Archive for July 19th, 2021

July 19, 2021

A visit to Langeais ,and its castle!!!

And we went back to the valley of the kings and the wonderful castles of my belle France. We have been to them when even visiting France but has taken me many years to be back; this was as good as any time to do this. We first went to the Château de Villandry and then the Château de Langeais! Let’s continue the tour with several posts,and now the a bit on Langeais town! Hope you enjoy it as we!

We had time from Villandry so after lunch we headed our way home passing by several castles and settled for Langeais as do not recall ever been here! lol! yes it happens in my belle France so many beautiful places!!! Here is a bit of my take on Langeais, say it first enjoy it more than Villandry ,well not into gardening.

The city of Langeais is located in the Indre-et-Loire department 37 , in the Centre-Val de Loire region. The town was re-born on January 1, 2017 under the administrative status of new town from the merger of the former town of Langeais and the town of Essards which then took the status of delegated town!

The first mentions of the old town are in the writings of Grégoire de Tours (Histoire des Francs, X) where Langeais, under the name of Alingavia, is cited as one of the first rural parishes founded in Touraine by St Martin de Tours in the last quarter of the 4C!

You can reach Langeais from the autoroute A10 highway, coming from Paris, take exit/sortie 20 Tours Sainte Radegonde, then direction Saumur. From the A10, coming from Bordeaux, near Tours, take the A85 highway, direction Angers-Saumur. From the A85 highway, coming from Tours or Saumur, take exit/sortie n ° 7 Langeais. We took along the D7 and D57 from Villandry. Langeais is located on the SNCF Tours-Nantes line stop Langeais station. There are bus 2 lines of the Touraine Fil Vert bus network serving Langeais. Line N2 round trip Langeais-Bourgueil (only operates during school periods).. And the TF line Chinon-Azay-le-Rideau-Langeais (operates all year round).

Let me tell you here about the pont suspendu as one of the things to see here well driving over it as we did!

A first suspension bridge, with a flexible deck, was built between 1846 and 1849. In 1846, King of the French Louis Philippe authorized the construction of a wire bridge – this is what the technique was called at the time. It was opened in 1849 but, after ten years … A summer storm … lightning fell on the bridge, it broke a column, the deck and the suspension system collapsed in the Loire. Two years to the day after the disaster, on July 21, 1861, the bridge was again open to passage and tolls. But, in 1870, France was at war with Prussia … the advance of the enemy had to be slowed down. And the French army blew it up, ignoring the opposition of the authorities and the local population. When peace returned, a third bridge was completed in 1874. It is more solid than the previous ones, with an independent suspension system. . At the same location, a new bridge, also suspended but with a more rigid deck, was built from 1935 and inaugurated in 1937. June 1940, WWII, the Nazis were heading south. They had to slow them down its progress! The French army blew up the bridge deck. It was not until 1949 after having used ferries and then a temporary footbridge for the bridge to cross the Loire river again. Since then, the bridge has been doing well. It is still today, apart from that of the A85 highway, the only 45 km crossing point over the Loire, between Tours and Port Boulet. More on the city of Langeais here: https://langeais.fr/en/rb/448541/pont-suspendu

Langeais

A bit of history I like

At the end of the 10C, Foulques Nerra conquered the site of Langeais, not far from Tours. A castle was then founded on the promontory, in order to defend the eastern limits of Anjou. All that remains of this set are the remains of the dungeon. In 1044, Langeais passed, with all of Touraine, into the hands of the Plantagenets, then into that of the kings of England, their heirs. It was in 1206 that Langeais entered the French royal domain, following the victories of Philippe Auguste over John landless.. From this period, the stronghold of Langeais was granted to various great lords close to royal power.

Very important for my new region of Bretagne is that here at the Château de Langeais that took place the wedding of Duchess Anne of Brittany and King Charles VIII of France secretly celebrated on December 6, 1491, the first step in the attachment of the Duchy of Brittany to the Kingdom of France. Eventually Brittany was annexed in 1532.

