Monday, 25 February 2013

Pranzac

On 16 April last year we posted a blog on the wine festival at Pranzac, see HERE   At that time, we said we would write a further post on the town itself and I have just realised that we never have!   So, belatedly, here it is!

Pranzac was inhabited from Gallo-Roman times, as a settlement on the main Roman road between Angouleme (15km/9 miles away) and Limoges, and is currently home to about 950 people. 

Probably its most famous son was  Jacques Roux, a radical Roman Catholic priest born in the town on 21 August 1752; he took an active role in  speaking out in support of the peasants during the French Revolution. He was driven to suicide  in 1794, in the turbulent political times after the King and Queen were executed. Later, such better-known revolutionary figures as Marx and Lenin took serious note of his opinions on social problems.



Ruins of the Château of Pranzac. The château was built in the 13th century by Lord Jourdain and seems to have survived the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). It was restored and added to several hundred years later, but today there isn't much left!!


 Another rare "lantern of the dead" - how did it end up here on its own, in a grassy square? Well, the adjacent faded notice board  tells the interesting little story.... The lantern, 7 metres/ 23 feet high, was originally built in a cemetery on this site  in the 12th century; the parish church of St Catherine, to which it was attached, stood across the road, but the church was "destroyed" in the 17th century. In 1855, a new law required cemeteries to be relocated outside towns. A certain Madame Tourette donated a new piece of ground elsewhere and this "city centre" site was abandoned in 1865. In 1880, a new "Place de la Lanterne", bigger than the old cemetery, was created here. During the 1940's, it briefly became a cattle market as there was a weighbridge close by, but by the 1980's the structure had become so dilapidated, it was apparently rebuilt, "stone by stone". A national monument since 1905.

 A lovely old cast iron signpost, almost forgotten, on a stone gatepost. Le Queroy and Le Chataign(i)er (chestnut tree) are nearby villages situated 3 kilometres west and 6 kilometres east respectively, on the old Roman road. It could be the journey time stated there as well (very helpful!!) but 5 hours for 3km (2 miles) seems a long time - perhaps it was hard going!

 The river Bandiat winding its way through the town. There's some old and unidentified bridge stonework here. The local limestone was quarried in great volumes and used extensively for building.

 Another peaceful shot of the Bandiat

Presumably these were originally stables of some kind, but we saw no signs of horses while were were there!

Of course, no town in France would be complete without at least one boulangerie!

 Must have been a delivery chute for things to be stored in the cellar. Planks in the pavement save pedestrians a nasty drop!

I just liked this old building!

A walled in gateway and no doubt former grand entrance to somewhere - it is private property, so we never  discovered where it led to, but....

 The trees on the old driveway still form a delightful avenue!

I liked this old doorway on an abandoned house

but found the doorknob a bit disconcerting!

The church of Saint Cybard,  who was born in the year 504 and lived in a cave as a solitary religious figure for 39 years. The building once formed part of the chateau, close by. The left hand side of the church was built in the 12th century, with the remainder, a second nave and chapel being added by Catherine de Clermont 400 years later to a contemporary design.



An interesting detail in the stonework. Two figures, inserted for posterity by a dedicated and imaginative sculptor!

A side view, and what looks like a smart new roof on the little extension!

Two hundred years ago, the town was making a  good living from sand extraction and limestone quarrying, but that seems to have died out.  Signs of transport facilities for these industries - the abandoned railway line  and an old canal are still to be seen in the landscape. 

Pranzac was also well-known in the mid 20th century as the location of a successful nut processing factory, which sold nuts locally and abroad. In the 60's, it was selling tents(?!) but today there is no sign in the local Yellow Pages of the owner Mr Mayoux or his factory, so we presume the nut and tent businesses didn't work out!






