Saturday, 19 February 2011

Our Village Chateau.

The photo above is a bit old, but the place hasn't changed much since it was taken; at least the exterior hasn't! It's part Chateau Fort, and part Big House; a time-warp amalgam of styles and periods.

When we first arrived in France we were somewhat surprised to learn that there was another English family in the village, who owned the local Chateau; I believe they had bought it way back in the 20's. Unfortunately the father of the family died just a few weeks before our arrival, so, sadly, we didn't get to meet him. He'd been a wartime Spit' pilot (amongst other things).

However, we did become very good friends with his French widow and her young family, and we still are; they sold the Chateau several years later. Too big.

Since those heady days it's had two other owners; a wide-boy Italian, and a very pleasant couple, who hail from Paris, who are the current custodians.

When our friend was there, it was understood that visitors ALWAYS carried as many logs as they could manage, from near the main door up to her rooms. This involved taking them up a huge flight of very wide stone stairs, and along a 100 yard long corridor. Since those days the Chateau has been completely modernised, and central heating installed. A very different scenario to when I used to visit.

The Chateau is much bigger than it looks in the postcard above. Maybe the present owners have even added another wing or two; who knows! I've been invited to pop up and have a butchers some time, so I really must.

Many years ago I designed, and helped construct, a rose-garden in the big front courtyard for the wide-boy Italian; I wonder if it's still there?

Of course these old places usually have a dark side. In one of the cellars at the Chateau there is an OUBLIETTES. This is an aprox' 4 foot square hole in the ground which leads to a dark and damp cell. 'Enemies' were lowered down into the hole and 'almost' forgotten about. I've peered into the hole with a lamp and one can still see scratchings on the walls made by desperate men. Nasty.

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  1. Wouldn't it be handy to have one of those in every basement?

  2. Most Austrian fathers over the age of 60 do, mybabyjohn.

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  4. Oops! I had typos in my other post so I deleted it. Always looks so incriminating when a post is deleted though.

    Aside from the cell, I think it would be extremely fun to go through one of these places. There's go to be so many passages and rooms. Fascinating!

  5. Ooo, the scratchings on the walls gave me shivers! I had to look up "wide-boy", since one never hears the term in these parts. Interesting.

  6. We have a 'priest hole' in our house too. A little narrow room in the attics. It's got a lot of strange markings on the ceiling which look as if somebody way back has been writing with a candle. Eerie!

  7. Goodness Molly. That sounds worthy of a posting one day. Your house must be very old.


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