30 June 2024

L'église Notre-Dame de La Roche-Posay

Of the stained-glass windows in my blog post yesterday, the La Roche-Posay tourist office web site says:

...vitraux modernes, réalisés en 1948 et 1949 par Jacques Le Chevallier, maître verrier,
remplacent ceux détruits pendant les violents combats de juin 1940.

Here are some photos of the fortified church in La Roche Posay, which is called Notre-Dame. The church was built in the 11th century and later fortified during the 100 Years' War, in the 15th century. Thanks again to David G., who identified it for me yesterday.

In 2006, when Charles-Henry and I were driving down to Saint-Savin — where he, his brother, and their mother spent some time during World War II — we spent less than half an hour in Notre-Dame de la Roche-Posay. Our next stop would be at the restaurant above. Charles-Henry shed a few tears when he saw it. He said he had enjoyed many meals there with his mother and brother during their time in Saint-Savin. He and I had a good lunch there together.

29 June 2024

Where were we?

The timestamp on these photos says I took them on the morning of July 26, 2006. The photos just before these show pictures of the town called Le Grand-Pressigny. The photos just after them show pictures of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe. I was out driving around with Charles-Henry, and I think we went to towns called Fontgombault, where there is a well-known abbey, and Mérigny, of which I have no clear memory. Can anybody where I might have seen and photographed these stained-glass windows?

28 June 2024

On the streets of Poitiers

Poitiers is not a town I know well. Walt and I had a funny experience there once, back in 1989. We were driving from Bordeaux toward Paris, sightseeing along the way. We stopped in Royan to see the 20th century church there. The architect who designed the church was a man we had met in Paris. We stopped in the town of Saintes to see the Roman amphitheatre there. We decided to drive on to Poitiers and have dinner. We drove around in the town for an hour or so but we couldn't find a restaurant. So we gave up and spent the night in a motel out on the autoroute. I don't remember if we got dinner at all. The next day, we drove on toward Paris, going through Saint-Aignan (with no clue that we might live here one day), Beaugency, and Chartres, with stops. We were on our way back to San Francisco after a road trip from Grenoble to Bordeaux and on to Paris.

These, by the way, are some photos I took in Poitiers in July 2006 when Charles-Henry and I drove there just to have a quick look around. We used to do that a lot when he would come and stay with us for a week or two in summertime.

27 June 2024

Repairs completed

Our roofing contractor declared his work complete yesterday just before noon. Here's what the dormer looks like now. I was surprised when I looked at it yesterday and realized that the sheet-metal valley liner was not visible at all. I imagined it would be visible, but it's completely covered by the roof tiles. It looks exactly like it looked before. I guess thats a good thing.

Now we'll wait for rain. I'm not going to climb up there; it's just too steep and dangerous. The photo on the left is a close-up of the noue. I took both of these photos about 15 minutes ago.

26 June 2024

Château du Bois-Doucet

I almost forgot about one of the châteaux that Charles-Henry saw and photographed on that July day in 2006. Well, I didn't really forget it. I didn't post it because I couldn't remember what it was called, or where it was located. I figured it out this morning, and here are some photos. It's seven or eight miles west of Chauvigny and the same distance east of Poitiers.

This was the entry gate. The château was open on weekdays in summertime for visits to the grounds and the gardens. Otherwise, it's private. Apparently, there are three gîtes ruraux on the property if you want to spend some quality time there.

Here's a photo that shows Charles-Henry trying to get just the right photo that day.

On the left just above is the main entrance, I think. On the right, you can see the deep but dry moat that surrounds the place. I think that the Château du Bois-Doucet was built in the 17th century.

25 June 2024


The new sheet-metal "valley liners" were put into place around the dormer on our roof yesterday. I made up the term "valley liners" because I don't know the jargon. In French, a valley between two parts of a roof is called une noue (de charpente ou de toiture). Our old noue liners were leaky. Having new metal liners (called zinc or zinguerie in French) installed requires removing a lot of roof tiles and then putting them back in place after the noue liners are nailed to the roof beams. In our case, the job is costing about three thousand dollars for materials and labor.

Today the tiles will be put back on the roof structure. Our hope is that we won't have leaks any more, but we won't know that until it rains again. Can you believe I'm hoping for rain after all the moaning I've done about the excessive amount of rain that has fallen here over the past five or six months? Finally, I have to say that a simple roof would be much better than a complex roof like ours. In other words, no noues is good news...

24 June 2024

Fixing the roof

We are expecting a crew of roofers (couvreurs or "coverers" in French) to show up early this morning. The job they'll do will involve taking tiles off part of the roof of our house, replacing the sheet metal in the "valleys" on either side of the dormer window over the kitchen, and then putting the roof tiles back on. That will, in theory, fix a leak that we've been dealing with for a month or so. Then the roofers will clean out the rain gutters and downspouts on the front and back of the house and to make sure that rain water flows freely when the rains come back.