See also - My Life Before Charente Updated 25/02/2013

and my daily photo diary  HERE
http://photodiarydps.blogspot.com 




62 comments:

  1. Lovely photos of a lovely old town.
    That's what I love about France, there's somewhere like this around almost every corner! It's nice to see pictures taken in April, too, with the trees in bud and the sun shining.....it's been so cold and horrid here for such a long time - we are desperate for a bit of warmth and sunshine now !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean I have to admit that I found these April photos quite cheering, we are buried under under 4 inches of snow at the moment and it is still snowing! Summer can not arrive fast enough for me but the trouble is it seems to go quicker every year!! Take care Diane xx

      Delete
  2. Gorgeous sites. I esp. like the archway formed by the rows of trees on two sides. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyful I agree, I also loved that driveway. It seems sad that it is not in use any more. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  3. thank you for the tour of a wonderful town! i love the driveway too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jaz it seems like the driveway is going to be a popular photo. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  4. I love the avenue of trees too Diane - very graceful and elegant. I also really like the Charente limestone, it's such a lively warm colour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig it seems quite sad that the driveway is not still in use. I would love to find our home at the end of an avenue like that :-) Take care Diane

      Delete
  5. Enjoyed the tour through the town. We have a chute on our house similar to that which was put in to deliver wood for the fire place to the cellar storage area. It goes into our house through the chute but the entry is through another house so we have a right of way which is recorded by the Notaire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michel that is interesting that the entry is not actually in your house. Sounds like France tho'. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  6. I did like that little house....I must see if I can find a map to show what is at the end of the driveway.

    These photo tours of yours are so helpful when I'm trying to show my new neighbours what France is like outside Paris!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fly if you look on Google Earth there appears to be a lone swimming pool at the end of the driveway! There is however a large building on the Western side but I am pretty sure this is the hall where they hold the wine festival. It still remains a bit of a mystery to me.

      Glad that my tours are of some use :-) Keep well, Diane

      Delete
  7. So much history in those buildings! I love the tree lined driveway - beautiful photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam I love all the historic building around France. Everyone seems hooked on the lined driveway :-) Take care Diane

      Delete
  8. That is so interesting Diane. Wish I had some of those old stones from the collapsed building. Love those historic places. We can only imagine what it must have been like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Becca we have a pile of stones here that we have gathered from the garden I can send over to you :-)) I also love all the history here in France. Our own house which is well over 200 years old is built of stone, all of which is local. So glad that you back blogging again. Take care Diane

      Delete
  9. Lovely photos Diane.... I like the two of the river Bandiat winding it's way through the town:) Have a good week!
    ~Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne it is a pretty town and the river is one of its best features. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  10. What a lovely peaceful place, and well photographed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Vera, it always seems to be peaceful in these places when I take photos, guess I must pick on lunch time :-) Hope you are warmer and drier down there now, Diane

      Delete
  11. An interesting little place, shock-full of history and so very very French.
    I wish I could have joined you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Friko so many of these little towns are full of history and such a pleasure to walk around. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  12. I remember Mr. Mayoux quite well as he was a good friend of my grandfather and as a little girl I went to his place a couple of times in Pranzac for a meal.
    His house was on the main square ( facing the lanterne ).He was a successful business man, setting up a couple of camping grounds in the Charente as well as selling tents and caravaning equipment but I can't remember the name of his company ( might come back to me in the night!)
    He was about the same age as my grandfather so long gone I suspect ( about 110! )
    There is also a beautiful little chateau near Pranzac at Lachaise, but I believe it is privately owned but can be glimpsed quite well, espc. in winter from the road to Montbron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Isabella, what a coincidence and thanks so much for the contact and comment. It is really good to have first hand information. The large building opposite the lanterne is where the hall is when we go to the wine festival, so maybe that is where his home originally was. The driveway goes to nowhere now, but I suspect that was all one place originally. Google earth shows it quite well. Thank you so much for filling in this extra information, I do appreciate every bit of history I can get. Take care Diane

      Delete
  13. btw, the chute is ( or rather was ) was delivery of coal prior to winter.
    It would have been still in use probably in the sixties ( at the latest )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder what they get delivered there nowadays or maybe it is simply used as a wine cellar:-) They are probably on main gas heating as I am sure Pranzac would have it in this day and age. We live in the middle of nowhere so we do not have this luxury. We have a combination of oil, wood and electricity, the latter has become very expensive though! Having said that, oil and wood have also gone up a lot in price! Diane

      Delete
  14. I've never been to this particular little town but it feels very familiar all the same. I'm especially happy to see a picture of a typical small-town boulangerie - on a cold and dark February night in England it cheers me up hugely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil so many of the little towns in France are similar but they all have their bit of history which makes them so different. Glad you enjoyed the boulangerie, wish I could send you some nice warm bread :-) Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  15. Just thinking about the Twelfth Century makes my head spin. We have no building of that age in the US. It is amazing that so many structures survived the abuses of war and then neglect over the centuries. Lovely photos and a charming town.

