Saturday, 7 February 2015

A visit to Tusson in the Charente and four years of blogging!

On 8 February this year, I will have been blogging about My Life in the Charente for 4 years! At times it seems like I have been doing it forever! My posts have slowed up quite a lot, but I thank all of you who have been consistent followers! Since this blog started, I have set up two more, one about my Life Before Charente, (but digging through old diaries and photos is slow!) and my photo blog, the Daily Diary.

In May last year, Ann from Oxford was visiting us, and one of the many places we visited was Tusson. She has already written about it well here, so I am not going to repeat that - you can just look at her blog! I took a few different photos, so here is the village from my perspective!

The village of Tusson was situated on the old Post-Royal road from Paris to Bordeaux. Until 1950, it was very famous for donkey, horse and mule trading, which provided important prosperity for the town.

The settlement owes its existence to Robert d’Arbissel, who founded an abbey here in ancient times. Ruins of its two churches, which were destroyed during the French Revolution, still remain.



Some of the ruins.




This is the  entirely Gothic designed parish church of Saint-Jacques,  founded in 1227 for the town which had grown up around the abbey.  The supports of the West arch of the nave which date from about 1230 still remain. The church was extended in the 15th century; the steeple shown here was added at the same time. Some time later the whole church was restored. 





The murals in the bay under the steeple are the work of a Dutch painter, Emile Viagers, and were painted  in 1946.



The amazing stone vaulted ceiling. What craftsmanship!






 The Way of the Cross was painted by a Parisian artist, Robert Mantienne, who took refuge in Tusson during the Second World War.





Much older murals demonstrate their complete contrast with the 20th century works.

The monumental statue of Saint Jacques in the entrance is the work of a refugee from the Moselle during the same wartime period. Among other artefacts are a 17th century lectern and a fine 16th – 17th century crucifix which probably came from the great neighbouring abbey!!

Outside the church, life seems to go on as normal.  These are workmen from the Marpen club - see later -  on their way to lunch!

Since 1976, many houses in the village  representing the style of the town's traditional buildings have been restored by the archeological "Club Marpen", using the labour services of an international young peoples organisation.  The club also promotes public awareness of local heritage (See Anne's blog) and performs an important function in the area.

The door into the Robert Farmhouse. This imposing farmhouse was built in the Neo-gothic style, which was so popular in the 19th century. It was in this lodge that the inventor Joseph Alexander ROBERT (1807-1885) is said to have developed several of his inventions, one of which was an entirely new type of artillery rifle.



Below the farm, on the way to the fountain there is a well and a lavoir, both supplied with spring water.  I am sure that my followers are now more than aware that a lavoir is where the ladies used to meet to do their washing!



Library of old books.

The publishers Lérot, fairly recently founded by Jean-Paul Louis in Tusson (in 1982), are installed in a set of three old buildings separated by courtyards and gardens. These three buildings house an antiquarian bookstore with offices upstairs, an offset printing workshop and a finishing department respectively.



The Lodge of Marguerite

This lodge, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, was situated outside the abbey wall and close to the convent. Marguerite de Valois (1492-1549), the sister of King Francois 1, stayed there several times with the rest of her household when travelling between the kingdoms of France and Navarre (an ancient kingdom in the Pyrannean region), of which she was queen.

The buildings now house the museum of regional antiquities, the monastery garden with its medieval herbs, and plants arranged according to medieval designs and the regional heritage training centre.



The House of Heritage is an institution run by the  Marpen club, which consists essentially of a museum of arts and popular traditions and a monastery garden behind. 



Apologies for the odd spacing, Google has a mind of its own!!

See also my daily Photo Diary Here
My Life Before Charente New scanner - New post 11/02/2015

59 comments:

  1. I like the modern paintings in the church very much! Congratulations on the blog anniversary!

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    1. Thanks so much Ola, and thanks for following, you have been with me almost from the beginning. Take care Diane

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  2. Hi Diane, Well first of all , congratulations on ALL your blogging. You have so much to share and do well with your 3 blogs. So I know many more posts to come. Secondly , this is a fab post , we can now see it through each others eyes. So much to see and we both got different photos. You also answered one question for me on this post. I was confused about the church as I could not decipher if it had old and new murals. Amazing what we saw. Take care xoxo Anne

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    1. Thanks Anne it was such fun walking around together, and interesting to see the differences through each other's eyes. Glad I answered your question about the church :) Take care and keep warm Diane xox

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  3. What a charming village! I have been reading blogs since 2006. I just don't have the time anymore to visit my favorites and unless blogs are also posted on Facebook, I forget about them.

