Friday, 13 January 2012

Round and About : 'Marthon' Part One

On Monday we had occasion to visit the small historic town of Marthon to do some business. We thought it was an interesting place, and with lots of photos taken, Nigel will help me write this up in two parts. 


Situated near the border with neighbouring Dordogne, on the banks of the gently flowing (well, most of the time, I hope!) river Bandiat, it reportedly has a population of about 500, hardly different from the year 1793, when records appear to start! In the late 1800’s, the townspeople numbered in excess of 700, but where they all went, we  could not discover! 


When we arrived we quickly found a small car-park; my first photo was of what I presume to be residential accommodation over some offices. Note the two pigeons in the pigeonnier!

We walked under this old arch 

into the centre of the town, imaginatively called "Main Street" and the main road through the town.

As in most small French towns, a weekly market is held; here in Marthon in a small flagged ground level space under one of the ancient stone buildings in this street.
One can understand how little this place has changed over the last 600 years or so. Not much concession is made for the motor vehicle! We saw a large articulated lorry negotiating this street - it mostly filled the space you can see between the dotted parking lines on the left and the kerb on the right!


The few narrow streets in the town centre are dominated by the ruins of the Chateau de Marthon, a polygonal shaped castle built in the Middle Ages. In its time, it must have been a formidable structure, providing means of shelter for the local residents from attack by hostile forces. These were the days of the 100 Years War between England and France, when the English occupied and controlled vast swathes of the countryside in this area. Today, only the castle keep and a few other bits of wall  remain, as you can see in the following pictures. This fragile tower is set high and clearly visible from  all around. It was reduced in height by 1 metre in 1960, presumably for safety reasons, as it is now looking rather wobbly!








This cave was under the castle; it looked pretty empty and I was not brave enough to go under the building to look closer!

The view from the castle with the church in the distance - centre of photo, just above the wall 

The river Bandiat running through the trees, with another small village and farm land in the background

The local hotel and restaurant - lunch (generally 5 courses) for 11 euro!

Hope that you enjoyed the first part of this walk about; the photos of the church and the river will be in part two.

92 comments:

  1. Hello Diane:
    We have very much enjoyed our introduction to the town of Marthon, about which we knew nothing until today. It does look to be most interesting and clearly, as you say, the layout of the town has changed little over the decades.

    The five course menu at the hotel seems very good value indeed. A reason to visit Marthon by itself in our view!!

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  2. Jane and Lance it is a delightful little town and we enjoyed walking around. We have a favourite restaurant nearby that does a six course lunch with wine for €11.50!! Fantastic food and great value :) Diane

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  3. Hehe ... pigeonnier ... I love it ...

    great pics

    ... and those ruins are amazing! ... what is that cage-like structure in the old castle?

    Having never travelled abroad, sometimes in my mind I picture Europe as a nerve-jangling citified mass - thanks for this perspective Diane.

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  4. What a pretty town. And those two pigeons are funny. I would 't have noticed them if you hadn't pointed them out.
    And i can't get over how sunny it seems to be over there. We only have a bit of sunshine each day here in grey London.

    Red

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  5. Graham we think it was some type of scaffolding protecting part of the building from possibly falling on to anyone. The whole place looks quite wobbly but you can walk up to it any any point so.....
    Yes I think pigeonnier is a wonderful word for a pigeon house. Diane

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  6. Thanks for the tour around Marthon - looks like a lovely wee town with many very interesting buildings. It is nice to see places that I've not heard of before.

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  7. nice post


    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  8. What a sweet little village. The streets in these places always look exceedingly narrow to me. Too bad the remaining castle can't be renovated. The cave looks inviting to me.

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  9. Ah these visits to Medieval towns are so interesting and fun. So good of you to share.

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  10. This is so cool, it's amazing to think that these buildings have been around for so long. I'm with you on the cave....not a cave person here! No way will I go in them.

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  11. Boye By Red although we have had a lot of rain, we have not really seen winter as such this year other than a couple of frosts. The Charente is also renown for the amount of sun we get here. Diane

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  12. Ellie I had also not heard of it before until a few days before our visit!! Diane

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  13. Aarthi, thanks for visiting and passing a comment. Diane

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  14. Gaelyn those streets really are narrow, it amazes me how the huge trucks eve get down them. I think the cost of renovation would be so high that it will never be done. As for the cave, if had been a natural cave I would have gone in and had a look but, it was part of the building which to me did not look as safe as I would have liked it to have been!! Diane

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  15. rosaria I hope that you enjoy my photos as much as we enjoy seeing these small towns. Diane

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  16. Lyndsey the town itself will not be as old as the château, but the houses and shops are sure to be several years old with probably the same narrow roads. Diane

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  17. Thank you for taking me on a little mini vacation. I so enjoy seeing castles and castle ruins. Glad to hear you are both feeling better. Looking forward to reading part 2. Take care.

