Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Picnic in Bressuire

The Château de Bressuire is a ruined castle in the town of Bressuire.  This is not the ruined part!

The site has been inhabited continuously since the Celtic epoch. The castle was built on the site of an oppidum (a large fortified Iron Age settlement) of the Gauls and was first documented in 1029, in a charter at Saint-Cyprien de Poitiers. It belonged to the Beaumont-Bressuire family until the start of the 16th century.  (Beaumont!  My home town!)

The castle is a fine example of medieval military architecture. In 1190, the castle consisted of an enceinte almost 700 metres around, with 38 towers circling the first fortress, itself defended by eight towers.


The visible remains date essentially from the end of the 12th and the start of the 13th century. The fortress included three enceintes (a French term denoting the "main defensive enclosure of a fortification"), of which the outermost has now disappeared. The castle was broken up during the first half of the 18th century.



In 1441, Jacques de Beaumont became Seigneur de Bressuire. He converted the castle into a beautiful residence. From this time date the large building closing off the courtyard, that has mullion windows, splendid granite chimneys in the private rooms and an elegant gallery, all intended to show the refinement of the owner. The castle subsequently belonged to a number of families but its maintenance was ignored. In 1876, the building partly collapsed. The Bernard family bought the castle the same year. In 1880, a neo-Gothic château was built in the castle court, set back in relation to the former building.

It has been listed since 1996 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. (Wikipedia)

The site invites many artists to practice their creativity.  This little garden is whimsical and fun.  It leads you to its centre with big pink footprints.

 Is this the spider that frightened Miss Muffet away?

          "Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away."


An assortment of coloured pencils found throughout the garden.

A sharpener for those coloured pencils!
It's a very hot 35 degrees today, so we are seeking shade and keeping our activity levels low.
A very impromptu picnic, taking whatever we could find in the kitchen: olives, cherry tomatoes, baguette, melon, cookies, water and ginger-ale.  It was light and tasty and hit the spot.

I made sure to bring my fan to keep cool.  Isn't it beautiful?  A gift from my sister Val who taught in Japan for a year.

Since we came to France to ameliorate our French, Karl is reading "Le Petit Prince" to me and can ask the meaning of words he doesn't understand.  What a great activity!


Within the Château, there was an interesting exhibit of all the businesses that existed about 50 years ago in the town of Bressuire.

An old cash register because money is the basis of all business, is it not?  The amounts are in francs and centimes.

Scissors from the tailor.

All the various adding machines and calculators.

A General Store.

Imported coffee from Mexico.

 Vittel bottled water; different bottles used over the years.

The garden centre sold seeds, what we might call heirloom seeds today.

Local photographer.  Old cameras and dated ways of framing photos.  I love this style.


The pharmacy.

My doctor has a weigh scale that looks remarkably like this one...

Ledger books.

Pill press.  Anyone know what the contraption in the upper left might be?

Chocolate for the "Chocolatier", the chocolate maker.

Women's fashion store with shoes and hats.

Looks like a phone operating system.

Radios held a place of importance in the home.

The hair stylist.

The jeweler.

Not sure if this store made toys or sold them, but this little convertible has pedals for a child to push the car along.

This is a delivery bike. 


In a part of the grounds, there is a small garden that used to have all the herbs and vegetables from the medieval days, but now it is strictly for flowers.

But the flowers are planted according to the colour wheel.

"The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence.  No, not at all. 
Fences have nothing to do with it.  The grass is greenest where it is watered. 
When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass where ever you may be."

~  Robert Fulghum