Wow! The market is really crowded. You can hardly move. And not many of them are shopping. Lots of Dutch are appearing now.
The parking lot is full, but we do manage to find places for two. But you have to be very skinny to get in or out of the car as there are trees - rather large trees - growing between many of the parking spaces which narrows the parking space considerably from its already inadequate width.
We do a bit of touring and shopping blended together, stopping first at the abbey squares and the church. The market seems almost as large as the Saturday one with booths on most of the pedestrian streets in the main squares of the town.
|Sunlight plays on the wall of this abbey church side chapel|
Home for a lovely picnic lunch in our own garden. After lunch we head off to Monpazier.
For a period of about 150 years (1222-1372), French nobility built walled and gated towns within which were laid out streets in a grid pattern with a market place in the center. The church is no longer the center of town, but business and industry has taken over. The purpose of building these bastides was to protect and grow the population which had so diminished in the Albigensian crusade (when the Catholics killed off all the Cathars whom they believed to be heretics). Taxing the developing commerce provided income to the landowner, replacing tithes on farm production. The nobles made money by bringing markets (for which they charged vendors) to the town and by charging taxes on roads and bridges used around the towns.
|Christie ready to enter Monpazier with its church and market square behind|
|Monpazier's market square taken from under the covered part of the market square|
To attract people to these towns, special privileges were given in charters to the people. These included such things as land, self-government, and no taxes. Families moving to towns were then "free men" rather than serfs of the landowner. More than 600 of these towns were built in this short 150 year period, of which about 150 still remain in some sort of recognizable form.
Monpazier is one of the best examples of these bastides. It is still walled, gated, and still possesses its arcaded houses surrounding a market square with its pavillion still intact. It's a wonderful city to walk around in. And while we see lots of Dutch license plates in the parking lot, it's amazingly quiet and peaceful on this beautiful sunny day.
standing in front of the arcaded houses at the corner.|
Notice how the buildings "lean" into each other. Age or intention?
Exiting between these houses leads down one of the main streets toward the town gate by which we entered
The market square is the center of the city and is still surrounded by arcaded houses and its wooden covered market. The arcades shelter shops on the lower level with families living on the upper stories.
season is starting and we are seeing more stores open now.|
A feature of a bastide is the setback of shops protected by the arcaded walkway.
Houses were built above these arcades and shops by wealthy families
floor above the arcade is insulated by "wattle and daub"|
mud mixed with horse hair and stuffed between the floor supports.
The market square still has its system for weighing grain.
to empty the grain from the "scale" into a sack.
|Christie standing next to the largest of the grain buckets.|
Radiating from the 4 corners of the market are the main thoroughfares of the city which lead to the gated entrances.
The church is located on one of these thoroughfares just adjacent to the market square.
|Statue of an unhappy monk outside the church. Not sure what's making him unhappy|
plaque inside elebrates the 700th anniversary of the church in 1992 when the
Pope was Jean-Paul II|
the bishop was Gaston Poulain, the priest was J Trougnac and the mayor was J Marie Delmon.
|A Romanesque church modified in later centuries|
The grid pattern provides glimpses down small alleys.
|Pat in front of alleyway. Tunnel goes through the ground floor of the house.|
Walking the rampart road that follows the town walls provides views to the surrounding valley.
and breakfast of Chris' friend along the ramparts of the city.|
It must have a beautiful view across the valley.
|Chris told me what these were, but I forgot. Chris?|
and purple iris. The yellow are pretty too.|
We are seeing iris everywhere now.
And poppies are popping now too.
lovely "atelier" redoes old furniture (like the chairs hanging
outside the shop.|
Beautiful workmanship, beautiful fabrics, lovely old chairs and sofas to be redone.
|Along the rampart road, there's a special spot for dogs to do their business. How thoughtful|
|Café where we had coffee while awaiting the explorers.|
|Pat and Chuck at the top of the Porte du Paradis entrance|
|Christie and Dave at the Porte du Paradis along the city walls.|
On the way to and from Monpazier, we drive beautiful countryside of small farms, grazing cows and horses.
|Dave's car had to stop while these cows crossed the road.|
We see farm families harvesting Perigordine strawberries which are shaded, 3 rows at a time, by half circles of plastic sheeting tall enough for workers to maneuver in. The berries produced in this area are known by their small size and their wonderful sweetness.
We drive through Belvès on our way home and Chuck gets a wonderful photo just before we enter the city.
|Belvès from the ridge|
Another s**tty day in paradise. Just ask Dave.