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  18. kclily, glad you enjoyed the little trip. More important than us, is how are you feeling? Keep well and look forward to the days after the final treatment. Cheers Diane

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  19. What a beautiful place..It must be very enjoyable walking there with all that history..just amazing.
    It has been one long start to winter and not fun when you feel lousy. Take care and will be praying for both of you..It has to be annoying..I know this, I have never in my life seen a cough go on for so long with George/CaraRose..xoCarolyn

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  20. The area in which you live is so rich in history. It must be wonderful to tour and see so much of the past from the vantage of time. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  21. I am so envious! You are so fortunate to be living there! It is beautiful.

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  22. I love the pictures of Marthon. It looks lovely

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  23. It's always fascinating to read about places you've never been, particularly through the eyes of someone you know. Thanks for the tour! I'm with you on the cave, though!

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  24. Crikey! Blue sky as well...in January?!

    SP

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  25. Hi Diane .. hadn't really known where Charente was - had thought it was further south .. now I know! Explains the 100 year war reference - geographically makes sense now!

    Love these towns - pity about the articulated lorry ... but that's the 21st century I suppose ...

    Thanks loved part 1 of the walk .. cheers and enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

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  26. Carolyn, there is just so much history around us, it just where to find it all. I am really fed up with my cough now, I had the worse night ever last night and I thought it was going away :( Diane

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  27. Mary there is so much history close by, we have to just track it all down.We will keep looking :) Take care Diane

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  28. Sarah I have to agree I think we are very lucky to be here :)) Diane

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  29. Words Of Deliciousness it is a pretty little town. Watch this space for Part 2. Diane

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  30. Colin and Elizabeth, I had never heard of Marthon a week ago and it is really not that far from us!!! I would have been quite happy to investigate the cave if it had been natural, but a built one under a wobbly building..... Diane

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  31. SP I cannot believe this weather. We had a frost this morning and there is a chilly wind, but if in a protected spot in the sun it is fantastic. I am not quite brave enough to try getting a tan though! Diane

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  32. Hilary I would guess many of these lorries would not come through these small roads under normal circumstances, SatNav has a lot to answer for!!!
    Glad you have found out where the Charente is, we live right in the centre of the resistance area and history surrounds so much of it. Part 2 coming soon. Diane

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  33. I feel like I am on tour visiting France through your eyes!!
    It's a lot of fun and very interesting too!
    A pity they don't have the means to consolidate the tower!
    Great pics, Diane!
    Keep well!

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  34. Thanks for the armchair guided tour Diane, the sky looked so clear, the perfect day for pictures.

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  35. Noushka that tower restored would be wonderful but oh so expensive! Glad you enjoyed the visit. Take care Diane

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  36. Steve the past week we have had beautiful blue skies, but today there was a very icy wind to go with it! Diane

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  37. It's nice to see this old town. I've often marvelled at the narrow streets when abroad and feel for those that have to drive through it with big vehicles. On the other hand, it probably keeps a lot of traffic away! lol

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  38. What a cute little town! Lunch for 11 Euros sounds like quite the bargain.

    I would not have gone into the cave, either, but then, unless that arch is much higher than it looks in your picture, I'd have hesitated to walk into there, also, being terribly claustrophobic. Looking forward to part 2!

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  39. I'm not brave enough either for the cave. But the town and the castle is neat to see. I wouldn't want to be the one driving and navigating those tiny streets.

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  40. Thanks SM you must see this sort of town all the time, but it is good to see places in different areas. Diane

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  41. Joyful I agree some small streets are extremely narrow. I also agree that anything that keeps large trucks away from towns, villages and residential areas is also a good idea. Diane

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  42. Marjie the arch was probably about 3 to 4 foot high, but it was the fact that it was part of a crumbling building that worried me. I don't like being inside a place that I cannot see out of, but that would not have worried me with the light from the opening. Diane

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  43. Becca driving around in a small car is no problem, unless of course you meet something huge coming the other way!! Diane

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  44. Bonjour Diane , je vous remercie pour le sympathique message laissé sur mon blog et vous remercie également de nous faire partager les images de votre si jolie région .

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  45. Bonjour Yannick, c'est un plaisir de regarder votre blog. Merci pour votre commentaire. Diane

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  46. Lovely photos Diane, I have just bookmarked your food blog, looking forward to trying some of your recipes.

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  47. Grâce à toi, je découvre une ville que je ne connais pas du tout.
    merci.
    A très bientôt

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  48. Thanks Paul and Roz for the comment. My food website has got a bit left behind recently, but they are mostly my favourite recipes. Diane

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  49. Nadji, je suis contente que tu as apprécié la visite. A très bientôt. Diane

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  50. indeed, so charming ! these small places in France are truly unique !

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  51. I have so much fun getting these little peeks into the French countryside. THANK YOU!