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    1. Thanks Nadege, you have been following me a long time and you have given me some interesting links. I know time is difficult which is why my blogs have got further and further apart. The diary though has missed very few days, but then there is no research for that just the photos. Keep well, bonne journée, Diane

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  4. Happy 4th Bloganniversary! I have enjoyed ayour posts/blog over the years, I hoep to see you for many more years.

    Velva

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    1. Thank you so much Velva and for following my diary as well. I also hope to be around for a number of years yet :-)) Take care Diane

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  5. Diane, congrats on your 4 years. I've been reading your blog for most of that time, and have enjoyed your posts with travelogues and food also. The church is beautiful with its great Gothic architecture; the intricate ceiling and paintings. And then there's the lavoir again, love it, and I can imagine all the village gossip that went on there! I'd like to see inside the bookstore. Thanks for the tour and here's to many more years of great posts on your blog! Take care

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    1. Thanks so much Pam, yes you are right you have been following mostly from the beginning and I appreciate it. Sadly the bookstore was closed but maybe one day we will return, it is not that far away. Keep well Diane

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  6. Hello Diane,

    Firstly, congratulations on your years of blogging, and your photos here are both beautiful and fascinating. May you have many more years to come, and thank you so much for all you share.

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    1. Thanks Linda, it is a joy sharing as it makes me do research so I learn about our local towns as I go along. It is a winner for me as well. Take care Diane

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  7. Happy 4th year Anniversary! I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog Diane. Marvelous photos of the town and those inside shots are incredible. Such history!

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    1. Thanks Denise, European history is so interesting but for us, learning about the local towns brings so much into perspective, It is a great learning curve. Keep well Diane

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  8. J'adore te suivre dans tes voyages. Merci.
    A bientôt

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    1. Nadji, Merci beaucoup, j'aime prendre des photos et apprenant l'histoire. A bientôt Diane

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  9. Love those old doors . . . especially at the Farmhouse!

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    1. Rick there are some amazing old doors around, they seem to last forever as they were so well made! Keep well Diane

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  10. I am always impressed by the old architecture and happy to hear of restorations. If it weren't for the old car or tractor it feels like we just walked back in time. You are an accomplished historian, and photographer.

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    1. Thanks Gaelyn for the very kind comment. The photographs are always mine, but Nigel helps a lot with the research and putting it all together. Sometimes we can only find information on French websites and quite honestly the translator can be very confusing especially when words have several meanings!! Thanks goodness for Nigel and his French which has improved tremendously since he moved here. Have a good week Diane

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  11. Bon anniversaire Diane et longue vie à votre blog!
    Merci de me faire visiter ces villages de l'Ouest que je ne connais pas mais qui sont pleins de cette histoire et de ces traditions!
    Bon dimanche à vous!

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    1. Merci Lucie. Je me demande que lorsque vous habitez dans un pays toute votre vie, vous n'appréciez pas toujours l'histoire. . Les visiteurs souvent recherchent l'information! Je suis heureux que vous suivez My Life in Charente,Revenez-vous bientot! Bonne semaine Diane

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  12. Happy 4 th anniversary! I really enjoyed reading your post and seeing the photos. It's great that the Marpen club exists and I love those old wash houses! X

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    1. Thanks Maggie, glad you enjoyed this post. Yes I agree it is good that there are people interested in restoration. We would loose a lot of history without them. Can you imagine all the gossip that used to go on in those wash houses! Take care Diane

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  13. Happy Blogday Diane. It's great to hear that many houses are being restored. It saddens me when you see so many beautiful buildings being left to fall down. They just need some love and attention, but lots of money x

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    1. Thanks Kerry. Yes money is the problem, it is sad that restoration cannot be done cheaply. For the younger generation it is cheaper to buy new and not have a place that needs continual work. Sad. Hope all is well, keep warm Diane xx

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  14. Happy blog anniversary and congratulations. It does often seem as if we've been blogging forever. The stone work on the ceiling in that church is just amazing. It must have felt like forever for those masons when they were builting it too :)
    Sam

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    1. Thank you Sam. I just wonder always how they managed that stonework without the implements that we have nowadays, and their workmanship is better and longer lasting than recent buildings! Hope all is well Diane

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  15. I love that they are getting young people involved in the restoration work. I hope they keep up the work there and the village alive.
    Congrats on 4 years!

