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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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 !
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.
Animals play a big part in our days – aside from our two fuzzy black kittens –
we visit pigs-
…. storks & even…
we go to the ocean, it's only 20 minutes from our house
or to one of the local castles (this one is 5 minutes from our house)
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.
The kids loved climbing the tower in the wind. ( I spent the whole time trying to hold onto them!)
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 !
P.S. When I collected photos for this post, I came up with so many… come over to my blog, Handwork Homeschoolto see more.