    Love to you,

    Sharon

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  52. I do so love your insights, photos and posts you do make the blogosphere a better place to be in. x

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  53. That castle is awesome - I would love to explore it and the cave below it.

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  54. fun having a look around with you try and get market pictures :-)

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  55. anni every little place here has something different to explore, Diane

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  56. Sharon I am pleased that you enjoy these little trips. Take care Diane

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  57. Froggy thanks you so much for your very kind comments, I hope you will be able to see these place for yourself one day. Diane

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  58. Pam it was really interesting I was just not sure how safe it was! Diane

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  59. Rebecca I have some market pictures taken just before Christmas, I have just not got around to publishing them yet!! Will do soon. Diane

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  60. Really enjoy this walk about!! Can't wait to see the church! You always take such nice photos!
    Blessings for a happy and healthy 2012!
    Ann

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  61. Ann we also stopped at another village en route so there will be two churches coming up soon. One was open the other not! Diane

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  62. Great pictures and what a lovely day for discovery. Your blog is just wonderful and I look forward to being a regular visitor.

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  63. The Broad, thanks so much for your vis1t and for following, also for the kind comment. Looking forward to seeing back here again. Take care Diane

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  64. This is so entertaining, nice to be able to see places like this... the castle looks impressive indeed, I can imagine how it must have looked in its heydays. Can't wait to see the church...

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  65. Dear FRIEND Diane
    Nice photos and the small town, very picturesque!
    Nice castle, the pigeon and very cheap food!
    I hope you are both well!
    Many greetings and kisses

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  66. that is interesting. thanks for sharing.

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  67. Diane, thank you for the tour of Marthon. It's very interesting I'm looking forward to part II. I'm glad you're feeling better.

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  68. Thanks for the tour! Looks lovely!

    Thanks for leaving that comment on my blog. Yes I had noticed something was wrong, perhaps it's from posting on the iPad? Hope it I proves!

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  69. Karen yes, can you just imagine what it was like several 100 years ago. It is sad that it is just a ruin now. Diane

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  70. Magda I had to laugh when you thought food when you saw the pigeons. My neighbour has pigeons, but the poor birds are never let out, they just fatten them and eat. Or I presume so, I have never been offered one. On the other hand seed is not cheap here so maybe it is not cheap food. Glad you enjoyed the trip. Take care Diane

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  71. Love for food, thanks for the kind comment. Keep well Diane

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  72. Marco Pasho, glad you enjoyed the post. I think this cough is coming back again!! I see the specialist at the beginning of February. Diane

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  73. wow..great cliks...very interesting post..thanks for sharing..:)
    Tasty Appetite

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  74. Cate I see no reason why posting from your iPad should make any difference, is is more likely to be something on your website. I have a slow connection which (for me) makes it extremely slow. Too many adverts could well cause it. This is why I have never considered doing any advertising on my site. Hope it all come right for you. Diane

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  75. Thanks for that walk about....I'll take one anytime with you.

    xo

    Jo

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  76. Jay thanks for visiting and glad you enjoyed the trip. Take care Diane

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  77. Jo maybe one day you can take a walk with me ! Keep well Diane

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  78. Mary (Mum's kitchen) Glad you enjoyed the small tour. Diane

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  79. Such wonderful photos! Makes me want to be there! I'm excited as I will actually be in France next month but in the mountains, probably not too close to where you are.

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  80. Oh Diane now you have given me ANOTHER village to add to my list of places to visit in your area :)

    I so want to visit that keep. I wonder which Plantaganet King was associated with its building? Richard I?

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  81. The Café Sucré Farine, no it does not sound as if you will be close to us. What a shame as it would be great to have met you. Have a wonderful holiday though, Diane

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  82. Dolly we never did discover who lived in that château in its heyday, but someone I guess must know. Your list is getting so long you will have to become resident here soon to see it all LOL Diane

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  83. I love the way that the French towns look so untouched. Nice to have a walk round with you.

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  84. Diane, thanks for taking me along on this wonderful walk with so much lovely sight. Hugs.

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  85. Vera the towns and villages in France are so gorgeous. I am sorry that there are so many new houses going up all around the outskirts, they just (to me) do not belong! Glad you enjoyed the trip. Diane

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  86. Quay Po Cooks, glad you enjoyed the walk with all the lovely sights. Take care. Hugs Diane

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  87. Marathon sounds great and I love your writing as usual! No wonder I have been late/missed some of your latest posts; somehow your link wasn't on my side bar to see when you post. Thank goodness I've got you back now and won't miss your posts! Thanks for this tour, Diane and the pics are beautiful!

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  88. Pam glad you enjoyed the trip. Pleased you found me again :) I also fond people go missing from time to time!! Diane

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  89. Another beautiful set of photos to see, thanks for sharing your side of the world Diane.

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  90. chubskulit it is a pleasure. Glad you enjoy. Diane

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