One of the greatest pleasures of living in Europe, is being surrounded by its early architecture. Whether it be a tiny cottage, a chateau, or an ancient church, there are buildings around every corner that make us gasp.
Medieval churches are everywhere. Yesterday I passed through the tiny village of Martignac, near Puy L'Eveque in The Lot, where the church is filled with very early primative murals (unfortunately I forgot my camera; but I'll return), and these are not uncommon. In many countries, Martignac's church would be a building of national importance; here it is just taken for granted, and rather neglected.
Above is a good example of what is almost commonplace. The 11th Century church of St Martin in Besse; a village about 15 Kms from us, complete with its original stone roof, a few recently discovered interior paintings, and a spectacular carved doorway. Luckily, all very well cared for.
When I see the abundance of fairy-tale vernacular domestic building in my area, I just wonder if the original builders realised how beautiful they were; or simply did things as they'd always been done? I do like to think that they were all men of impeccable taste.