May 8, 2010

Thouars at First Blush - May 8

As we explore our little town of 11,158 citizens, we'll have much more to say about it in the future, but this is what we know so far.

Although we keep telling people we're in the Loire Valley, we're actually in the Poitou-Charentes area, but very much on the cusp to the Loire on the north.  Thouars, on a rocky outcrop surrounded by the river Thouet, is on the border between Anjou and Poitou.  There are as many roofs of northern slate as of southern red tiles.

In the centre lies l'Église St-Médard.  Its Romanesque façade is a perfect example of the Poitevin style that is typical of the region, although a splendid Gothic rose window has been added.  It is currently being renovated and by all appearances, this will take a very long time.  I wanted to attend Sunday mass, but it was freezing cold in there and I figured I'd get sick, so I stayed home and just listened to the bells ring.  I later discovered another church closer to the château.

Lined with half-timbered medieval houses, the rue du Château leads up to the 17th century château which dominates the town.  It now houses a school where our hostess's daughters attended.

The house where we're staying is between the church and the château!  What a wonderful, central location.

This is taken from the old castle ruins that straddle the river directly below our house.  The ancient main gate now frames the château beautifully.  All that's left are staircases leading to nowhere and orphaned ramparts on weed-infested walls.

I suspect we'll be feeding the ducks our day-old baguettes here in Thouars with this gorgeous river running through town.  ~ AM

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