18 May 2021

Pourquoi Lonlay ?

The village called Lonlay-l'Abbaye is just 10 minutes by car north of the town of Domfront in Lower Normandy.
It's 45 or 50 minutes from the Château de Carrouges. Here's another view of the 11th century Lonlay church.

I wrote these blog posts about Lonlay after reading in a Wikipedia article that the man who had the elegant gateway
(le châtelet d'entrée) at Carrouges built in the early 16th century was Jean le Veneur (b. 1473-d. 1543).
The article also said he was the abbot of the Lonlay abbey church for a certain amount of time.
I had a vague memory that we had stopped in Lonlay on one of our trips to Normandy.
We really had stopped there — in 2006 — and I found the photos.

If you look back at yesterday's full view of the Lonlay abbey, you'll see that I had erased its name on the sign above.
(You can also see that that pot of pink geraniums is not suspended but is sitting on some kind of column.)

Here's a zoomed-in photo of the statuary on the façade of the church's porche.

It's not clear to me what the church looked like before the Second World War, when it suffered damage.
It was subsequently repaired but I don't know how extensively.

I also don't know what it looked like in earlier centuries, and how much it might
have been modified after being damaged in the 16th century Wars of Religion.

I do now know what this is, thanks to one of Kiwi's blog posts. It's a press in a shed on the church grounds.
It's used for mashing apples to make juice for cider, Normandy's favorite drink and fruit.

17 May 2021

Where is this church and what is its name?

This church was founded as a Benedictine abbey in the year 1020 by the lord of a nearby town. It was built
in the 11th century and re-built in the 13th. It's located in a small village of about 1,500 souls.

The nearest town of any size is built on a hilltop that is capped by the ruins of a medieval château fort
that was also built in the 11th century. The château was torn down in 1610 by order of king Henri IV.

The church itself stands in a bucolic valley where two small rivers come together.
It is known for its narthex, a feature rare in churches of the region.

The church suffered damage not only during the 100 Years' War but also during the French wars of religion.
It was again restored and re-built in the late 16th and into the 17th century.

Ownership of the church was granted to the village at the time of the French revolution and various mayors
of the village have organized restoration projects over the decades since.

We didn't see the inside of the church when we were there because we arrived too late. It had closed at 7 p.m.
A pizza truck was parked on the village square but we were staying in a hotel so we went to a restaurant instead.

16 May 2021

Au revoir, Carrouges

It's raining again this morning. Like yesterday morning. Yesterday, though, it was mostly sunny most of the time, with frequent periods of big threatening clouds blowing over, bringing brief downpours of cold rain. Walt said this on his blog a couple of days ago: it feels like we are in a holding pattern. We're waiting for the ground to dry out so that we can plant the vegetable garden. We're waiting for the weather to warm up. We've been waiting for months for the two companies we've contracted with to give us a start date for the work we need to have done in the yard and on the front deck.

Meantime, here's a farewell to the Château de Carrouges — a slideshow finale. This coming Wednesday, May 19, non-essential businesses will be opening up again in France after the latest Covid lockdown. That includes not only cafés and shops but châteaux, museums, and other cultural and tourist attractions. I don't know where I'll go next as far as the blog is concerned. Maybe I'll be able to venture out and take some pictures locally.

There is also some good news on the contractor front. The owner of the landscaping service we hire for hedge trimming and tree removal sent Walt an e-mail yesterday and said he has scheduled our job for late June/early July. There are three trees, maybe four, that need to be taken down before they blow down. Part of one birch already fell and knocked down a section of the fence that keeps the dog in the yard and the deer out. That fence needs repairing so the deer won't come in and feed on our tomato, kale, and zucchini seedlings once we plant them.

We also need to have this overgrown juniper plant dug out. It's 15 to 20 feet (four or five meters) in diameter. Above is a photo from August 2019, when I had been cutting down and pulling out out unwanted plants, including small trees and blackberry brambles, that were growing in it. That was the last trimming work I did on it. It's gotten so big that I can no longer reach invasive plants toward the center of it. It needs to be cut down and then the roots need to be dug out. The work was supposed to be done last December or January, but the lockdowns... Well, you know.



