Sunday, May 24, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - Jardins d'Eaux & Fenelon in the sun

We're off following a Michelin Green Guide tour, one we started with Janis and Clark, with a chateau-fort we visited in the rain with Judy. We've never been able to complete the tour. Today we will at least check off a couple of things on the tour.  It's sunny but very windy which makes it pleasant when in the sun and chilly when the sun goes behind a cloud.  Jackets are in order even though the temperature is in the low 70s.

First stop is les Jardins d'Eaux (water gardens) in Carsac. It's a hidden jewel. Water gardens of every type include calm waters, water jets, streams, running water.

Their specialty is water lilies and lotus and they are showcased in lots of environments as the gardens cascade down the hillside toward the Dordogne.

Benches and picnic tables (which we use for lunch) encourage you to spend time enjoying the calmness of the gardens.
I'm not sure why so glum, there's wine for lunch

There is a large waterlily pond with a bridge copied from Monet paintings.

Frogs croak happily under the lily pads.

It's early spring and the landscape will change as the seasons unfold.

Janis, Christine - do you know what flower this is?
Various water lilies and lotus will open at different times so that the garden will be colorful the whole season.

A special aquatic "labyrinth" allows you to walk boardwalk paths past varieties of water plants. There's not much to view right now, but photos show it in summer bloom and it would be well worth wandering through to look at all the different varieties of water plants.
Dave about to descend into the bamboo forest

Next, it's time to see Fenelon in the sun and it's well worth the effort, although we have to contend with a hold-on-to-your-hat wind.

We've been here before, but now the weather will allow us to truly explore the outside of the castle with its 3 sets of fortified walls. It's a formidable castle, but apparently not impregnable. A bastion of Catharism, it was destroyed near the end of the Albigensian crusade, then rebuilt. The Fenelons were chased from their home in the Hundred Years War when the English took over the castle. At the end of the war, the castle was given to the de Salignac family.  It seems to have escaped the wars of religion, but it did add fortifications at that time. Finally, the original keep was pierced with Renaissance windows and the castle was modernized for comfort in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It is best known as the home of François de Salignac de la Motte Fenelon, the famous writer better known simply as Fenelon who was Bishop of Cambrai and tutor to Louis the XIV's children.

Today is a good day to see views from the castle of the surrounding countryside.

This well was in use into the 20th century

The doorbell of the castle

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