Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Inside a Private Renaissance Chateau


Original decoration on beams in a bedroom.

A long steep staircase from ground floor to first.

The attic, known as the dortoir (dormitory). 
As we walked its length the owner repeatedly reminded us to watch where
we stepped and pointed out that if we went through the floor we would fall two
storeys to the next floor below.

A bathroom in the attic, maybe 19th century, perhaps even earlier. The black stuff scattered everywhere is bat poo (what Virginie, the mammal expert who leads the twice yearly bat surveys would refer to as les crottes magnifiques). The room is obviously a significant summer roost.

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Le temps hier: It was so mild yesterday that I didn't bother lighting the wood stove until lunchtime. The house was 18.5°C inside when I got up, with no heating on at all.

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Loire Valley Nature: A new entry has been added for Green-underside Blue Glaucopsyche alexis, a large and lovely blue butterfly.
A photo of the tangerine underside of a Jersey Tiger moth  Euplagia quadripunctaria has been added to the entry for that species.

6 comments:

  1. We noticed the temperatures rising on Sunday afternoon/evening. We were sitting on the settee pulled up close in front of the fire with the central heating on, wrapped up in fleece jumpers (as we have been for the previous week) when we noticed that we were sweating!!

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  2. That carpentry in the attic is absolutely magnificent. Looks like an upside down boat.

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    1. The timbers are fairly rough in fact. It's impressive because it's a long unbroken space, but it doesn't look to me like it was originally constructed as living space (although it has been used as such in the past). Long attics like this often look like upturned boats, leading to ideas that boat builders came inland during certain seasons to build chateaux (a theory that I don't buy, I think they are just similar solutions and techniques for similar problems).

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    2. Any number of pictures I've seen of French attics look as if boatbuilders were there first. I think both of you may be right, that watermen taught their skills to others, so that those moved inland (and there would likely have been boatbuilders on inland rivers anyway). And that some of the techniques are similar, although I haven't noticed any attics that looked as if they used steambending.

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    3. I'm sure there was a natural exchange of information between the two groups, but you will sometimes read or hear that boat builders came inland to build chateaux on a seasonal basis, and that doesn't make any sense to me.

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    4. Maybe some of the builders worked on chateau-building crews. Boatbuilding can be pretty seasonal, and I can't imagine that it was any more materially enriching then than it is now, which is to say, it's no way to get rich.

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