Friday, 17 December 2010

Saint-Mary, Charente, France

 Saint-Mary is a municipality in the north-east of the Charente located 5 km west of Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure.    The village of St. Mary is located in a deep valley, through which runs the river Marillac, a tributary of the Bonnieure.  I know it is a deep valley, as my legs complain when I cycle through it!!

The office of the Maire (the Mayor - who runs the commune or local district)

The Bibliotheque (library)

I presumed that this was one of the old gateways from the village up to the Chateau of St. Mary.  I need to explore further, as there must be a larger entrance on the other side.

The Chateau St.Mary.

 The parish of St. Mary had a certain importance during the middle ages, gained not least from the strategic position of the chateau; it was called a fortress - fortalicium - in 1274, but probably built earlier  and it was sited to monitor and defend the pass through the Bonnieure Valley.  There is a lot of history written about St. Mary and the chateau, but my French is is not good enough to translate it correctly.  For those who have no problem with French I suggest taking a look at Wikipedia

The church of St. Mary is an ancient priory that depended on the Abbey of Our Lady of Nanteuil, but the date of its founding cannot be precisely fixed . This church is remarkable for the purity of its architectural style (according to my research!!). 

The main road through the town is the D27, a two lane modest but scenic country road from Chasseneuil to Mansle. It runs along the right bank of the Bonnieure, passing a cave at Artenac, a hamlet adjacent St. Mary.  St. Mary has been occupied by man since time immemorial and in 1995-1996, two fragmentary humanoid skull bones were uncovered during excavations in the cave.  The two bones are relatively fragmentary, but sufficient detail has been preserved, including  the shape of the forehead, to establish their identity as Neanderthals.

The  Marillac river

These two were keeping a careful watch on me while I walked around taking photographs; they probably thought I was a bit odd ;-)

Having looked briefly around the village and looked up some of the history, which unfortunately for me is all written in French, I feel I must return to try to find out a bit more.  It may be better to go there on a weekday when the library is open, to see if I can find some less complicated information that is easier for me to translate! 

N.B. Google seems to be playing tricks on me again and only a few of these photos will enlarge.  I  have not found out the answer to this - some enlarge perfectly but others.......

To all my followers and fellow bloggers, I wish you all the very best for the forthcoming holiday season and I hope there is a message below for most if not all who  celebrate ......
Joyeux Noel

Happy Christmas

Gesëende Kersfees

Nginifisela inhlanhla ne mpumelelo e nyakeni

Nadolig Llawen

Nollaig Shona Dhuit

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur

Buone Feste Natalizie

Feliz Natal

Feliz Navidad!

God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar

Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan

 Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun

 Kung Ho Hsin Hsi. Ching Chi Shen Tan

Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto

Sawadee Pee Mai

Gajan Kristnaskon
 
Froehliche Weihnachten
 
Kala Christouyenna!
 
Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova

60 comments:

  1. Hello Diane .. I recognize the tree in the header :-) :-) .. Thanks for sharing this little village , hopefully one day I will get downt to your area , for a good look round.. Take care and hopefully we will be able to meet up before March :-) :-)

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  2. Thanks Anne, glad you recognise the header!! You nearly had a frantic phone call re my laptop hoping Arnie could talk me through a problem but suddenly a flash of light dawned and I fixed it!!!! I am sure things will be quieter in the New Year (or I hope so) we WILL meet up and make a plan. Look after yourself meanwhile.
    Looking forward to your visit.
    Diane x

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  3. Hi Diane, Thanks for showing me around this perfect french little village. I hope to re visit the Charente one day. xxx

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  4. I never tire of seeing your photos and stories of where you live in France.

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  5. What a lovely village. Your blog looks very festive and more ready for the holiday than I am. I hope you, too, have a Merry Christmas. Blessings...Mary

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  6. Thanks for showing us this pretty village.

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  7. What a lovely little village, Diane. I do love all those arches and doors but am in love with your donkey friends... they are adorable!!!

