With breakfast finished by 9am, we packed up and headed into the old part of Clisson… not one for access via motorhomes.. so best to park outside where possible and walk/bike in… the old town is split by a beautiful river complete with its own weir and roman inspired bridge… all leading to the steep steps to the castle.
The town’s earliest records shows the castle was first built on the orders of Geoffrey Martel in 1058. Its humble wooden origins soon gave way to an almost impregnable stone fortress for the Clisson family that lasted well over 700 years until over 80% of the old town was burnt to the ground shortly after the French revolution (1793) by the militant Republicans.
Yet the castle soon provided the building blocks for the re-birth of the town.. before it was bought by the sculptor Francois Frederic Lemot in 1807. Its intended use from this day forwards was that of a roman ruin, to match the elegant Italian church and the sculptors new neo-classical home, Domaine de la Garonne Lemot (complete with a sculptors garden to match Oslo)
We’d been very fortunate to have picked a weekend that also saw recreations of life in the region in the 11th/12th century. With both girls enthralled by the tented village that included cooking, tapestry and arrow making demonstrations.. whilst the ‘Hastingers’ provided some very realistic 11th century combat complete with swords, lances and shields!
The stunning ruins sit imperiously over the small town below, but there are plenty of places to grab a croissant or ice cream and to watch the varying degrees of success by the many kayakers who try to descend the weir… suffice to say we saw our fair share of hilarious incidents.. until a poor chap lost his glasses after a fairly spectacular capsize… reminding us all of the Eidfjord ‘Go Pro’ incident…
Thankfully we have restocked the ‘camera cupboard’ and we move on to enjoy the blissfully serene Gironde near Talmont sur Gironde… having met up with Catherine’s parents, we hope to enjoy some time out of the van at a site overlooking the Gironde near Mortagne sur Gironde… with the temperature set to sky rocket into the high 30’s… it looks like our new Go Pro might just get some use in the gite’s swimming pool!!!!
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