The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Midsummer light, low from the north; the Mable overflows it's banks; a pretty 17th century walled town....

 The floods of 20 June 2013 had one unexpected consequence; the town's moat - usually running nearly dry - was completely submerged, and we all could see a visual version of the town's walls that had not been viewed since the last flood; in 1952, they say.

While the moat and walls, originally paid for by the King Louis XIII at the foundation of the town, are impressive, the Abbé Henri P. now feels it is a shame that the original appearance of of the 'Walled and MOATED city' is seen so very rarely in the originally conceived condition. The most unencumbered stretch of the town's girdling wall is the part facing north-west, including the so-called Porte de Chinon.  This situation is because the space inside the wall at this point was for most of its life since the 1640s, not minor houses as elsewhere, but a large nunnery.  The service alley that runs round the three other sides of the town does not exist in this stretch, and so no houses came to be built against the wall on the inside face.  Today it is the site of the town's multi-purpose hall. As a result the exterior moat has not been encroached with 'structures' and 'gardens' as elsewhere.

20th June - Midsummer's day - meant that the sunbeams of evening (maybe at 21 00h) washed the old north wall and towers with yellow light and long shadows.  Shadows of the fantastical plane trees that shelter the little town from the prevailing wind.

The last coincidence for a photographer - the calm and pretty reflections on the surface of the water  
mask the turbidity of the muddy water of the flood.

many more photos below


Susan said...

As you say, nice to see it as originally intended, rather than have to imagine it. What fun for you artistically, but a pain if your cellar flooded.

Abbé Henri Proust said...

Quite right! I felt the pang of guilt that the war photographer reports, as I messed about taking pretty pictures while others were being 'drowned'.

But I did help (later) with the squeegee, and did take in two poor (Aussie) refugees from the East for a few days!

Anonymous said...

It wasn't just cellars that were flooded to create your "artisic vision"
Many people are still trying to dry out their homes even now It is easy for visitors like you to speak of the 'structures' and 'gardens'in such disparaging tones. These are peoples homes you are looking down your nose at.

Abbé Henri Proust said...

Thanks for your comment, 'Anonymous'; I refer you to the earlier post about the flooding in les douves; obviously no-one was happy about that, and for some the clean-up must have been, or maybe remains still, a nightmare. At the time, everyone who was there pitched in with whatever help they could offer.
The inverted commas about structures and gardens refer to the Bâtiments de France and their rather strict views about the town's moat.

But the open moat on the north face of the town does indeed look pretty, and hadn't been seen in that (17th century) condition by anyone for 61 years.

Unknown said...

Good morning Abbé Henri Proust,
I just discover your Blog.
Living in Madrid but born in Richelieu where I spend my childhood.
I am so glad to find news of my dear town.
I will come back, sure.

Unknown said...

J´ai oublié de noter que jamais je n´avais vu le fossé qui longe le mur d´enceinte ainsi.
Belle journée.

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