Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Maison Renaissance

This 15th Century building on the main road through Preuilly sur Claise is a bit of a gem. Like many buildings in town it has suffered somewhat from the ravages of time, but not much in the way of "improvements".

There are one or two places where stone has been replaced, but the overall impression is one of age and faded glory. If it wasn't for huge farm machinery, logging trucks and semi-trailers loaded with turkeys rumbling past (not to mention Norbert and his mates) you could almost imagine yourself back in time.

Something that cheers my heart is the fact that it is still in use for its original purpose - it is a house, and still lived in.

The building on the left is Notre-Dame des Echelles, a church founded in 1184. There will be more on this when we work out more of its complicated history.



  1. I agree, this old house is beautiful in its raw state. Could have been the rectory of the church next door, who knows?
    Is it being restored, since I can see the two windows on the right being boarded up?

  2. If you have a look at this crop of the picture, you can see that what looks like boarding is actually small squares of coloured glass in leading.

    I dont think it's a rectory, there is a rather fine Hotel attached to the other side of the church. I would post a pic, but the sun is always in the wrong place whenever I go past. (assuming the sun is out, of course!)


  3. For CHM's benefit, no we do not think it is being restored, or at least not with any sense of urgency. It falls into that category of French houses that someone might visit occasionally; but one cannot bet that this will be the year.
    The trouble is that for those of us with a great curiosity for what might lie behind these facades, it is a matter of sheer luck often to get invited in when someone happens to be about. This house lies at the end of a street in which many of the wealthier merchants lived in medieval times. Somewhere in one of the semi-ruins in this street is said to be the most magnificent fireplace in Preuilly.

  4. Thank you Simon for the link. What I thought were "parpaing", concrete blocks, are squares of colored glass as evidenced by the larger picture
    Thank you, also, to Anonymous for the added details about Preuilly's architecture.
    I have been reading this blog for some time now and it makes me want to know Preuilly in the "flesh." I might get there later this year when I visit with my friends in Mareuil-sur-Cher. If I am lucky, and if he is not too busy, maybe the Maire will give me a ride in his vedette along the Claise! Some sort of "bateau-mouche!"

  5. chm
    Hopefully, when you visit, the Maire will be doing our plumbing and heating, and FAR too busy to do boat rides!!!

    If you're in the area, though, you could pop in and be introduced. Champagne is served promtply at 11.00am.....

    All this depends, of course, on the sale of one Australian house.

  6. Champagne? For elevensies? We're there!!!

  7. Update on the Renaissance house. When quizzed last night our neighbour said that it was owned by an American woman who used to visit in the warmer summer months. Our neighbour is not aware of visiting more recently. Apparently it is 'Listed' and there are three rather nice fireplaces and three very old and time-worn (probably stone)staircases.
    The former church building next door is (was?)owned by an artist. It was sold to him by the town, which thus evaded the problem of repair and upkeep. From time to time he raised money quite energetically by holding concerts (small orchetra)and exhibitions. Will try to glean more from other heighbours.

  8. When we first went househunting in Preuilly, we were taken to see the former boulangerie across the street from the Renaissance house (every one is - and someone has obviously bought it now too !!) A man emerged from the Renaissance house and chatted with us, saying he was the boyfriend of the American woman who owned the house. I think the house has been very sensitively conserved, as opposed to restored.
    And Walt - it will be our very good local crémant. We have several times been invited to champagne at 11am and assume it is a local custom, which we are only to happy to join in with.

  9. Walt

    Champagne at 11 appears to be a local tradition. We have been invited to champagne at 11 by neighbours (and very nice is was too - complete with Madame L's homemade cassis). Even if it isn't a tradition yet, it soon will be.

    Only for special people, of course....

    Anon - There is a lady of a certain age who sits at one of the ground floor windows of the maison - just where you can't see her - on sunny days who "bonjours" people as they walk past. She managed to startle me 3 times one day.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there is a worn stone staircase - the old boulangerie across the road has a spiral staircase so worn it resembles one of those spiral fairground slides.

    I will post a picture of it in an upcoming blog


  10. Susan - will you PLEASE stop repeating everthing I have said before I get a chance to say it?? :)

  11. As WCS said, it's OK for champagne. See you then.
    I hope you can sell your house in Australia very fast so you can settle permanently in that pleasant looking village.
    And thanks to Anonymous for the information.