    Bises,
    Genie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Genie I also find it amazing. Having lived in Africa most of my life, old buildings were built in the mid-eighteen hundreds, so very different to what I see now in France! Keep well Diane

      Delete
  16. There are so many historic little villages near you. It must be fun and educational visiting them. The mind boggles at what the two figures are doing in that sculpture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane he he I have to agree. It is fun visiting these places. I will be glad when the weather changes and we can get out visiting a bit more. Take care Diane

      Delete
  17. I love your historical posts and pictures. There is so much to explore in southern France and so much varied history to learn! Congratulations on being so adept at learning so much about the places you visit. Our area of France (the Lot) is also very old and we understand our litte "fermette" is over 300 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Broad, there really is so much history here to find out about, sometimes it is not easy to track places down though! We believe our place to be over 200 years old but it could be anything! It certainly looks well established in the Cadastral plan of 1839. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  18. Thank you for sharing another wonderful day trip with us. Your photos are fabulous. Almost - almost - as good as being there. Have a great day, Diane. Blessings...Marywonderful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary it would be wonderful to visit these places with you, one day maybe.... Keep well Diane

      Delete
  19. I love your pictures of old stonework; I find that little bridge especially beautiful! It looks like you had a marvelous visit in this little town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marjie, the stonework here is beautiful and there are some gorgeous old bridges around. Hope you have solved the deer problem in your garden! Keep well Diane

      Delete
  20. Excellent man-made subjects and what a beautiful avenue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JM it was a lovely place to visit and pretty much unspoilt over the years. Diane

      Delete
  21. Très intéressante présentation d ce petit village à travers sa longue histoire.
    Le monument de la "lanterne " du cimetière est vraiment original!
    Bonne journée à vous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci pour le commentaire. Nous voyons maintenant trois lanternes des morts dans la Charente. bonne journée. Diane

      Delete
  22. Lovely place!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Bon journee!
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very interesting with all the old buildings, Diane! And I love the doors. They all have a story to tell, for sure! The building you like, below the photo with the delivery chute, is definitely unique with the way the stones are laid in a manner to make them fit. Thanks for another great tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam our own home is built in a similar style as are many of the old houses here in France. Glad you enjoyed the tour. Diane

      Delete
  24. Excelente reportagem de valioso Património....
    Cumprimentos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obrigado. Nós gostamos de procurar a história. Bom dia. Diane

      Delete
  25. I really love to read your blogs and look at your pictures of these lovely wee French towns. These stone buildings are wonderful and as for that tree lined path - I'd just love to walk along that. Thanks for sharing your lovely part of the world :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellie I also love that tree lined old road, wish we had a lane like that up to our house:-)) Keep well Diane

      Delete
  26. I so enjoy your tours. If my husband and I were in the same area, we wouldn't be able to read the history on the signs that you find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. backroadjournal I struggle to read much of it but N copes pretty well. Glad you enjoy the tours. Diane

      Delete
  27. Diane what beautiful building and pictures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Glloria, it is a pretty little town. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  28. I see a face on that first photo!

    It must be exciting to attend an event such as wine testing or anything that is realted to wine. I am not a wine drinker but it is something I would love to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose you are right there is a face there that I had not seen before, well done. I love the wine and cheese tasting events but the latter is always too expensive to buy at these things! Diane

      Delete
  29. La France est belle et cette ville est magnifique.
    Une très belle promenade.
    A bientôt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadji Je suis d'accord, la France est belle. A bientôt. Bon week-end. Diane

      Delete
  30. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VILLAGE DEAR DIANE, I ENJOYED VERY MUCH THE PICTURES. THEN, THERE IS NO NUTS OR TENTS ANYMORE, BUT AT LEAST THERE IS THE WINE!. TAKE CARE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pamela you are right, I will take the wine in preference to tents and nuts any time LOL. Take care Diane

      Delete
  31. Another beautiful place to visit. Love that doorknob...really interesting. Thank you again for taking us along the trip.
    Kristy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Little Space I cannot make up my mind about that doorknob, I think it is a bit spooky having a hand appear through the door :-) Diane

      Delete

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!