Some of the things to see here , my favorites of course are the Château de Langeais (see post), Pont Suspendu and Saint John the Baptist Church (see post), and the Maison des trois rois,(house of the 3 kings) at the foot of the Castle. One of the oldest houses in Langeais, undoubtedly built at the same time as the Château 15C. Close to the castle, three 16C houses, including the Rabelais house.

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We parked right by the halle or covered market which was easy minutes to the castle off rue Gambetta. Did I tell you we love markets? well our nose just found them easily and nice free parking!

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Some interesting literary gem on the Langeais castle with a title La Duchesse de Langeais or the Duchess of Langeais , a novel by Honoré de Balzac, first published in March 1834 under the title Ne touchez pas la hache or do not touch the ax.

The town of Langeais  on its heritage see right column: https://langeais.fr/fr/rb/432499/patrimoine-et-monuments

There you go folks a wonderful entry into beautiful Langeais. All about 3 hrs from our home which can be done in a day!! We got the hang of it and will be back for more castles which we love in natural setting with great food and wines of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 19, 2021

St Stephens’ Church of Villandry!

And we went back to the valley of the kings and the wonderful castles of my belle France. We have been to them when even visiting France but has taken me many years to be back; this was as good as any time to do this. We first went to the Château de Villandry and then the Château de Langeais! Let’s continue the tour with several posts,and now the St Stephens’ Church of Villandry or St Etienne! Hope you enjoy it as we!

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As you can read the previous posts, we went for Villandry castle first ,but got in time for lunch and we had ours at the épicerie gourmande. However, just a bit up we saw the church and of course why not include it in this trip. A good idea indeed as the Church of St Etienne is worth the detour me think. Let me tell you a bit on it ok

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The Saint-Etienne Church is the church of Villandry and is dedicated to Saint Etienne (Saint Stephens), the first martyr. The first chapel called Saint Roch dates from the 5C , and was destroyed around 1844. It was built halfway up the hill, and more than 300 meters from the castle. It had a rectangular chapel measuring 9 by 18 meters was built in the 11C. At the end of the 12C, the transept and the choir were added. The original chapel then becomes the nave of the new church.

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In the 19C, Stéphanie Oudinot, wife of Baron Georges Tom Hainguerlot, then owner of the Château de Villandry, offered a tribune organ, the stained glass windows of the choir, the altars and two bells. A vast dome 6 meters in diameter is an architectural rarity in Touraine. A large Gothic window was built thanks to Jean le Breton (another Villandry castle owner and first) in 1532. A stained glass window was installed in 1543. It is in this same church that Joachim Carvallo was buried in 1936. He is the last owner and was a doctor and patron of Spanish origin, known for his restoration of the gardens and the Château de Villandry. The current owners of the castle are his descendents. To the right of the front gate, at the entrance, is a small platform, called an ambon, where public announcements were made in the Middle Ages.

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Not much is written on the church, the above is translated from the French wikipedia site. Here is more of the same from the town of Villandry on the churchhttps://www.villandry.fr/tourisme.html#patrimoine-de-villandry-leglise-saint-etienne

The Catholic parish of the Cher on its churches including in Villandryhttps://paroissenotredameducher.fr/les-eglises

There you go folks a wonderful and beautiful Villandry and its St Etienne Church! All about 3 hrs from our home which can be done in a day!! We got the hang of it and will be back for more castles which we love in natural setting with great food and wines of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 19, 2021

Château de Villandry, the gardens!!!

And we went back to the valley of the kings and the wonderful castles of my belle France. We have been to them when even visiting France but has taken me many years to be back; this was as good as any time to do this. We first went to the Château de Villandry and then the Château de Langeais! Let’s continue the tour with several posts,and now the Château de Villandry, the gardens! Hope you enjoy it as we!

Read the previous post on the overall Villandry and its castle. For me and many others the reason to be are the gardens and it shows coming back after an absent of several years. The Château de Villandry gardens are awesome, a must to see!!!

villandry chateau garden d ornements jul21

A bit of history

The French Renaissance gardens are a style of garden originally inspired by those of the Italian Renaissance, which later evolved into the grander and more formal style of the French garden during the reign of Louis XIV, from the middle of the 17C. The gardens of the French Renaissance are characterized by symmetrical and geometric flowerbeds or flowerbeds, potted plants, sand and gravel paths, terraces, stairs and ramps, running waters in the form of canals, waterfalls and monumental fountains, and by the extensive use of artificial caves, labyrinths and statues of mythological figures. Renaissance gardens move from a utilitarian enclosure, all charged with Christian symbolism, to broad perspectives using pagan vocabulary, and whose main goal is the sole delight, pleasure. Aesthetic and personal considerations then become paramount.

