Friday, 24 February 2012

St-Germain-de-Confolens

Earlier this week, we took advantage of a clear, sunny, calm but very cold day to visit St-Germain-de-Confolens; a very small medieval village, now accommodating only 98 souls, situated at the confluence of the Vienne  and Issoire rivers, not far from the Charente boundary; the village grew up below its chateau walls and the inhabitants occupied themselves in the industries of milling, tanning and granite extraction, all of which have now virtually ceased. Milling and tanning declined in the 19th century and granite extraction took place until the 1970's. Once again, I took too many photos, but I have tried to pick out the best for you.

The sort of view which an early attacker might have had of the imposing chateau, built on a promontory overlooking the river confluence. The castle was first mentioned in documents prepared in the year 1073 and was much rebuilt over the next 500 years. It has not fared so well in the last 500! It's a very steep walk up the narrow road to the top - cars not allowed!



Once up there, the panoramic views of the Vienne river are spectacular. A month ago, all was white with snow, and blocks of ice were floating in the water!

                     Again the Vienne river, upstream of the last shot


A view of the ancillary buildings, built within the chateau walls (as they were) and including the 12th century chapel of Saint Vincent on the left and what might be a house for the priest on the right.
Another aspect, showing part of the old cemetery, perched on a ledge overhanging the steep drop down to the wooded Issoire river valley, which runs on the rear side of the chateau.
Next, some more photos of the crumbling, but still very substantial structure. What an effort to have built all this, on top of a hill, 950 years ago, although the granite was close by!






Probably an embrasure from which the defenders could have fired down on those laying siege to the chateau.





One of the village streets; barely a small car width!


The Vienne bridge was originally built in the Middle Ages, but road widening works in 1901 regrettably destroyed much of this character. The bridge would have also had, at one time, a town gate or toll, to control access to the village as part of its defences.

Across the Vienne bridge and on the way out of the village, a faded example of a  tin advertising sign, once so common all over France fifty or more years ago. It's always good to see such reminders of past times!
Once again my thanks goes to Nigel for all his research.
P.S.
I am a verification free blog. The new system introduced by Google of two words, quite often almost impossible to read, I find infuriating and time consuming.  Your comments will be sent to me for approval only, no verification needed. I am hoping that more people will follow this lead.  I get very few spam comments but when I do I can remove them at will .
Go to Dashboard, then ‘settings’, ‘comments’ go down to ‘Show word verification for comments’ click on No and save settings. If you are using the new blogger you will need to revert back to the old interface and take the same route.

111 comments:

  1. Ive been reading about the Vienne river this week. The castle looks lovely. x

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  2. Diane I just have visions of the castle in its heyday, I can just imagine the men in and woman in their fancy clothes sweeping through the doorways. We are lucky that it is safe to walk around the building as it is. Keep well t'other Diane

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  3. Fantastic my dear friend Diane, your photos!!!
    Some of them, are work of art!!!
    The place is romantic and atmospheric!!!
    Thank you for the interesting informations and trip!
    Many greetings and kisses!

    P.S.Congratulations for your free blog of verification!!!!

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  4. Magda thank you for your kind words. I only have a very cheap camera so cheer me up no end. Greetings and have a great weekend. Diane

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  5. Diane, I agree with you about those horrid new pass words and have tried to take mine off my blog, but can't find a way to do so. Any hints would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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  6. Vera, Go to Dashboard, then ‘settings’, ‘comments’ go down to ‘Show word verification for comments’ click on No and save settings. Easy, good luck. Diane

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  7. You've got great pictures -- like them very much. There is so much that is interesting to see in the Charente! Hope you are at last enjoying a thaw in the weather! Agree with you about WV and have discontinued using it on my blog, too. So far, so good...

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  8. Hi Diane .. glad there's no word verification .. and I switched to no anonymous either ..

    Lovely photos and what an imposing place! Boy oh boy - I'd have given it a wide berth!

    I'll have to come back and give you a link to a blog about those signs - they're recording them .. here it is:
    http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk/
    He might be interested to have your photo?!

    Cheers Hilary

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  9. I love the scenic shot, 2nd from the bottom.

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  10. I am so glad I have found you and your blog! I am Italian, living in The Netherland at the moment, with my husband. We bought a house to renovate in Dordogne, Perigord Vert, but we looked for two years for something to buy in Charente and we really love the region.

