The Companion Guide to Gascony and the Dordogne (Companion by Richard Barber PDF

By Richard Barber

The nook of south-west France comprising Gascony and the Dordogne is the quintessence of provincial France. Many should be content material to benefit from the douceur de vivre, the nice nutrients and the unspoiled geographical region, yet in the event you have an interest long ago this can be wealthy terrain. a lot of England's historical past among 1154 and 1453 used to be certain up with occasions within the area, because the French lands of Henry II remorselessly slipped from the grab of the English kings. this is often the land of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Gaston Phebus, the scene of Richard I's loss of life, and of the Black Prince's triumphs and failures. it's also the panorama during which the various maximum medieval poetry and structure used to be created; the following some of the troubadours lived, and the lofty castles, Romanesque church buildings, and fortified villages in their time nonetheless beguile the traveler of this day.

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In later years Poitiers became a stronghold of the fanatical Catholic 'leaguers', who had sworn to eradicate the Huguenots, and had to be subdued in 1593 by Henri IV before peace was possible. At the top of the Boulevard Coligny the right-hand road leads to the Hypogée Martyrium, just off the N147 to Limoges. The key to the building is at 101 rue Père-de-la-Croix. It is a seventh-century memorial chapel, once thought to have been a memorial to the early Christian martyrs buried in the cemetery in which it was built, but probably a memorial to the abbot Mellebaude.

This is all now a pleasant pedestrian area, and many of the medieval buildings have been restored. The rue des Vieilles Boucheries comes out in the Place Lepetit, with the entrance to the Palais de Justice on the left. The Renaissance façade is deceptive; behind it lie the great hall of the palace of the Angevin kings, Henry II and Richard I, and the remains of its keep. ) The great hall, 150 feet by 60 feet, is one of the very few examples of a building of this kind to survive: Westminster Hall is perhaps the nearest parallel.

For permission to include three poems from Medieval Latin Lyrics by Helen Waddell my thanks are due to Constable & Co. Ltd; permission for the inclusion of the quotation from Arthur and His Times by Jack Lindsay was kindly given by Frederick Muller Ltd; and the quotation from 'When You are Old' by W. B. Yeats is included by kind permission of Miss Anne Yeats and The Macmillan Company of London and Basingstoke. I believe that this great peaceful region of France will always be a sacred spot for man and that when the cities have killed off the poets this will be the refuge and the cradle of the poets to come.

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