint about the interior (will post photos later)... I am going to try and get a law passed which makes it a death-penalty office to become a politician if you're not taller than our downstairs fireplace - that would eliminate 99.5% of all politicians right there. (hint 2: the fireplace is taller than I am, and is carved from one piece of stone.)