Maisonnais-sur-Tardoire is a commune of about 400 inhabitants, in the Haute-Vienne department, but only 20 minutes by car to the east of here.
Located on the ancient Roman road from Perigueux to Poitiers, the area has been inhabited since time immemorial! Underground silos (cluzeaux) used for crop storage, dating from the Merovingian period (when the Romans and Gauls held sway over France in the 5th - 8th centuries) have been discovered nearby.
The honey produced in the commune has the label "Regional Natural Périgord Limousin" and they have a notable honey festival to celebrate, attended by many beekeepers on the third weekend in September.
A view down the main street approaching the church. It's such a well-kept village!! The first thing one notices is the exceptional state of the buildings, even including the barns!; the stonework, mortar, painting, roof tiling and carpentry are all exquisitely restored, maintained and preserved!
The village church is dedicated to Saint-Cyprian. It was built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style and its square steeple is somewhat unusual.
The simple altar. Note too that domed stone vaulted ceiling, curved in two directions! How skillful is that, with 11 century building techniques!
The pulpit, obviously a later addition, but a plain design, in keeping with the original structure.
We visited the village to hear a concert by a local choir, of which a friend is a member. They learn and sing songs from countries all around the world.The list of songs they sang, if you should be interested, is at the end of this post.The singing was excellent, and in fact so well appreciated by the audience they did two encores!
Elaborate dovecote-porch entrance to the large house opposite the church.
The property also has a second gateway (the servant's entrance?) on the other side!
Looking down the immaculate main street, away from the church, note the house on the right. It's unusual, but it's not immediately obvious why this is so......
here it is again, from the other side.
It was built in 1905, not using the normal local granite, but using limestone from the Charente.See how the corners and frames to openings are carefully detailed in squared stone blocks. Expensive! Its mansard roof with dormer windows is a design feature generally found in much grander residences.Many of the other village houses are rendered (this was a fashion in times past, to show one's neighbours that one had the money to spend to upgrade one's house!) but this building really outdid all the neighbours! In 1910, the building was the local post office, but whether it was originally built as such isn't stated. Thankfully no-one has interfered with the original mason's fine craftsmanship and it remains unaltered to this day.
The entrance and window. More very expensive carving. This building is quite a statement of expense in a small country farming village. One wonders what the inhabitants at the time made of this lavishness!
Detail of the stone carving over the window.
The local Mairie (Mayor's office), the bus stop, and not forgetting the lady in black, of whom every French village has at least one!
and of course no village in France would be complete without a war memorial. To close, as promised, the concert programme!