For the last two weeks, here at Fairy Dust Teaching, I have been giving you a peek into our homeschool & daily life in rural France.
You can see those posts here & here and even more photos on my blog, Handwork Homeschool.

Today, we’re going to take a little tour around our village & surrounding countryside – so settle in & indulge in a little armchair tourism.

Our Village & Countryside

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One of our goals when we moved here from Toronto was to have more time to be together & to spend lots of time in nature.

If you’ve seen our yard, you’ll know that we’ve got many places to work & play there. But, it’s always nice to get “out & about” (as we Canadians like to say), to look off in to the distance & see one beautiful sight after another.

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The origin of our town is linked to a castle, built around 1034, which used to stand on a high hill (to the right of us in the top pic). Not long afterwards, a gift of lands was made to a group of Benedictine monks who founded an abbey nearby & the town sprang up between the two.

The castle was placed between two rivers (one runs right through our yard) which were intended to protect it during feudal wars.

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In the 13th century, two dams were built & a large area was flooded to create the lake. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed during political upheavel in 1616. There are a few remains of it sprinkled throughout the town & our dear friend is convinced that she a secret tunnel from the castle still sits below her home !

Our town, like many French towns, features buildings from many centuries. Our house was built in the late 19th century & it’s one of the youngest ! One of the most photographed houses, the Hotel Sevoy, built in 1634 is listed as a National Monument.

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We have two very unusual buildings in town, I had to ask the locals what they were because I had never seen one. They are called “lavoirs” or communal washing stations. Women would boil water in large cauldrons & wash their laundry in the rivers.

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I’ve been told that they were still in use in the ’50s !! These ladies are re-enacting a wash-day – they sang as they worked (I’m not sure I would have…)

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It is fabulous being surrounded by so much history every day – even a walk to the boulangerie is like a mini field trip. Living in the country has other benefits too – like horseback lessons !

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Where else would you see a 14th century manor across the street ? And who owns it ? Well, the same man who owns the riding school, of course !

Note the arrow slits & door big enough for a man to ride right into the hall on his horse. This was a feudal land-owner’s fortified home.

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Animals play a big part in our days – aside from our two fuzzy black kittens –

we visit pigs-

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…. storks & even…

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Other days,
we go to the ocean, it’s only 20 minutes from our house

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or to one of the local castles (this one is 5 minutes from our house)

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this one is a little farther away… on the coast. It is privately owned (as are many castles around here) & was completely restored by the owner’s parents in the early 20th century.

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The kids loved climbing the tower in the wind. ( I spent the whole time trying to hold onto them!)

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France is such an inspiring place to live, learn & play. When we moved here, I decided that it was finally time to gather up all of my handwork ideas & resources into one neat package & share them with others who want to add creative elements to their lessons.

See you soon !
Elizabeth
P.S. When I collected photos for this post, I came up with so many… come over to my blog, Handwork Homeschoolto see more.