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Angles sur l'Anglin

Field trip! Yesterday we left home to visit Jackie Fisher’s favorite village in the region: Angles-sur-l’Anglin, which is about 25 minutes away. The tongue twister of a name means “Anglos on the Anglin River,” because it is one of the many regions here occasionally populated by the English, usually post-invasion. Today, the British actually buy land and houses here, which is so much more civilized.

A-s-A is one of the most beautiful villages in France, an official designation from the government (there are over 150 of them). Towering above the majestic river Anglin, the centerpiece is the ruin of the palace of the bishops of Poitiers (pictured above), built in the eleventh century and now a shell. Although it’s officially closed, we did manage to climb around it on steep, broken, slippery stairs—an ambulance chaser’s delight.

I am always impressed by how accessible so much of Europe’s history is. You just put your hand out, and there it is. There is little concern about guard rails or security or the limitations imposed upon us by fear of litigation. You can practically bring part of the rock home.

(As usual, click any image to enlarge.)

As old as this castle is, the town is even older. It harbors a sculpted frieze—le Roc des Sorciers—on a cliff dating back 15,000 years to the Magdalenian period, during the time of Cro-Magnon man. An interpretive center has been built around it, which I hope to see someday when it’s open. Most of the bas-relief carvings are of mammoths and other animals.

Angles-sur-l’Anglin is notable for one more thing, namely a kind of openwork embroidery that is a specialty of local needlewomen. I was eager to see their workshop and boutique, but alas, it was closed. We looked around for a place to eat lunch, but they were all closed. We thought the Tourist Information Center might have an idea, but that was closed too.

And so we wandered around, inspecting every possible pretty detail of the town, occasionally glimpsing a citizen, now and then a moving car, and more than one angry guard dog. “How lucky we are,” said the ever-optimistic Tom, “to be here when nobody else is!”

There is that. When we’re the only people around, which we often are, the whole place belongs to us.


Photo credit at top: “Château de Angles sur l’Anglin (Vienne) 02” by sybarite48 – Flickr: Angles sur l’Anglin. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Photo credit for le Roc des Sorciers: http://www.roc-aux-sorciers.com/