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  8. Diane I hope you make it to the Charente in the not too distant future, it would be great to meet up with you. Diane

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  9. Susan what worries me is when I run out!! There are many places around but it is not always easy to find the history of them. If I was a lttle better at French it would make life easier :) I hope I can find enough around for you to follow them. Diane

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  10. Mary I am not feeling very festive at all which is why I thought if I brightened up the blog it may lift my spirits as well :) Take care. Diane

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  11. lostpastremembered I also thought they were so cute and they were obviously fasinated by me!. Diane

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  12. Hello Diane!
    Interesting to know that Neanderthals have been living there!!
    A lovely place indeed!
    Good luck with finding out about the history of all the places you show us!
    Many thanks for your wishes too!
    Have a great WE!
    XXXX

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  13. Noushka I think I need you with me when I go to these libraries then I would not have a problem finding out all the info. Hopefully I will improve when I am in France full time. Each time I come back to the UK, my memory shoves all the French out that I have learnt during the time I am there. It has been particularly hectic this year in the UK so I feel like I am back at square one again :( Diane

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  14. Hi Diane,

    First of all - thank you for the tour. This place is beautiful and full of history. The architecture is fascinating.
    And - Счастливого Рождества!

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  15. Olga thanks for the comments, it is a very pretty village and as you say the architecture is interesting. Sorry think I missed you out!! My computer does not have cyrillic font but I guess if I looked hard enough I could find inserts!!! Happy Christmas. Diane

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  16. What a great little village. Love the stone work. Marvelous library, which you should take advantage of. The Chateau's history is long.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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  17. Gaelyn there is some amazing stonework in France. Yep I will take a trip to the library but I need a translator to come with me! Happy holidays to you and Mike, sure this will be a Christmas for you to remember. Diane

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  18. Another great post... what a beautiful village. Happy holidays!

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  19. Some interesting history here. I hope you are able to find out more. I'd love to wish you and your husband a wonderful and very Merry Christmas also. May you both have a prosperous and happy New Year.

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  20. I always love looking at your pictures! Love the animals checking you out! :-)

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  21. Thank you for another interesting tour. I appreciate the time you spend on your posts. You have shown us so many places that many of us will never get to see, even if we get to France.
    The header is gorgeous!
    Merry Christmas, Diane and Nigel.

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  22. Thanks for another interesting tour Diane - we have nothing to compare here in southern Africa, but then, except for rock paintings, we have no recorded history going back that far ...

    ... I hope I don't get mistaken for a Neanderthal some day - once, when I was having my head measured for a hat, the guy turned around and said "Man, that's the biggest head I've ever seen ... " ... :)

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  23. Merci de vos bons voeux Diane.Et de tous ces beaux village que vous avez photographié et que vous présentez si bien!
    Que la nouvelle année vous garde en grande forme vous et votre famille et que vos entreprises soient couronnées de succès!

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  24. Thanks Pam it is a lovely little village. You have Happy Holidays as well. Diane

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  25. Joyful thanks so much for your good wishes. I wish you and your family very Happy Holidays and a healthy 2011. Yes there is masses of history in this little village it just trying to translate it all :) Diane

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  26. Debbie those donkeys were so cute, I could have happily taken them home with me!! Diane

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  27. Thanks Mya, I enjoy trying to find out the history of these little places but the language barrier makes it difficult for me. I can get by on basics but when it gets complicated....... Hope you and your family have a great Christmas as well. Diane

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  28. Graham my husband also has a large head so you must be from the same clan!!!

    I agree you have not got the historic buildings that we have in France or the UK, but the bushman paintings have so much to say and just what is the history behind Zimbabwe ruins and other similar places. I mean the stone ruins!! ( tongue in cheek)
    Diane

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  29. Merci lejardinlucie. J'espère que vous et votre famille aient 2011 sain et prospère. Diane

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  30. Wonderful post, and I really enjoyed the photos. Thank you so much for finding my blog so I could find yours. Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future. Merry Christmas! :-)

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  31. Happy Frog and I, thanks for coming to see me :) I love your blog and will certainly be back. Merry Christmas to you as well. Diane

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  32. This post clearly shows what I like about France.
    Wherever you go there is something interesting to see.
    I always thank you for visiting my blog.
    I wish You and your Family a Peaceful and Happy Christmas.

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  33. Both Maire and library buildings are so cool! Saint Mary must be a lovely place. Also like the donkey shot.
    Happy Christmas to you too, Diane.