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  11. Diane, I don't have that option "Show word verification for comments". I only have the option to approve comments (which I think is the same as word verification). I took it off but I still want to be able to approve comments as you are doing. Are you using the old blogger settings or the new?

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  12. Diane, wonderful blog today, love your photos. I would over shoot as well if I had a great place like yours to visit.

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  13. The Broad, thanks for the comment. I have stopped anonymous comments as well. I have had very few problems and it is easy to delete a spam comment anyway. Have a good weekend. Diane

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  14. Hilary thanks for the comment but you have lost me a bit. I have looked at the website and I am still lost. What ghost signs? Have you seen something that I did not? Was I being followed? Have a good weekend Diane

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  15. Diane, I love the header photo...of your house right? It is so pretty.
    I agree with those verification words...I don't make my reader's go through that either and I havn't had any trouble with it that way.

    Some more fantastic photos and info that you have shared with us today! Always so interesting.

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  16. Joyfull thanks for the two comments. I have answered the comment one by email. Presumably the newer format is different to mine!! Diane

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  17. Thanks Horst, yes it is easy to get carried away with an interesting place like that. Thank goodness for digital, can you imagine old photos, cost and scanning them all on to a blog!! I don't think so. Diane

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  18. Que d'histoires à travers ces pierres. Photos magnifiques.
    See soon

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  19. Nadji. Merci pour votre visite et commentaire. A bientôt. Diane

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  20. Lyndsey yes the header is of our house, it was the heaviest snow people have known of around here since, it seems, about 1953, our first winter here LOL.

    The verification is a real pain and puts me off wanting to leave comments. Thanks for not having it on your blog. Have a great weekend Diane

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  21. Roberta I guess you must be a linguist, Italian, Dutch, French and English, how I wish I was. Thanks so much for your visit and comment, hope to see you back soon. Have a good weekend Diane

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  22. Hi Diane .. glad you worked it out! Nope - no ghosts in the castle .. just the wonderful old signs that are on the sides of buildings etc ..

    They record the signs - I know it's around the UK - but I'm fairly certain they've got American signs .. only a thought - but no worries ..

    Have a good weekend .. cheers Hilary

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  23. An interesting blog. I like the place described by history. Discover the history of the ancestors in the image is a special feeling. Sincerely, Peter

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  24. What a wonderful looking castle - I love visiting castles they are so full of history. The views from the top are lovely. The town is very quaint looking. A lovely place to visit I think.
    I totally agree with you regarding word verication - it is a real pain.

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  25. Great post, Diane! It's amazing with building it all. Your photos are great. I too agree about the word verification, it's a pain! Thanks for the info about it.

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  26. Diane I hate the verification words are terrible, your pictures look amazing and beautiful like always! gloria

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  27. Diane,
    These could be our photos from our visit to the Castle - we actually stumbled across it on a back road that took us directly to it. We were the only two people there - we then drove down into the village to the little Hotel near the bridge for a drink before driving to our stay in Confolens.
    Thanks for this post as it brought back memories.

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  28. Yet another taste of history. These buildings are so amazing to have survived this much over the test of time.

    Love all your photos.

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  29. Hi Diane,
    I remember visiting St-Germain-de-Confolens many years ago on a holiday to Bignac in the Charente. Your tour today is very different to the one I had then, tailing around a couple of children who wanted to be back at the campsite pool!

    Fantastic photographs and interesting background info. Thanks.

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  30. Another lovely exploring trip with you Dianne,thanx for sharing! I love seeing pics of all these wonderfull places. I wonder who got buried on a precipe like that!

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  31. Peter, thanks so much for your visit and comments. I appreciate them. Love your blog, thank goodness for a translator!! Have a great weekend. Diane

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  32. Ellie thanks for your comments and yes the verification is a pain!
    I love these old buildings, so much interest there. Have a great weekend. Diane

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  33. Pam, thanks for the kind comments. I hope that you get the verification sorted out :) Take care. Diane

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  34. Gloria it seems everyone hates the verification. I think that perhaps it is time Google listened to what their users gave to say!! Diane

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  35. Leon and Sue, yes we were also the only people walking around as well. Although the sky was blue it was bitterly cold so I am not surprised!!
    Watch this space, Confolens will be coming up soon, I may do it in two parts as there is quite a lot there and still some we missed!! I must have a look at your blog see what you have and then I could also link to you. Enjoy your day Diane

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  36. Gaelyn, it amazes me how these buildings have survived and still seem pretty safe to walk around unsupervised. Have a great Sunday. Diane

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  37. GaynorB, I can just imagine how difficult it must be with small children trying to see the sights and the historic places. Hope that you had a more leisurely tour on this post :) Diane

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  38. Liesl, yep being buried on the edge there makes you wonder a bit. Glad you enjoyed a bit more of historic France. Have a fantastic weekend in the sun, wish I was there at the moment :) Diane

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  39. Great tour thanks! They certainly knew about 'location, location, location' in the Middle Ages :-)

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  40. Amei as fotos e o texto.

