Sunday, 25 September 2011

Argenton sur Creuse

Argenton lies on the river Creuse in the centre of France.  It has two and a half bridges: one old, one new, and one ruined.  The ruined one is probably not even a half because you can't see it if the river is high.

The old bridge

The old bridge was built in the Middle Ages when the old town spread from the hill on the left bank to the right.  Traffic still uses it.

The new bridge

The new bridge doesn't have a great deal going for it apart from reflections in the river.  It does offer some lovely views of the riverside houses.

Right bank

Argenton is occasionally referred to as the Venice of the Berry region, a French region pre-dating the current ones, but that seems something of a stretch.  However, I can't deny the houses are picturesque.  The church in the background is St Saveur.  The origins of St Saveur probably date to the 13th century but the bell tower you can see is much more recent.

Left bank
On the opposite side is the hill where the oldest part of the town lies.  The nearest church is the 15-16th century Chapelle Saint Benoit, now an exhibition centre.  At the top of the hill is a massive statue of La Bonne Dame above a chapel of the same name, built on the remains of a 2nd century sanctuary.  The Bonne Dame d'Argenton is revered as having protected the town from the plague in 1632.

The banks of the river are lined with old buildings and mills because Argenton's prosperity grew in the 13th century from flour mills and especially bark mills right up until the 19th century.  Bark mills, I had to look it up, are mills that grind up parts of trees into a fine powder used to tan leather.

This mill, shown from two different directions, has been converted into at least two homes as far as I could see.

A 15th century manor house or mansion, hôtel particulier Duperthuis, one of the first in the lower town.  I hope nobody was at home when I peered through the gate to take the picture.  It looks all shuttered up.

A disused mill wheel on the opposite bank.

Some other riverside houses.  And finally, a last look at the old bridge.

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  1. Superb photography! The pictures were excellent.
    The spire above the waterside houses looks very English to me. The mill house appears marvelous, what a view each day!

  2. This is a very charming town in the middle of la France. Wonderful photos.

    btw. We have friends in nearby Issoudun. I wrote some posts from their and the house of George Sands... (July/august 2009)

  3. Lovely, lovely pictures as always. Really picturesque yes! Love all those (very historical!) buildings, so unique - and the water reflection of the bridges are awesome. I just love those kinda bridges pictures.

  4. @Adullamite, thanks. :) I'm not sure about living in the mill house. I'd be worried about damp all the time. :)

    @Tor, yes I know Issoudun quite well, or at least where it is. I saw your post about George Sand and it encouraged me to go and see it too.

    @Lifecruiser, thank you too. Very historical. :)


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