The roofer says the valleys on either side of the dormer are not wide enough and not deep enough. This isn't the first time we've had leakage. We had a spectacular flood in the kitchen on one June day in 2007. By the way, in French a dormer or dormer window is called une lucarne or, strangely, un chien-assis. Yes, that's "a sitting dog."

Here's what the dormer looks like. The small dormer window is above our kitchen window.

And below is the result of the leaky dormer. It's a stain on a wall up in our loft space.

I was just looking at the Météo60 web site where information about monthly rainfall totals is posted. At the weather station closest to us, which in in Romorantin 15 miles east of Saint-Aignan, I see that we had more than twice the amount of rain in May than we would expect to get (120 millimeters instead of 50). So far in June, we've had nearly 150 millimeters or rainfall and the month is not over yet. That's three times our average rainfall for June. In April, we got about 50 mm, and in March we got about 100 mm.

23 June 2024

Poitiers : l'église Notre-Dame-la-Grande

After our stops at Chauvigny and at the château de Touffou back in July 2006, Charles-Henry and I drove on Poitiers, a town I had only seen once before, briefly (in 1989). The main thing we saw and took pictures of was the church called Notre-Dame-la-Grande. According to the Michelin Green Guide for the Poitu region, it has one of the most famous façades in France, dating back to the 12th century.

The Michelin guide also calls this church shows off la perfection de l'art roman, par son architecture harmonieuse, aux lignes équilibrées.

22 June 2024

Le château de Touffou

This is Touffou, the château near Chauvigny with the lions that I posted about yesterday. The Michelin guide points out that even though Touffou has buildings from four different periods and therefor of four different architectural styles, it forms un ensemble harmonieux that occupies a beautiful site on the left bank of the Vienne river (which flows northwest to Chinon).

The main building was originally two rectangular keeps (towers) built in the 11th and 12th centuries and then connected together early in the 15th. The round towers you see in my 2006 photos here were built in the 14th century. The château's Renaissance wing (on the left) was added in 1560. Since 1966, Touffou has been owned by a British advertising magnate, according to French Wikipédia.

21 June 2024


I think the last time I drove a car was on June 10 — eleven days ago. Walt's been having to do all the shopping and running of errands, because I've avoided getting behind the wheel. That will change today. I'm going to the post office and the supermarket. Exciting, isn't it? It's all because of my eyes. I can't tell if the vision problems are caused by the cataract surgery or pollen allergies. For whatever reason, my eyes have been drowning in tears. Our weather is supposed to change this weekend. Maybe that will help.

I took these photos of lions on the grounds of a château just three miles from the town of Chauvigny, which I blogged about yesterday. The château has existed since the year 1127 and has been modified and enlarged numerous times over the centuries, in different styles. More tomorrow...

20 June 2024

Chauvigny: ruins and rooftops

Chauvigny (pop. 7,000) is a very old town just 10 miles west of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe and 15 miles east of the bigger town of Poitiers (pop. 90,000). Chauvigny's old town, built on a rock outcropping, is the site of several châteaux and ruins. Views from the old town over the rooftops of the newer town below are panoramic and picturesque. The church in the old town is dedicated to saint Pierre and was built in the 11th century.

As usual, you can enlarge these photos by clicking on them or touching/tapping them,
depending on what kind of device you are using.

I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist yesterday day over in Montrichard. He said my right eye, which he operated on on June 11, has healed nicely. Everything looks normal. He predicted that over time my vision will get clearer, especially after I have the cataract surgery done on my left eye. He said I'll still need glasses for reading small type or doing close work, but that I should be able to drive, read my computer screen, and watch television without needing corrective lenses. The surgery on the left eye is now scheduled for early September (at my request). I'm having pollen allergies right now that make my eyes teary and contribute to my blurry vision.

19 June 2024

Le château de Boismorand à Antigny

The Château de Boismorand was built in the second half of the 15th century by a local notable who passed away in 1510. It was renovated and updated in the 19th century. One building, the chapel, still has its original decor. Antigny is three miles south of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, which I've been posting about for a week or so. A few years ago, Boismorand was bought by a wealthy Californian who wanted to have it as his vacation home in France.

18 June 2024

More Saint-Savin wall paintings

These are photos I took in June 2009, after a major restoration project had been finished in the church at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe. Charles-Henry was visiting, and we drove down there with our friends Susan and Simon to see the result and to take some pictures.


Rumblings of thunder woke me up this morning at about 4 a.m. The distant lightning kept me awake. After nearly an hour of tossing and turning, I realized that Tasha was afraid and wanted to jump up on the bed. That was fine. Then I decided I had to get up even though it wasn't yet five o'clock. I knew I wasn't going back to sleep. Lightning was getting closer and closer. The thunder was much louder. Rain poured down for maybe 20 minutes, and then the storm moved off to the north of us.