Archive for December 25th, 2021

December 25, 2021

Curiosities of Valençay!!

And of course, in most if not all of these towns, the castle is it. However, some have charm and pleasant surrounding for a walk in town; this is the case of Valençay. I was there to see the castle , of course. (see post). However, I did venture out into the streets as love to walk all over the towns once in it. Let me give you the town view of Valençay; hope you enjoy it as I.

The town of Valençay is located in the dept Indre 36 of the Centre Val de Loire region, It owes its name to the Gallo-Romain Valens who owned in this place a villa “Valenciacus” (Domaine de Valens). From the 3C to the 5C, workshops and buildings which housed among other things an oven, a mill and a press were built around this villa. It is a stone fortress which was built at the end of the 10C and the beginning of the 11C to defend the region. At that time, the Templars for their part founded a commandery beyond the Nahon river. The church of the village was built around the abbey. A feudal castle appeared with the first lord of Valençay Bertrand Gauthier in 1220. Jacques 1er d’Estampes had the feudal castle razed to the ground in 1540 to begin construction of the current castle.

Valencay pl Tayllerand dec21

The Count of Luçay ceded his domain in 1803 to Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Consulate who only obeyed the orders of Bonaparte. In 1808, the castle was chosen by Napoléon I as the residence of the Princes of Spain in exile. Ferdinand of Spain, his brother Don Carlos and his uncle Don Antonio did not leave Valençay until 1814 after signing a treaty settling the Spanish affair. And Napoleon,been booted out of Spain…

It was spared from the wars of 1870-1871 and 1914-1918. During WWII, it was a place of parachuting of weapons and supplies for the guerrillas hidden in the forests of Gâtines and Garsanland. On August 16, 1944, it suffered in particular from Nazis reprisals. but the castle was spared thanks to the German origins of the Duke of Valençay and to the curator of the Louvre museum who could parley. Blood is thicker than water…

Some of the other things you can see here are

The Tombeau de Talleyrand, (did not visit) which is in fact a chapel which once served as a place of prayer for the Daughters of the Cross; Talleyrand had a large crypt dug to be buried there, which served as a burial place for his descendants until 1952. Since May 21, 2010, the sarcophagus has been transported to the Notre-Dame Chapel and the tomb can be visited. The Notre Dame Chapel is near the city/town hall of Valençay.

The Valençay tourist office on the tomb of Talleyrand

The wheat market or Halle au Blé , would have existed for several centuries, and would have been part of the domain of Prince Talleyrand at the beginning of the 19C before being sold to the city of Valençay. The Halle then has an old-fashioned thatched roof and a rammed earth parterre.  The current building dates from the second quarter of the 19C when it was completely rebuilt. For nearly a century and a half, the Halle au Blé had been organized like a large covered market and thus hosted the weekly local market. Today this beautiful white tufa building, with the large entrance of wrought iron and stained glass, topped with a decor of red bricks, and surrounded by four beautiful pilasters, has a modern and authentic look at the same time. For several years now, between April and June, the Festiv’halle’coustique, one of the city’s main musical events, has taken place in the halle au blé or wheat market.

Valencay le halle au ble front pl de la halle dec21

The Saint-Martin Church, also there was a Talleyrand museum in the outbuildings , (did not see) orangery of the castle of Valençay (see post). The furniture and works of art that were there have been reinstalled inside the castle itself. Musée de l’automobile de Valençay or Automobile Museum (did not see) ; presents more than fifty beautiful vehicles including the Renault limousine of presidents Raymond Poincaré and Alexandre Millerand, and the Delaunay-Belleville of the Mousquetaire cruise. 

And as hunger have it , came quickly in Valençay. The town had a nice traffic especially inside the restaurant we pick by chance a créperie breton lol! Can’t get away from them!! It was a hit, the Xavier Bouvier owner was very talkative and friendly adapting to our dog Rex and my Dad very nicely, we appreciated. The food was good galette complet royale with crêpe dark chocolate, Lancelot blonde breton beers and coffees all for 21€ per person nice! A pleasant find in nice Valençay. Oh the place was Créperie Le Biniou 17 Rue Ancienne des Bouchers. No web but all worth it me think.

Valencay le Binou crep front dec21

Valencay le Biniou crep lancelot beers dec21

Further, the City of Valençay on its heritage

Valençay is a town of the most beautiful side trips (detours) of France:

There you go folks, a dandy little town with a lot of punch in the Loire. This is Valençay and we like it; another dot to be back soon. Hope you enjoy the castle and town of Valençay as well as I.

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

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December 25, 2021

Selles-sur-Cher ,we were here!!!

This is one of those towns we passed by and never been in it. In all my road warrior trips in my belle France, the choices are endless and many. However, we love the goat cheese from there and eat it profusely , so now in the neighborhood…it was time to pay a visit to the goat cheese. Voilà nice lively town we like it and will be back for more. Hope you enjoy this brief instroduction to Selles-sur-Cher!

Selles-sur-Cher is located in the department of Loir-et-Cher, 41 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. It was on the road D956 on our way to see Valençay castle (see post). It is about 39 km from Blois.

