Until recently we had never been to Crissay sur Manse. I don't know why. It's only an hour away from home and it's one of the officially 'most beautiful villages in France'. It is also somewhere I was recommended to visit soon after we bought our house in Preuilly. At the time I bought new hiking boots at a sports shop near Tower Hill underground station in London, which was convenient to my workplace. The sales assistant was French, so we got chatting. He said I must visit Crissay, and his winemaking mate there. Well finally, on the most beautiful day in October we made it to Crissay, but not to the winemaker, who would have been closed anyway (and to be honest, I've forgotten his name now, after 14 years).
Crissay was an absolute delight, and we were by no means the only people there. Everyone was so happy to be out and about between lockdowns, and even though the restaurant was closed, the village is so picturesque we were all just enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll in the sun.
|The official hiking/cycling/horseriding trail goes up the stairs and through the doorway in the village's defensive perimeter wall.|
The chateau here was an important stronghold during the Hundred Years Wars, during which it was partially destroyed. There had been a keep here, with underground galleries, since the 13th century. Later, in the 15th century it was rebuilt. A deceptively massive structure, depending on which direction you are looking from, it dominates the valley of the Manse, but not the village.
|Entering the village from the direction of Sainte Catherine de Fierbois.|
There is a remarkable collection of wonderful 15th and 16th century private houses in the village, testimony to the village's grand past. The narrow streets make taking photos quite difficult, and I feel like none of our dozens of photos really do the place justice. Even though clearly popular with flaneurs it was not crowded. It's the sort of place that locals will visit for a day out, like the other 'most beautiful villages' in our area, such as Angles sur l'Anglin, Montrésor and Candes Saint Martin. But these villages are rarely over run by hordes of tourists from further afield.
|The Logis de la Poterne, once the gatehouse to the chateau, now a private residence. When we passed the owner was proudly giving some friends a tour.|
There are very few modern structures in Crissay sur Manse, which gives it immense charm and authenticity. The lovely white tuffeau limestone houses feature carved stone mullioned windows, slate roofs and dormers.
|Should a gun port above the letterbox be standard everywhere? This is of course at the chateau gate.|
|Our visit was just a few days after the assassination of teacher Samuel Paty, and the former school, now a private home, had this tribute to his memory hanging from a window.|
|The main street. The square staircase tower in the middle belongs to a house from 1523 called the Maison Gaby.|
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