22 December 2018

Deux portes, un pont, et de vieilles pierres

This is what is called a "condemned" door in France — une porte condamnée. I guess we'd say "walled off" or "bricked in" — or blocked off. Of course these are stones, not bricks or blocks. I wonder why it was "condemned"...

I took these photos was back in October, when we were staying in a gîte rural in the Vendée département, out on the Atlantic coast of western France. We had decided to spend the afternoon in the "town" or commune where the gîte was located, and which is called Auchay. Here are some more photos of les vieilles pierres (the old stones) of walls and buildings in the area.

All of France is divided up into communes — which I guess I'd call "townships" — but Auchay is a new one that was formed and named only two years ago. It resulted from the merging of two old communes or villages named Auzay and Chaix. Our gîte was located in a hameau or hamlet called Brillac, which used to be part of Chaix but now is in Auchay.

Usually a commune has a village or town at its center. In the commune where we live, near Saint-Aignan, the built-up area, where the church and mairie (village hall) stand, is called le bourg — the "burg." A village by definition has a church in it. A hamlet, by definition, does not. But in Auchay, there are two churches, one in old Auzay and one in old Chaix. I don't know how unusual that is. (There are two churches in Montrichard, after all.)

We took a walk with the dog around the old village of Auzay one afternoon. Archeological digs have shown that the place has been occupied since prehistoric times. It's on the right bank of the Vendée river, and we were staying on the left bank. The bridge across the Vendée river linking Auzay and Chaix is a Gustave Eiffel structure, but it's certainly not very grand — not like Eiffel's Tower in Paris.

So the bridge is not made of stone. It is not wide enough to allow two cars coming from opposite directions to pass each other, but a lot of people don't want it replaced by a new bridge because of its historical significance. As you can see, the river itself is not very wide.


  1. I would want to keep that bridge also. I enjoy seeing all of the stonework. I saw a lot of stonework in my Kentucky life.


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