Friday, May 23, 2014

THE TOWER



On a recent trip my GPS screwed up and guided me through some small village in the middle of rural french nowhere. While these navigation systems are indispensable when you are trying to drive in rural France, sometimes I do think they makes us loose our natural ability to find our way. Or the programmers throw in some minor detours that do appeal to our "THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT" part of the brain.

Since it was coffee hour, I decided to make the detour into a break and stopped for un petit Café dans un petit village en millieu de nowhere.  While sipping away, I had this great view of a medieval tower right in front of me. Being the tourist, I took a picture, at which point the Bar owner told me that he has the tower`s key if I`d like to climb it for an even better view.
Well, there is a story that started eerily similar once in Egypt when we went to see the pyramids and an entrepreneurial local wanted to make us believe that only he had a key to the pyramids and for a modest fee he`d be willing to give us a very private tour..........but this being rural France, I am sure that nice man would not try to extract five Euros from me? And he did not.

The village is located on top of a hill, along the trail that Richard Lionheart took through France. The tower is the only remaining structure of a much larger fortification one located there. Not sure who built it, I am that kind of a tourist. No details please. Rough outlines will do. Google help you.

So I took the key, not expecting anything than a rickety staircase, but to my surprise at one point in it's life, that tower was turned into a water storage facility. All restored in concrete with a solid staircase winding it's way up to the open, fortified platform.
I am glad I made that climb. The view was very inspiring and you can't help but wondering what life was like those days.  900 years ago in rural France.  I am sure they talked politics back then too.
 If you think about it, Richard Lionheart may have been the first example of the perfect British expat, living in southwest France, enjoying the good life, drinking the best wines and eating the best food, building houses way too big for his needs, all the while making money in his kingdom across the channel.....inspiring concept, dear Brits. I am impressed by your lineage of early settlers.





JARNAC EARLY IN THE MORNING

SO MUCH COLOR

KING RICHARD, THE ORIGINAL EXPAT

THE TOWER



MODERN INTERIOR

ON THE GROUND LEVEL

HALF WAY UP

WHAT A VIEW




3 comments:

Ken Broadhurst said...

Richard Coeur de Lion was more French than English. His father was from the Anjou, and his mother was Aliénor d'Acquitaine, your area. His native language was the langue d'oc — l'occitan. All the British royals and aristocrats were French-speaking for centuries, starting with Guillaume le Bâtard (aka the Conqueror).

H.Peter said...

Looking up my high school grades......barely passed History.
and it shows!

But the revenue generating scheme from England is correct, right?

Ken Broadhurst said...

I'm not a big fan of the Brits in France. They are kind of clueless. And very arrogant about the whole thing.