    Um belíssimo dia para você!
    Bom fim de semana!
    Beijinhos.

    ¸.•°`♥✿⊱╮
    ღ°ºBrasil♫º

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  41. Niall and Antoinette LOL you are so right. It amazes me how many places there are to see when one really starts looking around. There is history everywhere. Diane

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  42. Magia da Inês, Obrigado pelo comentário. Agradeço a sua visita. Bom final de semana.
    Abraços, Diane

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  43. Diane great photos - we went there several years ago and found it very interesting, especially liked the cemetery perched on the edge. I see from your sidebar it is 13 degrees there today, very envious, we just had a foot of snow overnight.

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  44. softinthehead I cannot keep up with you, if you have snow I guess that you are with the family in Canada. We have spent the afternoon today working in the garden, the weather was gorgeous but my back is severely complaining I have done too much!!
    If you have seen St Germaine then it must be interesting to see it through someone else's eyes. Keep warm! Diane

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  45. Absolutely lovely pictures! Would love to visit this place...so calm and quiet...

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  46. What a lovely place you shared with us today Diane, but so sad that it has less than 100 inhabitants.
    Word verification, hate it, but as you know I think I had dreadful problems with it recently when it changed to this dreadful captcha system :(

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  47. A place that can exist with fewer than 100 people? I can just imagine how this castle was protected and in turn served as a bastion to alert the king of marauders in this part of the kingdom.

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  48. Purabi Naha I have no idea what this place would be like in the tourist season. We were lucky we had the whole place ourselves which was really good and it was very calm and quiet. Take care Diane

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  49. Linda no I must have missed a post as I did not know you had any problems. I have always been verification free, as I think your News from Italy has, I think, always been. I have always though had approval on them as I did get a few spam comments at one stage. It seems most people I follow have been removing their verification thankfully. Diane

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  50. rosaria it is hard to believe there are so few people living there. It does look fairly small, but it looks bigger than it obviously is. It is sort of squashed between the chateau and the river so it is spread out. It was an interesting tour and as it was so quiet I could let my imagination run riot :) Diane

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  51. i love ruins, always so eery and romantic :) btw i did eventually post the duck!

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  52. Muppy thanks for the kind comment. I am off now to read about the duck. I have been busy and have missed quite a few blogs. It is hard to keep up sometimes!! Diane

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  53. I was in your beautiful France earlier this month and left part of my heart there! Love your photos - they make me so want to be back there!

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  54. As usual I feel like I have been on this trip with you. Life is so different in your part of the worl, I love visiting! Thank you of sharing your wonderful adventures with us. I love your photos - perhaps you should come along as my photographer when I visit Italy!

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  55. Lovely photos. The most amazing thing is that it's still standing after 950 years !!

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  56. A lovely visit of this nearly abandoned village.
    At least, I feel like I am on a guided tour, with your wonderful way of showing us through great pictures and interesting text.
    Sorry about keeping the 2 word "Captcha" thing on my blog, but I feel it's a good protection against undesirable comments and malwares.
    I had a huge problem once, and I am not prepared to go through this again.
    If you can't read the words properly, at least you can refresh them at will...
    Cheers, Diane!

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  57. I can't get over the age of this chateau. But my days of climbing are over and my calves ache just thinking about it. So glad you've given me the opportunity to see it through your eyes.

    Thank you so, so much for removing that annoying "prove you're not a robot" thing Google has come up with. Sometimes I give up leaving comments because by the fifth one, I still can't read the darn thing.

    I removed it a long time ago after reading some people would not leave a comment because they didn't want to go through the verification. I agree that blogger is doing a much better job of identifying spam and making our jobs a easier in the meantime. I wish more people would give removing it a try.
    Sam

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  58. The Café Sucré Farine, it certainly is a beautiful part of the world to be in, the rural French people are so kind and helpful. I hope you can enjoy it through my eyes but I am sure that you really want to be back here :) Diane

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  59. Great photos and information as usual Diane, and I will be using your blog as my 'Easy Guide to Your Area' when we finally arrive at the end of next month :)

    All going according to plan here so far (touching wood as I type!) and will be in touch by pm to pick a bit of your (and Nigel's) brains before then!