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This set will however be transformed into an English garden at the beginning of the 19C. The current gardens of the Château de Villandry are therefore the result of a patient reconstruction carried out between 1908 and 1916 by Joachim Carvallo from the Monasticon Gallicanum and planks and ancient texts by the architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, dealing with a Renaissance garden typical of the 16C as he wanted to restore Villandry to its authenticity. This set currently occupies an area of more than six hectares arranged on four levels of terraces.

The upper terrace hosting the Jardin du Soleil, or sun garden constitutes a sort of belvedere overlooking the different sections of the garden. This set respects the general principles of organization of the gardens of Villandry, forming a green cloister made up of three sections. The cloud section develops in small grassy alleys forming triangles that meander through rosebushes and shrubs in blue and white tones. The sun section, central part of the garden, has a sun-shaped basin represented by an eight-pointed star, designed at the time by Joachim Carvallo, as well as beds of perennial plants dominated by yellow-orange. The children’s section is made up of decorative apple trees where outdoor games are located.

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The jardin d’Eau or water garden is none other than the French garden desired by Michel-Ange de Castellane in the middle of the 18C. Surrounded by a cloister of lime trees, this section today consists of green carpet adorned with topiaries whose classic shapes develop around a central pond constituting a veritable water mirror from the Louis XV period.

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An intermediate terrace extending from the living rooms of the Villandry castle accommodates the jardin d’Ornement or ornamental garden or garden of embroidery made up of clipped boxwood and yews in topiary.

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This section consists of four lounges of greenery representing the gardens of love. There are the amour tendre or tender love symbolized by hearts separated by small flames. In the center of the masks that were put on the eyes during the balls allowed all kinds of conversation. The amour passionné or passionate love with hearts broken by passion, engraved in a movement reminiscent of dance and whirlpools of passion. The amour volage or fickle love with its four fans in the angles represents the lightness of feelings. The dominant color in this square is yellow, a symbol of deceived love. And the amour tragique or tragic love with daggers and swords to represent duels caused by romantic rivalry. In summer the flowers are red to symbolize the blood spilled during these fights.

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All above left, center: an easily recognizable design of the Maltese cross. Behind this cross, on the right, that of Languedoc and, on the left, that of the Basque Country. Finally, very stylized, lilies along the moat.

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Between the vegetable garden (potager) and the church (St Etienne) you have the jardin des Simples or herb garden . Traditional middle ages that is totally dedicated to aromatic , condiments, and medicinal herbs. Located at the level of the castle, the potager or decorative vegetable garden in a purely Renaissance style, it consists of nine squares bordered by fruit trees in cords and planted with vegetables in harmoniously arranged colors where, in the spirit of Italian gardens of the 14C, decorative elements, fountains, arbors combine. and squares of flowers, cleverly arranged to distract walkers, thus transforming the utilitarian garden into a pleasure garden is composed by a labyrinth planted with arbours aiming to rise spiritually to its central platform.

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The last section, nicknamed the Forêt or forest, develops in flowered terraces around a greenhouse and a small 18C madness, the Pavilion de l’Audience. Forming one of the sections of the French gardens laid out in the 18C, Michel-Ange de Castellane “gave audience” to the farmers and peasants who worked on his land. Finally, a tennis court on grass!

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The official Château de Villandry: https://www.chateauvillandry.fr/en/

The non profit association of the most beautiful gardens of France on the Château de Villandry: https://www.lesplusbeauxjardinsdefrance.com/les-jardins-du-chateau-de-villandry/

There you go folks a wonderful entry into beautiful Villandry and its castle gardens! All about 3 hrs from our home which can be done in a day!! We got the hang of it and will be back for more castles which we love in natural setting with great food and wines of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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