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.

08 May 2021

Looking closely

We had a technician here yesterday afternoon to tinker with our boiler. It was working enough for us to get some heat since we had fuel delivered Thursday morning, but periodically it would just shut down for no apparent reason. It seems to be working fine now, but we don't know exactly what the techician did to repair it. It doesn't matter, since we have a service contract with the company that installed the thing, for emergencies like these. When the boiler needs repair, we don't have to pay labor charges. We do have to pay for any parts that need replacing. Of course, now the weather has really warmed up and we don't really need heat. We probably won't need heat again until October. Still, on ne sait jamais. There can be cold mornings in late spring and in summertime in this climate, even in July and August.

These are some close-up shots of things that caught my eye at the Château de Carrouges
on some of my visits there.

I was just reading the pamphlet that the staff at Carrouges gives to visitors. It points out that the decision
to build the château out of bricks was made because there was a lot of clay
in the local soil but not much stone for building.

The Ancient Romans used bricks as a building material. Bricks also became popular toward
the end of the middle ages and the begining of the Renaissance in France.

One wing of the Château de Blois was built using brick. The Château du Moulin over near Romorantin,
20 miles east of Saint-Aignan, was built with brick in the late 1400s.

I suppose it was more cost-effective to make bricks and build with them that it would have been
to move loads of stone over long distances — without trucks or railroads.

Lichens like stone. They grow all around us on stone walls, and on tree trunks and limbs too.
They don't seem to grow well on bricks. At least not at Carrouges.

07 May 2021

Le Château de Carrouges — l'escalier d'honneur

Along with the Renaissance-era châtelet d'entrée (on the right in the photo above), one of the most distinctive and impressive features at Carrouges is the château's grand staircase, l'escalier d'honneur, a brick structure that leads from the ground floor up to the ceremonial rooms (including le grand salon) and the main living areas of the château.

One web page I read yesterday says that, originally, the staircase brickwork was « enduit et peint en fausse coupe de briques... » I think that means the brick walls and arches were plastered over, but I don't know what the second part,
« en fausse coupe de briques », means. Maybe CHM knows.

Different sources give different dates concerning when the staircase was built. Some say it's a 16th century feature, others say late 17th century, and still others say early 18th. The name of a 16th century architect named François Gabriel is often mentioned.

It seems that in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Château de Carrouges was being restored after the French government became its owner in 1936, the plaster was all removed to expose the brickwork.

One web page describes it this way: « ...victime du goût des années d'après-guerre pour la "vérité" du matériau,
il a été dépecé lors des travaux de restauration menés au cours des années 1960, faisant ainsi disparaitre
son épiderme originel.

Below there's a longish video about the château and restoration work there. I haven't watched it all yet...

06 May 2021

Life in the moat

The fuel delivery didn't happen yesterday after all. We waited all day, on the lookout for the big tanker truck. No sign of it. The afternoon was fairly warm, and Walt had a fire going in the wood-burnng stove. Now we're running out of wood. We do have a couple of little electric radiators that can help. It's 42ºF outside right now. Meanwhile, I woke to the sound of rain on the roof at about 4 a.m. Bertie the cat just came in soaked. It's supposed to rain all day. Maybe the fuel oil will be delivered this morning.

Here's a short slideshow showing some the animals that were in residence at Carrouges when we were there. That last photo shows our dog Collette at the time. She had traveled with us to the Normandy coast in May 2005. She passed away less than a year later, at the age of 14.

05 May 2021

Le Château de Carrouges — details

These are photos I took in June 2006 when Walt and I visited Carrouges with our friend Sue. We were on our way to Domfront and the Mont Saint-Michel. Walt and I had been to Carrouges in May 2005, and I had been there with CHM in 2001. Practice your French by reading the snippets of text I've inserted, which I "borrowed" from a tourism web site.

Carrouges est d'abord au 14e siècle une place forte de la guerre de Cent Ans (donjon).

Il devient un logis seigneurial au 15e siècle... augmenté au 16e siècle d'un châtelet d'entrée considéré comme le premier témoin de l'architecture de la Renaissance en Normandie.

De nouveau fortifié au temps des guerres de Religion...  sa fonction de demeure de prestige s'affirme par
la construction à la fin du 16e siècle de deux ailes « classiques » et des escaliers
qui les desservent dus à l'architecte François Gabriel.

Les seigneurs de Carrouges reçoivent le roi Louis XI en 1473 puis Catherine de Médicis et sa suite en 1570.

(The church and village of Carrouges are located on a hill just north of the château.)