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  34. Belas fotografias....
    Votos de Feliz Natal....
    Cumprimentos

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  35. Andrea thank you so much for your comments. I love your blog and it always brings back so many happy memories of when I worked for the wild life research in Zimbabwe. Wishing you and your family also a very Happy Christmas and a healthy 2011. Diane

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  36. Fernando Santos (Chana) .Obrigado pela sua visita. Feliz natal.

    Sorry Portuguese is not my best subject but I hope this is correct!!. Thanks for the lovely comments. Diane

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  37. JM thank you for all your visits during ther year, I have so enjoyed your wildlife site. The donkeys were really cute:) All the best for 2011. Diane

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  38. Have a wonderful Christmas Diane ~ I look forward to more of your lovely informative posts in the New Year.
    With much Love
    xx
    Dianne

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  39. Dianne you have a good Christmas as well. I also look forward to your posts. Luv Diane x

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  40. What a quaint little town. Interesting church of medieval romanesque architecture if I'm not mistaken.
    Merry Christmas to you!! Thank you for taking time greeting everybody in different languages! Just love it!!!

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  41. michelangelo in the kitchen Merry Christmas to you as well and I hope you have a healthy 2011. Thankd for visiting. Diane

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  42. Love your new header!

    Saint-Mary's is lovely; their bibliotheque is very similar to mine in size! And there were Neanderthals there, too; isn't it amazing when a place has so much history?

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  43. Marjie it is amazing where the Neanderthals pitch up LOL. Such a little village but so much history! Diane

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  44. What a beautiful village, full of charm and history. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Diane!

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  45. Lovely village. I love seeing these old places you share with us. Merry Christmas.

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  46. What an absolutely lovely tour!! I love history so much and I think this village is overflowing with it! How I'd love to explore with you - well, I guess I can - through your blog!! I just love blogging!!
    Blessings for a lovely Christmas week!
    Ann

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  47. Thanks Faith, hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas. Diane

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  48. Merry Christmas Becca and I hope that 2011 is a much better year for you. Healthy as well as wealthy. Diane

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  49. Ann we can tour together as you say on the web. What did we do before blogs????? Take care and have a great Christmas. Diane

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  50. Thank you so much for sharing it. The town looks really quiet. Probably, there's not many people staying there. Love the ancient art of the church. Hope you're having a great day & stay warm.
    Blessings, Kristy
    p/s it doesn't matter for having fish or chicken! We should be thankful for having such wonderful meal during the celebration. Enjoy!

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  51. Hello Diane, You have a lovely blog, the kind I enjoy, I will be coming back for more. I went into your recipes too, great ideas!. Merry Christmas !!

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  52. My Little Space, it was at a weekend so everything was closed and not a sign of anyone antwhere. As you say it was rerally quiet! Have a great Christmas and enjoy. Diane

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  53. Thanks Pamela for your visit, love your recipes as well after visiting your blog. Feliz navidad. Diane

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  54. I truly believe everything in France is beautiful! I would ride un vélo happily throughout that country. Even though I think my legs would complain eventually too :)

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  55. Diane, thanks for the tour around this great little French village. It's beautiful and I love reading the history of such places. Love the donkeys also. They were probably enchanted by you! Here's wishing you Joyeux Noel and the best to you and yours in the coming year!

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  56. Brittany you are so right, France is beautiful and I love cycling over there despite the hills! Diane

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  57. Thanks Pam. The donkeys were so cute. Hope you have a healthy and wealthy 2011. Diane

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  58. I enjoy drinking Pineau des Charentes – I don’t think I could find it in the Atlanta region but when I visit my cousins in France they always have some. I have been to the Charente Maritime at La Rochelle – which of the two Charentes do you live in? Your photo does show the classic little French village. Have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

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  59. Vagabonde we also love Pineau, I have brought some back for us to enjoy on Christmas day:) We are in Charente not too far from La Rochefoucauld. We have not yet been to La Rochelle but it is on our 'to do' list. I gather it is very beautiful. It is far enough away that we would need to stay over night.
    Hope you have a great Chritmas and a wondeful New Year. Diane

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