Saturday, March 24, 2012

Une Ballade

It was sunny and warm yesterday, so Gemma and I took a walk up to the château. 

It takes me about 10 minutes to get from my house to the Château de Loches, which once housed the king of France. While you may never have heard of Charles VII nor his mistress Agnès Sorel, you probably have heard of Jeanne d'Arc--Joan of Arc. In 1429 Joan of Arc came to this very spot to urge the Dauphin (Charles VII) to go to Reims to be properly coronated  so that he would be accepted as the rightful king of France. It is a modest castle, and many of the counts and lords in the region had bigger digs than the king at that time. This was not the king's primary residence, but since it was where his mistress lived, he spent a lot of time here. Agnès bore the king 4 children before dying, pregnant, at the age of 25. She was hated by the people, but highly regarded by the king, who treated her as one of his senior advisers. There are hotels, restaurants, and a civic building in our village named after Agnès Sorel. Her portrait (showing one bared breast--so French!) is on the shopping bag that I use all the time, nestled among pictures of our village.

This is one of the charming streets that I walk up on the way to the château:

When I rounded a corner on the way to the château a giant black dog bounded at me. I was delighted; Gemma was terrified. The owner of the dog was apologizing profusely when I asked him if his dog was a Giant Schnauzer. He seemed surprised that I knew the breed of his dog as he answered in the affirmative. I told him that I had had a beloved giant schnauzer back in the United States. He was very friendly, as was his wife and two boys, who are visiting Loches for the weekend from Fontainebleau. His wife took this photo of us, to show the size difference between the two dogs. Gemma still has some growing to do, but she'll never come close to the size of a giant schnauzer. The encounter made me really miss Libby! At the same time, I am seeing the wisdom in my husband's insistence that we get a small dog. Gemma goes everywhere with us easily.

I continued my walk up to the donjon, which is a medieval keep that houses a dungeon. From the donjon, you can look out towards the town of Beaulieu de Loches, our neighboring village. From here you can also see the soccer field and the track where I run three mornings a week.

We are enjoying lovely spring weather--a stark contrast to the snowy days that Spokane has been enduring.   The flowers are blooming and the air smells sweet. 

I am thankful.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely walk! Maybe the dogs are what draw people together. It's a great picture of contrast. Your little Gemma seems very happy in your arms.
    OK, now I'm inspired to start walking again.