Our goal for the day, Judy's last day, is to re-visit Villandry, famed for its gardens.
Most towns have a recreation center for people of all ages. They vary in size and function, but generally they are where the local activities are held. A large multi-function room provides space for meetings, dinners and other social activities. Often there are other rooms devoted to some particular purpose such as computers with Internet access. This community center houses a court for playing La Boule de Fort just behind a room with a bar and tables.
A Boule de Fort court needs its own space much as a bowling alley does. The court is curved, a bit like the hull of a flat-bottomed boat used on the Loire. Some claim that 19th century Loire sailors invented this game, but there is no real evidence of this. This sign greets you on entry:
|We ask spectators not to discuss the way players play although they should feel free to applaud well-played points by the teams.|
After greeting us at the door and making somewhat vague introductions, we enter the court to watch the game in progress. Two teams of three each are playing a game to 10 points where the boule (ball) closest to the small white ball (maître) wins the point.
The skill of those throwing the boules is quite amazing as both the ball and the court affect the trajectory in ways mysterious to us.
Driving two cars because of our number, the six of us arrive at Villandry just in time for lunch which we eat at our "usual" picnic table next to the grassy parking lot.
|This school group was arriving at the picnic spot just as we were leaving.|
The four who have never been are sent off to tour the château interior
|the arbor covered in roses. Me with my back brace and cane. sigh. getting old is hard work|
|what a lovely place to knit|
|the gentle fountain in front of my arbor|
Among the visiters are school groups. This group had booklets made and were writing and drawing in them as the teacher pointed out architectural details.
Careful plantings of lettuces, cabbages, and other vegetables within the geometric hedges provide a chessboard of colors in the vegetable patches. Rose trees are in full bloom at intersections within each patch.
|the tree trunks at the end with the metal bars they are tied to|
|a single branch is trained horizontally along iron supports|
The gardeners were ever present - this time replanting the the flower gardens.
|New plantings are laid out|
|Gardeners at lunch in the barn area. Do you suppose they are cooling their feet in the fountain?|
And the pear trees in the corners of the gardens have set pears now.
A few more pretty flower pictures from Villandry and then home.
|intrepid flower seekers, Nancy, Chris, Ron and Judy|
An after-dinner walk in the neighborhood vineyards for the 9:45 sunset.