    So pleased you are both now fully fit again,

    Jacky x

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  60. I love being able to travel about these places and see them through your photos and your eyes. Wonderful! As for word verification it really annoys me as well. x

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  61. Cate I would love to join you in Italy. LOL. One place I have not seen and would love to. So pleased you enjoy my tours. Diane

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  62. Jean what is still there looks fairly solid though they have put in stairways so you climb up to different levels. We found it a very interesting area. Diane

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  63. Noushka I am glad you enjoyed the tour.
    No matter what you say, the verification now is a real pain and wastes time. If you view all comments first as I do I cannot see why you should have a problem. Google will also put comments that they suspect into the spam box so you can double check. Because I love your blog I will still visit, but most people with verification I will quite simple just drop. Keep well Hugs Diane x

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  64. Sam I climbed up there very slowly. It is not only my calves but my shins as well!!

    I have not had verification for ages, but now with this double word nonsense I will also not be visiting blogs that keep the verification going. It is a huge time waster.
    Keep well Diane

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  65. Froggy as always I am glad that you have enjoyed the tour. The verification double words are enough to make me want to give up blogging!!
    Take care Diane x

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  66. Jacky the end of the month... that is wonderful, you will soon be here :) As I said previously any help please just send me an email.

    As for health - Nigel seems to be over his dose of flu at last. I have just had new x-rays and my lungs have been given the all clear. Despite this I am still coughing at night and a little during the day!! I see the specialist again 9 March but not sure what more they can do! Maybe it will just eventually go away, I have been coughing now since October!

    Safe move and I hope there are no problems for you. Take care and keep well Diane

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  67. With respect to the last picture, Byrrh was clearly a big advertiser in France, you might be interested in these pictures from France, these blog posts and some of the books in the reading list.

    On an aside, when you left the comment on my blog did it ask for word verification? I can't seem to find the setting so I hope I have it so that it is easy to make comments as you describe.

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  68. Sam thanks for your interest and the links. Yes you do have word verification!!! Take care Diane

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  69. yes, these stones tell history!
    another interesting reportage
    thank you, as always, for visiting Belgium, I can not tell you how much I appreciate your interest,
    have a wonderful week!
    anni

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  70. First, I loved this posts. I am fascinated by turrets and that first picture was terrific. Next, I so welcome your comments about verification. I hope others will follow your lead. The new verification process is infuriating. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  71. Hello Diane, your pictures are beautiful. I'm happy to hear that you're up and about. Winter in Europe has been ghastly. Have a great day.

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  72. These shots are truly fantastic! Great compositions, Diane. Well done.

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  73. Once again, a lovely tour! And I'm glad I'm not the only one with Blogger word verification issues. I shut it down last week, after receiving a complaint from Larry, a longtime commenter with less than youthful eyes (like so many of us).

    Hope your tour means Nigel's feeling much better!

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  74. Greetings 2 u.. Wow!! What a heritage view..

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  75. I love the view overlooking the lake. Such a beautiful structure!

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  76. anni thanks for the interest and the comment. Glad you enjoy historic France. Take are Diane

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  77. Mary thanks for the photo comment. I just hate this new verification. One word was passable, just, but two is a pain and a time waster. Thanks for being verification free. Diane

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  78. Marco Pasho it is really good that spring looks like it is arriving. It is so nice to get out in the garden again. Take care Diane

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  79. Thanks JM, a very kind comment seeing I use a supermarket camera :) Diane

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  80. Marjie, Nigel is over the flu thank goodness and with the sun out although it was chilly it was a nice day. We have been trying to get some work done in the garden, but Nigel crushed his thumb hitching the trailer to the car yesterday to remove the rubbish. He is back on sick leave again!! Diane

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  81. ogyep yummy mellow, thanks so much for your visit and comment, much appreciated. Take care Diane

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  82. chubskulit thanks for your visit and I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Hope that you are feeling better. Dciane

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  83. Thanks Sonia. Hope all is well with you. Take care Diane

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  84. Your pictures of the village and ruins are beautiful. Are there any efforts underway to do any restoration?

