Before I start with this latest missive, I am delighted to announce that, having just completed 2 years of blogging, I have now accumulated 200 plus followers. Wow, it is hard to believe, but very gratifying, that so many of you out there find my blog worthy of all that support. My thanks to every one of my followers, not only for reading my blog, but for leaving such kind comments.
At first glance, Confolens (not far up the river from the chateau at St Germain I featured 2 blogs ago) would not appear to offer much in the way of memorable visual experiences, but with a little advance research, and the expenditure of some shoe-leather, these are the foremost historical locations to be discovered in the town, which is built on an old Roman road.
The picturesque highway sign on the town approach.
The present bridge across the Vienne river is built of granite and limestone and it replaced a Roman bridge. It dates from the end of the Middle Ages, but has been considerably altered. Until they were demolished in 1777, it boasted three fortified towers, some 10 metres (33 feet) high. The last span on the left replaced a drawbridge. Being for many years the only bridge on this section of river, it saw a heavy traffic of men, animals and merchandise. All of these had to thread their way past shops, built on the bridge, but now long gone!
The striking architecture of the hospital, which was originally the convent of St Clare. In 1792, the hospital was transferred here from the "old town" nearby. An upgrade in 1895, paid for by a legacy, altered the facades and increased the building area. Further extensions were built between 1927 and 1932 to accommodate the 205 bed spaces which there were in 2005.
For further information see HERE
A view across the Vienne from the hospital to the church of St Maxime
The imposing entrance to the church of Saint Maxime is a work of the 13th century, and in typical local Limousin style. The church is confined by adjacent buildings and it was difficult to get back far enough to take this photo!! The original romanesque church, mentioned in records from 990, has disappeared as a result of numerous reconstructions.
and on going inside, one finds an interior completely altered in 1499, to provide two unequal naves, separated by elegant columns.
The large stained glass windows are relatively recent!! They were made upcountry, at Tours, in the 19th century
A number of 15th and 16th century colombage (half-timbered - or "post and beam" in the USA) houses still survive in the Rue de Soleil area near the church, as can be seen in the two photos below.
This nearby fountain, now converted into a planter, caught my eye.
The old donjon on a hilltop, all that remains of the castle of Confolens.
Views from the top of the hill, with the tower of Saint Pierre church very prominent in the centre.
The gateway (from the outside) of the 13th century Courthouse, which also allowed entrance to the castle and the town. The existence of a courthouse testifies to the importance of the justice system in operation in Confolens at this early time.
(and from the inside)
and I was proud of this view I shot from inside the gateway, framing the Saint Maxime church spire.
If you should want to stay in the area, it sounds as if the centre of Confolens may not be the ideal place for you; see Leon's blog HERE
Not very far away from the town, one of my followers has a B and B at Exideuil see HERE . Please note that I do not normally "plug" any commercial activities on my blog, but in celebration of my new 200 follower milestone, I have decided to make a very rare exception!! I must emphasise that we have not visited or stayed there ourselves, so leave you entirely to form your own opinions!!