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    1. Thanks Deana. Yes I agree it is good that restoration is becoming important to all, young and old. Hopefully there will still be many old villages around in another couple of hundred years. Keep well Diane

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  16. Hi Diane,
    Well, congratulations for the 4 years you've been blogging!
    It is quite something!
    I realise I started in 2009 but I haven't yet looked when it is my blog's birth date!!
    A great post with wonderful photos showing us about Tusson, a real reportage!
    Enjoy your afternoon, hugs from the central Pyrenees!

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    1. Many thanks Noushka for the kind comment. Bet it is chilly up there in the Pyrenees at the moment! Keep warm Diane x

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  17. Dear Diane congrats by all these years from your blog!! ALways beautiful and amazing pictures!!
    Thanks by your comment in my blog dear!
    xoxox

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    1. Thanks Gloria you have been following me almost from the beginning. I appreciate you kind comments. Take care Diane

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  18. I love all the history in these small and charming towns. Congrats on your years of blogging. I think I've been blogging just a bit longer. In that time I've seen so many blogs fall by the way side. It's nice to see you are still going :-)

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    1. Joyful you are right, so many blogs have fallen by the wayside, but I can understand as they are time consuming. Thanks for your kind comment Diane

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  19. Congratulations on your anniversary! I'm so glad to have recently found your wonderful blog. I love traveling to France and now get to live vicariously through your beautiful photography and experiences when I'm not there. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind comment, visit and folowing. I love to hear when people enjoy their virtual tours through our local villages. Have a great week Diane

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  20. i am so thankful for your blog. i get to travel to so many places with you and you document them so well! keep on blogging!!! i think i have been blogging since 2009. that's a lot of posts since i post almost every day. time sure flies!

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    1. Jaz I am delighted that you love my virtual tours, it makes all the effort of research so worthwhile. Take care Diane

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  21. I enjoyed my visit today, Diane. I think the reason I love France so very much is because all of these old churches, etc., are so lovingly taken care of. They are beautiful and I want to walk through each one. Now if I get started talking about the small, old villages, I would be writing a blog myself! Happy Anniversary on 4 years.

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    1. Hi Susan good to hear from you. I agree the churches here are amazing and they are so good about restoration. Thanks for your visit and have a great week Diane

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  22. You always have such amazing places to visit. Lucky lady!

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    1. Pam I feel we are very lucky to see these amazing places which are so historic :-) Keep well Diane

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    1. Thanks so much Regine, comment appreciated. Keep well Diane

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  24. While all of those buildings are beautiful, the vaulted stone ceiling is just astonishing. I'm always amazed by what masons can do with rocks, especially when they're just hanging in the air, as in arches and bridges. It's wonderful that the town is being so well restored - and I'm glad to see the lavoire still in evidence. Small things like that add so much to the character of a village.

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    1. Marjie i could not agree more, how did they do that work without the machinery and implements that we have these days. It is great that the towns are so keen to do restoration, and as you say they really do give character to the towns and villages. As an architect you must appreciate what they are up against. Hope that you both are well, Diane

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  25. Picture number 2 is my favourite!
    You advertise France so well, that the number of tourists must increase quite a bit!
    CONGRATULATION on your 4 years with blogging.
    I look forward to many more years.

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    1. Thanks so much for the great comment Gunn, much appreciated. Hope you are well Diane

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  26. Beautiful photos as ever Diane. I'm loving the vaulted ceiling in the church. I wonder if they would come around and build me something similar... Many congratulations on your four year anniversary.

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    1. LOL Craig a vaulted ceiling in your home in Scotland would be quite something. Thanks for the good wishes. Diane

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  27. Nice to have caught a post from you, and well done for the four years of blogging. As a thought I had a look at how long I have been blogging and it was 11th Jan 2009 when I started, which makes it 6 years. Crikey, how time flies!

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    1. Thanks Vera for the comment. My daily dairy takes up much of my blog time now and with no research. Life in Charente always means lots of research, and sometimes it is not easy to find out about the little out of the way places. Even My Life Before Charente takes up much time going through albums and trying to work out dates! Now if I had known about blogging when we bought the house in 2005........................ Wow 10 years this July when we first saw our house!!! Take care and have a good weekend Diane

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  28. What a beautiful post to celebrate your 4 years of blogging Diane, Tusson is a delight. As a lover all things ancient/old j'adore the old faded murals, they set my imagination alight :)

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  29. Sorry to have missed your blogging anniversary but my congratulations are heartfelt none the less. I always enjoy your wonderful posts…they are informative and beautifully presented.

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  30. A lot to see in such a small place! Thanks for the lovely tour my dear!!

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