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  85. Bonne semaine et à bientôt

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  86. chcmichel, In these hard. economic times I would not think the French would run to such expenditure. Most of it has fallen down, but what is there, they have made safe for visitors and put in metal steps so you can walk around safely on the upper floor. Thanks for your comment Diane

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  87. hi diane, i see that you do travel quite a bit to explore all these places. is this place very far from where you live? all these pictures that you're showing and the past ones are all very interesting and historical to me, i'm sure if we were to follow a guided tour from here, we wont be taken to all these places! the verification thing..is quite a pain to the eyes!

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  88. cute little village there is an old castle ruins in Scotland not far from my parents place and good call on not using word verification

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  89. I really enjoyed your photos. I love how you talk about the history, very interesting.

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  90. Lena this was just an afternoon trip, in fact we covered another town as well the day I took these photos. Almost everywhere we take photos are in the Charente. You can see the map in the right hand column that Charente is not really that big. Occasionally we go into another department but not often. I am glad that you enjoy all this history, I find I am learning so much about the area and France in general. Keep well Diane

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  91. Rebecca there is so much history around in Europe, it is fun seeing places from the past. Take care Diane

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  92. Words Of Deliciousness my aim is to please my followers and hopefully I am getting there :) Keep well Diane

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  93. Hi Diane, Thanks for stopping by Food and Family to have a look at Table Mountain! That's a lot of Cape Arguses you've cycled!
    Great to see pictures of your corner of France - it's a long time since I've been there now.

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  94. Hi Kit thanks for the return visit. It feels like a life time since I left Africa behind in 2002. I will be back to watch your photos of the Cape and to bring back many memories. Take care Diane

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  95. I really enjoyed your walk to the Prieuré and all the pictures. It is a great opportunity for speaking French to join a leisure group in your area and fun too. I’m copying your apple cobbler. Cobblers are classic desserts in the Deep South and some can have too much crust – yours looks yummy. You say the village of Confolens has only 98 inhabitants – I wonder what they do? I have seen some little villages like this when I watch the Tour de France and wonder what they are like – so it is nice to see one of them on your post.

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  96. You had such a glorious day to visit such a special place - and then you share it with us.

    I hope you now get a long and gentle springtime, just right to get Nigel out digging in the garden!!!

    Sending care and huggles, Michelle xxx - with deep and loud puRRRRRumbling from Zebby Cat

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  97. Your photos are amazing. Thanks for being a verification free blog. The 2 words are VERY hard to read. I have tried 5 or 6 times and almost gave up on leaving a comment on other blogs.

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  98. Vagabonde, so pleased you enjoyed the tours and I hope that you like the cobbler. Confolens has in fact 2,800 inhabitants but St-Germaine-de-Confolens has 98. I will be doing a post on Confolens in the near future. Keep well Diane

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  99. Michelle although it was chilly because of the wind, the the blue sky was a change from the grey days that we had been having. Spring is definitely on the way :)

    Hugs to you both and keep well Diane x

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  100. Christine's Pantry thanks for your kind comment. I have given up on several comments with verification. I just have not the time to mess around with them. Diane

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  101. I hate trying to leave comments whe people have word verification enabled...Gorgeous pictures.

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  102. It's absolutely wonderful that you have the opportunity to visit such interesting places. I have a feeling that every square centimeter of France is full of interesting architecture and historic landmarks.

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  103. Bo I could not agree more they are so time consuming!! Diane

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  104. Olga I think you may be right. Even when I dig in the garden I keep finding old bits and pieces. Maybe not really historic, but certainly lots of old farm implements and bits of china. It amuses me to think they may be many years old :) Diane

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  105. Another beautiful trip..Boy,if those walls could talk..what a story they could tell. xoCarolyn

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  106. Carolyn, as you say if only those walls could talk!! Diane

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  107. This place looks incredible and seems so quiet too. Where the people?
    Kristy

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  108. Kristy, Although the sky was blue it was a very chilly day, not really a good day for viewing. Wait until the tourist season starts it will then be quite different. Diane

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  109. Here I am Diane! My fortnight's Easter "holidays" started a 5pm this afternoon. Although I have lots of end of year projects to complete over the next 2 weeks I am glad to say I can read through my favourite bloggers' posts.

    This one is a pure delight, how I love old castles and medieval history as you know. Well researched too by Nigel.

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  110. Glad that you have a bit of a break. This place you would love. I can see you being very happy here with a pencil and a drawing pad :) Take care Diane x

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Thanks for taking the time to visit and pass a comment. Every comment is appreciated and I try to reply to each and every one. All comments are verification free but will come to me for approval first :-)) No Anonymous Users!