Ingrandes, the one in Indre, not the one in Maine-et-Loire, or the one in Vienne, is a charming Poitevin village in the Brenne, due south of us. The population is 300. Here are a few photos I took in the village recently.
|The bridge over the Anglin at Ingrandes.|
|The medieval castle.|
|A small courtyard just off a narrow street.|
|A garden gate with an iron knocker in the form of a deer's leg.|
|The narrow street which leads down to the church, the back of the castle and the old ford.|
|Henry de Monfreid's house.|
Never heard of Henry de Monfreid? Neither had we, but a quick read of Wikipedia was rewarding. There is no question he was quite a dude, and that Ingrandes is quite a strange place for him to have ended up.
Here are the highlights: born 1879 on the French Mediterranean coast; died 1974 at Ingrandes. Author and adventurer, son of an artist who was friends with Gauguin. Spent the prime of his life in Africa and Arabia, running guns and smuggling. Began his career as a coffee trader in Djibouti. He and his wife (the daughter of the German governor of Alsace-Lorraine) had a house on the coast of Djibouti, but he spent his time sailing the dhow he had made for him, doing business and having adventures. In the summers his wife and children would go to the mountains in Djibouti or their house in Ethiopia. He made a lot of money trading hashish and bought a flour mill in Ethiopia, then built a power plant. During this time he converted to Islam and in the 1930s began writing his memoires. He was deported by the Allies to Kenya for the duration of the Second World War, and after the War, in his late sixties, arrived in Ingrandes, where he fairly openly grew opium for personal consumption and wrote best selling books. When money was short he pawned the family collection of Gauguins (after his death discovered to be fakes).
I'm amused that on the plaque on the house he is just described as a 'man of letters'.
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