Monday, June 20, 2011

May-June 2011 in the Limousin, France - Moleskine Drawings, Part 1 ~ Visiting Villages and Vide Greniers

I decided to do the posts of my moleskine drawings in parts, otherwise it would be too long of a post! This one post is already very long ... oops! So here's Part 1 ~ drawings done in some of the different towns and villages we visited while in the Limousin and one visit into the Perigord Vert area of the Dordogne.

Naves, France
drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Place de l'Église - Naves, France
May 2011 - Correze area of the Limousin

We like to go to French Vide Greniers (literally: sale attic (attic sales))! In the Netherlands, outdoor flea markets, car boot sales, rummage sales, etc., are few and far between - actually, home yard sales never happen in Holland except on Koninginnedag - pity! So we look forward to finding the vide greniers on our trips to France. I even bookmark an online site that lists the Vide Geniers, Fetes (festivals) and Foires (fairs) all over France.

We're never in search of anything specific, but you never know when you might happen upon that little something you just can't live without. Mostly we just find small things - like old bar/tabac ashtrays, drink glasses, sometimes old buttons, sometimes antique pieces of pottery, toys, old books... uhm, junk!

It was a fairly hot day in May when we visited the town of Naves, which is just north of the city of Tulle. There was a Donkey Fair and a Vide Grenier there, so, off we went. Didn't buy anything, but I did get to see the donkeys ... I'm crazy about donkeys. We had some cold drinks at a restaurant across from the church, where I did the drawing above. I was interested in the trees in front of the church - they had such unusual thick trunks with interesting patterns in the bark (I guess you'd call it bark) and they were trimmed in an interesting manner.

Me drawing the trees:
photo copyright Auke Nijholt

While my Kermits enjoyed the cold drinks:
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong

Those Kermits are always begging to stop for a drink somewhere ... and we always oblige. ;o)


copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Restaurant/Bar "Le Champsac"
May 2011 - Champsac, France

Another trip for another vide grenier, and a village fete. We did buy a glass bar ashtray here - advertising Ricard Pastis which is an anisette flavored aperitif, common drink in France. There was a donkey at the fete as well, and it tried to kiss me - well ok, it tried to nip me, but I was quicker than the donkey!

It was also another really hot day in May and we sat at this restaurant/bar for colas! I did not have a Pastis, even if I am quite fond of them, lol! I thought the wall painting, of the figures in traditional costume, was interesting - though I think the figures represent the Alsace region of France and not the Limousin (the bar did advertise beers from the Alsace), but I could be wrong. Anyway, it was a fun day out and Champsac is a lovely village.

Oh yes, here's the nipping donkey:
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Donkey at Champsac, France ~ May 2011


drawing copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved
Château Bonneval - from the parking lot
June 2011 ~ Coussac-Bonneval, France

We've never been inside this castle, although you can take a tour of the inside and this was our fifth vacation in this area of the Limousin. Why have we never been inside? Honestly, I don't know. I guess a tour has just never coincided with our plans for a day or we were too early or too late in the season for a visit.

OK, so why did I draw/paint Château Bonneval from the parking lot, you might ask? Well, my husband, the intrepid Dutch explorer, took me on a tour by car of the long and extended walk he took through the area where we were staying. He started at the gite in Chateau-Chervix and was supposed to only be gone for a couple of hours ... hmm.  Ah yes, the long and extended walk - as in: He Got Lost! If it weren't for the help of the owner of our rental house and his unbelievably good luck that she was home that day, he would have had to call a taxi from Coussac-Bonneval to bring him home. I don't drive. Yep, he had taken a wrong turn on his walk and ended up 13km away from the rental house walking in the opposite direction - gone well over 5 hours on this "walk" and it was beginning to storm and rain hard!  This parking lot now holds new meaning for both of us ... lol.

Église aux Bois and Perigueux

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong. all rights reserved.
Left: Gravestones at Église aux Bois - Correze area - Limousin
Right: Cutlery Shop Sign in Perigueux - Perigord Vert area - Dordogne
June 2011

Elgise aux Bois
This tiny little village sits high up in a clearing of the forest in the large Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches ,  located in the Corrèze department of the Limousin.
Many of the graves at the village church are in bad repair, such as the one I drew. The heart "remberance medallion" had fallen off the stone - it was rather poignant to me. The location of this church, and village, was so beautiful and so peaceful...a lovely spot to enjoy the vastness of the area.
photo copyright Auke Nijholt
Church at l'Église aux Bois - June 2011
We drove down into the top of the Dordogne region ( Perigord Vert) to visit the city of Perigueux. What an interesting city! We only spent a few hours there and have decided that the next time we're in the Limousin, ( maybe this coming fall), we'll do a one night stay-over in Perigueux. The medieval city center with its narrow, steep, cobbled streets was so enchanting to walk through and the hanging signs over many of the shops caught my eye! I loved the big scissors over the cutlery shop, so I stopped to draw it - I added the watercolor back at the rental house as I only had time to get the ink work down on site. There is also a musuem of the areas history (Roman settlement, artifacts, etc.), but it was a Sunday when we were there and the museum was closed - yet another reason to go back!

The domes of the Cathedral Saint Front of Perigueux:
photo copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Saint Front Cathedral, Domed Roof
Perigueux, France ~ June 2011

Saint Front was built after ca.1120 (early 12th century). The reconstruction of the cathedral done in the 19th century, was designed by the same architect, Paul Abadie (a local of Perigueux) who later designed the Basilica of  the Sacré Cœur in Paris. Inside and out, you can see the similarites between the two famous cathedrals. Saint Front has 7 pineapple shaped domes (well, I counted 7). Some historians and locals, (a certain travel guide in particular, comes to my mind), don't like this church because of  its "additions" over the centuries, but I thought it was quite intriguing. The cathedral is also part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.

So ends Part 1 of my early summer vacation in the Limousin - drawings in my "Travels in France" Moleskine, vol. 4.  On to Part 2 - Drawings around and in the Rental House in a couple of days ... these posts take me at least 2 days to put together... homework, at my age!!! :o))))
tot ziens,


Meisie said...

I'm curious...what does Ouke do while you sketch? Is he a patient people watcher or does he go off to take pictures?

J. Nijholt-Strong said...

Usually he's off taking pictures ... lots of them. Often he climbs places I can't even begin to try climbing. He's good at entertaining himself... lol

If we're at a café, he and the Kermits are usually having colas...or beers. :p


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