15 May 2021

Lichens, the moat, ducks at Carrouges

Lichens 'cause you like'em, and ducks because they have been a big subject in recent days. Here, the ducks were just moatin' and floatin'. It's raining today in Saint-Aignan, as it has been doing for a week or more now. We're supposed to have frequent rain showers for another week. I don't know when we'll ever get the vegetable garden planted.

P.S. I just went out in my waterproof gardening shoes and walked across the garden plot, which needs another tilling. It was like walking in quicksand. I sank down an inch or two wherever I stepped. It's going to take some time to dry out enough to be workable.

14 May 2021

Des portraits, et la cuisine

I'm winding down my Château de Carrouges series now. Here are a few more photos I took inside the buildings — some portraits of the family that owned the château for generations... centuries... Only one is identified, and that's the first one. His name is Henri Le Veneur, 4e comte des Tillières.

I've spent some time trying to figure out how Henri was related to Jean Le Veneur (b. 1473 d. 1543) — grandson? great-grandson? — who, I think, was the first member the family to own Carrouges and had the châtelet d'entrée built. Jean was a Roman Catholic cardinal, and he was a close ally of king François 1er. He introduced the explorer Jacques Cartier (of French Canadian fame) to the king. The Chabot family also intermarried with the Le Veneurs. Unfortunately, I haven't found any information about Henri Le Veneur.

On another subject entirely, here are three photos of the kitchen in the Château de Carrouges that I took that same day in August 2011.

13 May 2021

Parquet « Versailles » et parquet « Chantilly » à Carrouges

Yesterday I posted a cropped and otherwise processed version of the photo below. It shows some of the flooring in the Château de Carrouges in Normandy. I've seen and walked on such floors in Paris and in other parts of France for decades, without ever thinking or knowing much about them.

It turns out that this style of hardwood flooring is called parquet Chantilly (a château north of Paris). The slats and squares of wood run perpendicular to the frame that they are held in.

Above is another photo of a section of hardwood flooring at Carrouges that I think I took in the same room. That was confusing, but I learned that this style is called parquet Versailles, in which the slats and squares of wood are laid diagonally in the frame.

Here's another photo I took, I believe, the same room at Carrouges. You can see how the Chantilly and Versailles dalles (panels) are laid side by side in a checkerboard fashion.

Then I noticed this photo, taken in the same room, where you can see the two styles. One web page I found calls it le mariage heureux du Versailles et du Chantilly.

This is a photo I found on the web that shows the Chantilly style of parquet flooring.

And this one shows the Versailles style. Who knew? ...or ever really noticed?

12 May 2021

Meubles, murs, tomettes, parquet, plafonds

The heat is on again this morning, and the boiler seems to be running just fine. Today is the second of the three days called les saints de glace, which are May 11, 12, and 13. It's chilly outside, but not near freezing. Yesterday we had what you could call giboulées de mai — cold, windy rainshowers. It's like March. The danger of frost is supposedly over on May 14. Let's hope the weather warms up soon.

Meanwhile, inside the Château de Carrouges in August 2011...

11 May 2021

Carrouges : intérieurs

When we spent an hour or two at the Château de Carrouges, on the southern edge of Normandy near Alençon, we took the guided tour of the interiors. That was my first time inside. Here's some of what I saw.

10 May 2021

Stormy skies over the Château de Carrouges

Soon I might have to rename this blog Spending a lifetime at Carrouges... The day we were there in August 2011, after the horse show at the Haras du Pin, the weather was threatening, but we didn't get soaked. Coincidentally, we had stormy weather and heavy rain overnight, after a very windy Sunday afternoon.

09 May 2021

Six photos du châtelet d'entree à Carrouges, et une vidéo

The gateway (châtelet d'entrée or pavillon d'entrée) at the Château de Carrouges in lower Normandy was built in the late 1400s and early 1600s, so it's more than 500 years old now. Here are six photos I took on two different visist to Carrouges, in June 2006 and again in August 2011.

As I poked around on the internet this morning trying to find more information about Carrouges, I came across this video that you might enjoy. The soundtrack is in French.