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Report 2029: France 2012 Part 1 - The Loire Valley

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2012

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Page 6 of 33: The Area Around Perrusson

photo by MAW

La Corroire du Liget

Beaulieu-Lès-Loches (page 7) is across the river from Loches. It was the site of an important 11thC Abbey and had been an important market town during the early Middle Ages with a mint, market and fairs. It didn’t have the strong defenses of neighboring Loches and was twice occupied by the English. Merchants, burghers and peasants began to settle in Loches rather than Beaulieu. The town further declined in the 19thC and is now a suburb of Loches.

Recently as a means of promoting tourism, there has been a renewed interest in the history and heritage of the town. There is a town trail with information and leaflets from the Marie.

To the east of Beaulieu-lès-Loches is the Forêt de Loches which was a royal hunting forest until the Revolution. It is now state owned and is a source of timber and is also used for recreational purposes with walking and riding routes. There are three Pyramids marked on the map; Pyramide de St Quentin, Pyramide de Genillé and Pyramide des Chartreux. These are stone built obelisks, each of a slightly different design built about 1770. They are placed at major intersections in the forest and are thought to be meeting points for the hunts.

Chartreuse du Liget is off the D760 between Beaulieu-lès-Loches and Montresor. It was originally a monastery founded by Henry II in the 12thC as a penance for the murder of Thomas á Beckett. These buildings, apart from the church, were destroyed during the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion. They were sold off during the Revolution. The present buildings are 18thC. They are surrounded by a tall stone wall with a splendid gateway with a carving of St Bruno and topped with urns. There are outbuildings along the driveway with the main house at the end. This is now used for holiday lets. It is possible to go in and wander round the site and look at the church.

A short distance beyond, signed off the other side of the road, is La Corroire du Liget, a small fortified farmhouse. There is a €3 honesty box in the gatehouse and a detailed information booklet in French.

It is surrounded by a wall with a moat and a small bridge to the massive 13/15thC fortified gateway tower. The old farmhouse has been restored and now does bed and breakfast. There is a row of barns on the other side of the gateway. At the corner of the walls is a small pigeon loft. The church is in the center of the site and is massive. It is a very plain 11thC building with a simple round doorway and buttresses. An upper level with windows was added later.

Inside, the nave is bare with the remains of a step into the chancel. Small pillars on the side walls support the roof aches of the vaulted nave stone ceiling and chancel apse. In the central arch of the chancel wall is an attempt at a mural of the crucifixion (1935). The only light is from two large windows in the south wall of the nave and the smaller windows in the chancel.

Off the north side of the church is a huge double cellar with a massive round central pillar supporting the roof. This was used to store grain and also as a workshop for making hemp ropes or for weaving the fibers.

This leads into the remains of two mills, again with a massive supporting central pillar. Steps lead down into the wheel pit and there are the remains of the leat, which fed in water as well as millstones. One mill was used for grinding grain; the other for tanning of skins, or crushing the fibers of retted hemp.

Montresor(page 8)is about 20 minutes drive from Perrusson. It is one of the most beautiful villages in France, selected for its beautiful setting, fine buildings and lovely surroundings. It is dominated by the the château built high above the River Indrois with the remains of its wall, donjon of Foulques Nerra and 15thC buildings. There is a nice walk along the base of the walls.

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