Some brief history I like, between January 29 and February 8, 1939, more than 3,100 Spanish refugees, fleeing the collapse of the Spanish republic before Franco, arrived in Loir-et-Cher.The Selles-sur-Cher stud farms are involved
The town of Selles-sur-Cher is located in the area of the protected designation of origin (AOP) of three products: two cheeses we love too, the Selles-sur-cher and Valençay as well as one wine Valençay.

There is a nice castle here we did not see this time, the Château de Selles-sur-Cher, first medieval fortress whose construction dates back to 935, having belonged to Philippe de Béthune who called on the architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau for its renovation, partially destroyed in the 18C and rebuilt to make it a pleasure residence. It has been reopened to the public since 2012. It has been hosting the Geek Faëries festival since June 2014.

The one wonderful monument we saw was the Abbey ! The Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche , also called the abbey of Saint-Eusice. Saint Eusice died probably in 542. Childebert had a magnificent church built on his tomb. The church was devastated by the Vikings, probably in 903. According to tradition, Saint Eusice built an oratory there in the 6C which was spared by a flood of the river. In 531, he predicted to Childeric, king of the Franks the victory against Alamaric, king of Visigoth, and on his return, the latter according to the wish he had made, had an abbey built on this very place, marking the birth of the town.

Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar front dec21
Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar side left dec21
The Abbey of Notre Dame la Blanche was rebuilt during the second quarter of the 12C. At the end of the 12C, the nave was partially rebuilt. The north wall, the pillars of the nave and its vault were then reassembled in the Gothic style during the 13-14C. In 1606, only the outer envelope of the ambulatory remained and the radiant chapels. The choir and the ambulatory were covered with a common wooden ceiling. The windows of the choir were closed.

Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar dec21

Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar nave to altar dec21

In 1613, the congregation of Feuillants which had settled in the Abbey enhanced the choir and enlarged the crypt where it placed the relics of Saint Eusice. It was not until 1882 that the abbey was rebuild to its original state, and it is an almost new church that we can now contemplate. The Abbey includes a nave flanked by side aisles, a transept and a choir surrounded by an ambulatory with three radiating chapels. The transept square has four enormous piers supporting semicircular arches which frame a dome with pendants. This powerful massif supports a steeple. The crypt below the choir contains the tomb of Saint Eusice from the 6C. 

Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar side left portraits dec21

Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar crypt tomb Saint Eusice dec21

The town of Selles sur Cher on its heritage

The south valley of the Loire tourist office on Selles sur Cher

There you go folks a dandy visit to be back for more, yes cheese and wine, welcome to France!The side trip to Selles sur Cher was nice and yummy, as said we will be back. For now enjoy the Abbey Notre Dame la Blanche, and Selles sur Cher as I did.

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

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December 25, 2021

Chateau de Chémery!

And I continue my road warrior trip in the wonderful sublime Loire river valley of my belle France. This was on our way to Valençay(see post), but saw this castle and took a peek, nice one. Another hidden off the beaten path castle, really. Let me tell you a bit on the Château de Chémery.

Chemery castle front dec21

The town of Chémery is located in the Loir-et-Cher department 41 of the Centre-Val de Loire region. It is located about 29 km from Blois on the RD 956 road. It can also be reached by exit 13 of the A85 highway/autoroute. The town is located at the crossroads of Sologne,Touraine,and Berry old regions.

Some of the things to see here are:

The Saint-Guillaume Church, rebuilt in 1863 has the particularity of having the inscription “French Republic” and the motto “Liberté-Égalité-Fraternité” inscribed on its pediment.  The mill, rebuilt in the 18C, is placed on a canal fed by the Renne river. This one takes its source three km upstream at a place called Grenouillet then takes the sources of Beaumont and its tributary La Pissette and joins the Cher river at Thésée.

What I saw and like to stop by and took a walk around is the castle.

The Chémery Castle, built on a 12C fortress and remodeled in the 15-16C, has been undergoing restoration since 1981. It has several wings , and completely surrounded by a moat.

The Château de Chémery is located in the center of the village, set back from the D956 departmental road. It is surrounded by the church, the city/town hall, a pond and farm fields. The castle itself is completely surrounded by a moat spanned by an old drawbridge and a wooden walkway. Two outbuildings of the castle are located outside the moat: the tithe barn and a former dovecote which is not owned by the owners of the castle. The constructions of the castle itself are organized around a rectangular central courtyard. outbuildings, in the body of the castle itself and in the surrounding wall.

Chemery castle moat front dec21

Chemery castle tower corner dec21

Chemery castle donjon out dec21

Owned by a certain Regnault de Chémery in 1236, the castle depends on a lordship under St-Aignan. But the history of the castle is not well known due to the destruction of the archives during the French revolution. Possession of the La Roche-Aymon family until 1970, it was acquired by the writer Madeleine Lemaître and lived in by her son, the artist Alain Souchon; then by the architect Axel Fontaine and his wife Cécile in 1981, who have been in charge of the restoration since, Today, the castle is used for various activities. And the restoration work is heavy from what I saw.

Chemery castle courtyard dec21

Chemery castle entr renov dec21

The official Château de Chémery

The town of Chémery on its history

There you go folks, a dandy off the beaten path even in the Loire valley. Just passing by and always nice by me to see a castle, any castle is wonderful. This one has a hidden history still, and nice owners who do their labor of love to bring it back. The Château de Chémery is worth a look on your road warrior ways in France. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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