Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Badefols d'Ans Virtual Vacation

here's a view of my village, Badefols d'Ans
looking east from the lavoir at the Chateau and l'eglise de St. Vincent / St. Cloud
 looking North from in the village, at the church
The door is open, let's go inside...
I have lived about 2 kilometers south of the village of Badefols d'Ans for almost 10 years. We are in the NorthEastern Dordogne, almost on the border of the Correze. The altitude of Badefols is bout 300 meters and we can see the mountains of the Massive Central on the horizon in the east. We are in the commune of Hautefort, where one of the great Chaeaus of Dordogne sits.   The closest big place is Terrasson-la-Villedieud' on the Vezere River, city built into the cliff and which is one of the most ancient continually inhabited places in Europe. Badefols d'Ans is a very ancient place, there is a lot of evidence of prehistory here. I am always finding flint arrow points in my garden. We are above the Oak limestone causse here, and there are still a lot of forested areas. The predominate trees are chestnuts and hornebeam. The biggest crop here are walnuts. Thousands of hectares of hills are planted as walnut orchards. The main road here has the name,  La Route de Noix orThe Walnut Road.
Much of the farmland is used as pasture for cattle. This is not a dairy region, the cattle are big hearty Limousin and are raised for veal. To be fair, it is not anything like the veal you would find in America. This is free range in the best sense of the word.
The Chateau is privately owned and dates from the 11th century, but it has been modified up until the 16th. It was partially destroyed by the Germans near the end of the 2nd World War because the family was very active active in the Resistance. The chateau has been restored and the surviving  family members still live there and maintain the grounds.
There was an important monastery here, linked with the abbey of Chatres on the next hilltop, about  5 kilometers south. In fact the name Badefols seems to be linked with the legend of the monastery, in the eighth century. The story is that there was a hermit who lived in a cave on the hill and had a very loud voice. Every Sunday morning, he would climb to the top of the hill and yell at the top of lungs, telling everyone to stop working and go to church! Badefols seems to be a corruption of the Latin/Patois meaning Screaming Fool! Supposedly, the abbey was founded by St. Cloud, a grandson of the  Great Merovingian King, Clovis. His brothers were murdered by their uncle, Childebert as he claimed their share of Gaul when their father, Clodomir died. Cloud gave up his claim to the throne and became a monk and died around 560 ad.
Once there was a bit of commerce here, but now it is a quiet residential farming town. We have a great little hotel with a very good Restaurant, Les Tilluels, but outside of a little Epicerie, a bakery, a garage and a sawmill, nothing much is going on. If you show up here around the weekend of the 11th of September, the annual and ancient Fete de St. Cloud takes place. Dances, parades and a traditional market featuring fall vegetables and a veal cow auction are all part of a tradition that goes back to the middle ages. I've posted pictures of the the tractor parade here in years past.
So, let's go inside the church. There's a painted ceiling from the 16th century.
Here's the ceiling....

But why don't you check out this link here to take a virtual tour of the interior!
A very cool place on a hot summer day.


mud_rake said...

Excellent 'tour' of your village, Microdot. As I have often stated, I envy your new venue. The video and the photos make me long for another trip to Europe.

I am curious about the hotel and how it stays in business. Is your area on the tourist-circuit?

microdot said...

There is a lot of tourism in the Dordogne. The tourists here are mainly English and European, but I have had American friends stay at L'Auberge des Tilluels (The Lime Trees) and give it rave revues. The restaurant gets a Guide Routier recommendation every year and I would recommend it for its value and above average menu.
This particular area, le Pays d'Ans is full of little villages, forgotten chateaux and magnificent scenery. The chateau of Hautefort is one of the great chateaus in France and dominates the valley below us. It also was destroyed by the Germans in WW2, but has a very interesting history as to how it was rebuilt, not once but twice. We are located equidistant from Perigueux and Brive-la -Gaillarde
You are a short drive from the Vezere Valley and the caves of prehistory, like Lascaux.
This is a great place3 for a vacation. We even have a hot air ballon company...they do fly overs a few times a dog hates it!
The area is full of rental vacation cottages and I cna recommend many nice little restaurants in many out of the way villages.
Badefols is a working village, there are a lot vacation rentals here, but most people are engaged in agriculture.