There is so much of interest here, that I took 61 photos!!; I whittled these down, with the hope that I have picked the best. The village lies just over Charente's eastern border, in the Haute-Vienne, close to the perimeter of a huge crater created by a meteorite 200 million years ago - of which more another time! The settlement has a fascinating more-recent history, as you will see below.
The smaller sign above is written, I suspect, in either the language of Occitan (Oc) or a dialect (Oïl), which was spoken by the peoples of the region in medieval times. Both these words means "yes" in the respective languages, but the latter is now unfortunately reported as becoming extinct.
The very imposing mairie!
A street scene, with village shop, providing groceries and many other useful services, like gas bottles, Wi-Fi, mail box and photocopying! Few of these local businesses have survived supermarket competition, so the villagers have a rare treasure here!
The sign marks a local tourist route, set up to honour Richard the Lionheart (King Richard I of England from 1189 to his death in 1199), who spent much of his time in the region during the latter part of the 12th century as a ruler and commander, notably in the Third Crusade against Saladin. His mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Henry II, and he spoke in the local dialects mentioned above.
The village was also on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, so it must have been an important and busy place, with travellers always passing to and fro.
The church was commenced in 1075 and dedicated to Saint Eutrope, who was a regional bishop, martyred in the 3rd century. It is a striking example of Romanesque architecture, but having unfortunately been sited both on quite a steep slope (as you can see above) and next to a spring, it suffered greatly from damp and a slippery earth floor. This was was only levelled and paved in the 19th century!
Close up of decorative arches and carving over the entrance door
The church underwent major reconstruction in the 12th century when the priory was added. Built to accommodate a chapter of 12 religious men, who were of a status senior to monks, it originally comprised only two rooms, a ground floor communal room (still used today!) and a dormitory above.
The nave and altar
Ancient masonry and stained glass windows
View towards the entrance door.
The following series of photos are of the magnificent 12th century frescoes, only discovered by accident in 1986, when restoration work required the removal of walling which had been covering them!
The themes, high quality and the richness of their colours make them unique in western Europe.
Panels depict scenes from both the old and new testaments, which include the 'Creation' (Adam and Eve) and the 'Nativity' (Birth of Jesus), as well as illustrations of the vices, greed, violence, vanity and lust, and the brutal death of Saint-Eutrope. Other frescoes on the south and north walls continue the themes with dedications to male and female saints (all of whom where martyrs) and priors.
A side doorway with wall statue
Presumably a font; note how the floor paving has been roughly taken up so as to accommodate the base!
A niche dedicated to Saint Eutrophe, now sadly lacking the effigy
Moving 2 kilometres down the road to the neighbouring hamlet, simply, but confusingly, called Lavauguyon, where the lavoir, originally providing the village's laundry facility, can be found beside a bridge over this small watercourse.
Lavaugyon is also the site of a 12th century ruined castle, which must have seen action in the times of Richard the Lionheart
It is now slowly being restored by voluntary labour, but I hope they get on with the work before it collapses and disappears for ever!
This looks serious!
The prominent memorial, sited on a green next to the church, to those of the village who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914-18.