2018 Day 109 – Charroux

Having fallen headlong in love with the Bourgogne region I have a bad case of the “I don’t want to go home” blues. It doesn’t help stopping at a Carrefour. My favourite way of discovering a new place is through its food. Given that we’re running supplies down in anticipation of the end of our trip, to wander through a Bourgogne store, finding all its regional specialities and not being able to buy everything in sight, does not help. Look at all those new cheeses waiting to be tasted!

And those crevettes! The one sitting on top was the size of my forearm – I kid you not. Easily bigger than a lobster.

There’s a bit of grumbling at my end about wanting to start again, perhaps from this region, from today, and do it all again. I’m sure travel is additive. The only known cure is more travel.

Meanwhile, the signs that we’re on the homeward stretch continue to unfold before us. We cross the Loire river, moving out of the south east, now firmly in the centre of France.

As it always does in the final weeks, time speeds up, bringing the end that much closer each day.

The scenery continues to delight. This is a truly beautiful region. Squiz and I have been most excited about Autumn. He especially, given that he has no responsibilities to collect nuts.

We’re making our way to another of our lovely Les Plus Beau Villages: Charroux, once a tax free stronghold attracting tanneries and wine makers to the region during the Renaissance period.

Of course it’s gorgeous, only adding to me dragging my homebound feet. We’re little late in the day to seek out its specialist products, but do manage a walk though the village in the late afternoon.

There’s an excellent self guided tour that takes us through all the highlights. We start at the fortified wall and remaining tower from the 14th century. Like others we’ve seen, it too was used as a prison at one time. They must have frozen in there.

From there, it’s on to the Eglise St Jean Baptiste (13th century) which has two extraordinary features. There’s its truncated tower: no-one knows why it wasn’t finished.

And if that wasn’t unusual enough, there’s a grotto, the first I’ve seen inside a church.

We walk to the belfry, one of the original entrance gates,

past a 14th century house, Maison a Colombages.

I’ll be needing to pop back there tomorrow – I can see all types of mustards inside.

Accessed through a narrow pathway is heart of the village, a tiny round “square”, charmingly called Cour des Dames.

Also unusual is very high number of wells discovered in the village – 300 at last count.

There are nowhere near 300 houses here.

Our tour rounds out at the 13th century eastern gate

and the ancient covered market, Les Halles.

The large stones at the base were placed there to prevent horse and cart collisions with the pillars.

Spotting the lights strung across the village, I drag Chris back at twilight, hoping to see the village lit up. It’s not to be – I suspect they’re unfinished Christmas lights, but I am rewarded with a beautiful twilight sky.

What a pretty place this is.