Sunday is a day for families in France. Dads and their children go fishing or splash around in the river in front of our house. Moms sit on the banks with a book or visit with other family members. It’s not unusual to see three generations leisurely wandering around Bourdeilles. Some families are our neighbors and some are families from surrounding communities out for their Sunday stroll. The docile Dronne River is a big draw, along with the magnificent setting of our castles.
This Sunday Tom was off to attend his first rugby match. A big final that would determine rankings next year for our region’s semi-pro team. (They won and now will be the bottom of the next level up - and still not the top level.) Tom reports that the mass post-victory kiss-a-thon among fans and athletes was one of the stand-out differences between French and American pro sports.
While he was off with the Sunday sports crowd I decided to join the Sunday parade of visitors to the chateau. It’s a long way up there and making the huffing and puffing up to the top once a year seems like a good goal. So off I went across the medieval bridge, under and up the ancient, river-worn back alley, under the immense gates of the castle yard,
through the small entrance to the inner courtyard,
and then the grand climb up the spiraling, steep, tight stone staircase.
Darkness overtakes you in parts of the climb and there is no hand railing or rope to cling to. One is forced back in time just by the unusual physical effort and focus. Each step is sensed rather than looked at. Stone steps that someone had to cut and then place in this, the tallest chateau tower in France.
Then one arrives at the top and the placement and importance of Bourdeilles is completely apparent.
|Our little house is the one on the left.|
This is when I‘d like to be able to travel back in time to expereince a bit of medieval life. Thank goodness that the ancient decree of a day of rest, Sunday, has persisted into modern french life.
|Time to join the locals for a Sunday afternoon aperitif.|