The town of Nanteuil-en-Vallée is located in the north of the Charente department. The population fell quite sharply after the losses suffered in the First World War, but subsequently recovered and in 2012 numbered 1452. It has a mixture of house styles, mostly of stone and some half-timbered, all very traditional - dating back at least to the 12th century. A historic and popular area for all kinds of outdoor pursuits!
The maps shows the topography and suggestions for rambles and view points.
The village lavoir, a subject on which I have often written, where in years gone by, the ladies used to meet to do their washing and exchange gossip.
The thirteenth century Church of St. Jean the Baptist is open to the public again after ten months of closure. The roof was seriously threatened with collapse and much work has been done. There is still a lot of restoration needed, but costs are high and it will take time. Meanwhile the church is back in use while work continues.
It boasts some wonderful stained glass windows and stone vaulted ceilings.
and this lovely carved entrance door.
The Auberge Le Saint Jean, which was a highly recommended and popular restaurant, has sadly since closed down. You can see part of the church in the background. Happily, another hostelry still survives in the town, a blessing when so many country restaurants have closed down due to the economic crisis.
Fontaine Saint-Jean. There are steps inside leading down to the water source, which runs through the town. It is piped from the abbey and appears here and a couple of other places nearby.
Anne walking through the streets of Nanteuil-en-Vallee, when she visited with us in May last year.
I loved this old picture on one of the walls.
The remains of the 12th century Benedictine Abbey of Notre-Dame de Nanteuil are the main tourist attraction in the village.
Unfortunately it was closed that day and we could not go in to see it!
A narrow village street leading to the Treasury
The plaque recording that this present abbey was built on the site of an earlier, 8th century abbey founded by Charlemagne. At one time a very large abbey, you can now only see the sturdy Treasury building, its walls inset with high arches. Although given this specific name, its use is not actually known!
Little remains of the other main abbey buildings, but there are enough ruins to give one an idea of the original layout, so we are told!
Our last part of the visit was to the arboretum, created by the local authorities for the benefit of residents and visitors. I could have spent more time walking around there, but our schedule didn't permit it!
Ann taking photos in the well-kept gardens.
The river here is named L'Argentor, a 30km long tributary of the Charente river, formed by the separate streams called L'Argent and L'Or (silver and gold), no doubt a reference to their perceived colours in the sunshine!
See also my daily Photo Diary Here
My Life Before Charente New scanner - New post 20/01/2015