A Scrapbook of Life in Limousin, South West France
This is a Scrapbook of My Life in Limousin, South West France
My life in Limousin! I've fallen in love; I love Limousin and this is a collection of things and places to do with this hidden corner of south west France. I have all the enthusiasm of one who has found their dream home: a traditional stone farm house set in a magical landscape deep in the heart of the Limousin countrtyside.
I'm starting this scrap book today, 6th December 2010, and I hope that my scrapbook of Limousin will grow, and grow ... Just like our life here, and I'd like to share with you all the bits and pieces that make me Love Limousin so much.
Why I Love Limousin - Limousin is the Lake District of France
There are so many reasons to Love Limousin. It's like stepping back in time here, to a time when communities were tight-knitted, when there was little crime, before the car took over, when the air was clean, when wild flowers thrived, when you could swim in the lakes and rivers teamed with fish. I love Limousin because it's beautiful, wild but comfortable. I love the sparkling winters, the flowery springs, the warm, sunny summers and the mellow, fruitful autumns. I love my animals, I love the food and I love the wine and love the French lifestyle. If you can't come and enjoy the delights of Limousin at first hand, why not join me in a walk through this lovely region by means of this scrap book? I know you'll love Limousin too! Have a look at our web site: www.lestroischenes.com)
Read more about our life in my blog (New Year's Resolution: To contribute to my blog frequently and to write one good quality article every month). Failed! Why I Love Limousin
Who Am I? - Les Trois Chenes is a stone farm house built about 1900
This is our first house in France, Les Trois Chenes, (The Tree Oaks). A farm house built from the stone of the meteorite that fell on the site of Rochechouart - well, quite a long time ago. This stone gives the region a very distinctive character. If you drive for twenty minutes in any direction, you will find buildings that look very different.
Our second and present house is about 40 minutes away near La Roche L'Abeille.
Find out more about the meteorite at the Meteorite Museum
Have a look at my article Rochechouart and the land of the Meteorite
Discover Limousin - Hidden France - A beautiful guide book to this region of lakes
Discover the beauty and fascination of Limousin. A region of outstanding natural beauty, famed for it's wildlife and retaining a little of what life used to be. Limousin for 'the good life'.
Vintage Planes and Cars in Limousin!
The 8th and 9th September 2012 was the Weekend for vintage car and plane enthusiasts with to major FREE shows, both within half an hour of Les Trois Chenes!
Festival Mecanic Passion at Saint Mathieu, Limousin - Vintage cars, vintage motorbikes, vintage trucks and vintage army trucks
A must for anyone who loves cars and other motor vehicles. They all made an appearance in the air shows this weekend in the sleepy village of St Mathieu. Great family day out.
Vintage Plane Air Shows in Saint Junien - More Vintage cars, vintage motorbikes, vintage trucks and vintage army trucks
Plus vintage fire engines at Saint Junien's annual air faire. Plenty to do for all the family with stunt flying by these vintage planes. The pretty town of St Junien is about thirty minutes from Les Trois Chenes and Videix.
Madonna's Super Bowl Gloves Come from St Junien in Limousin - A visit to the glove factory in Saint Junien, Limousin, France
Now, you might not immediately see the connection between the sleepy town of Saint Junien, hidden away in the heart of rural France and the super star Madonna. Madonna at Super Bowl no less.
The connection is, of course, her gloves. Madonna's gloves were made in the Agnelle glove factory, which also makes gloves for Givenchy, Burberry and Dior. One more reason why I love Limousin. Full of surprises.
A Portrait of Limousin
So much to see and do
One thing is true about our Life in Limousin - it's never dull. Perhaps not much that happens here get on the news, (there was the great storm though just before we arrived), but then that's one of the very best things about Limousin, tranquility. The things that happen here tend to be the little things. Those charming domestic moments, village fetes that celebrate the seasons, antics of domestic animals. Every day here we can enjoy the sheer beauty of the landscape and visit the many magnificent castles, pretty villages and historic towns. There is only one city in Limousin, the City of Limoges, famed for its porcelain, and today it has a lively centre with great shopping and quaint old quarter. Limoges has many exceptional art galleries and museums to visit.
I hope you enjoy reading about our region as much as I enjoy living here.
Right: Chateau de Rochebrune.
The 2011 movie of La Guerre des Boutons was made in the Limousin
or The War of the buttons
A new version of this famous story, directed by Yann Samuell, was filmed near Les Trois Chenes in 2011. Some of the film crew stayed at our gite! Much of the action took place at the old school in Biennac, just outside Rochechouart (see image); it's about ten minutes from us. I actually went to the castings but, not surprisingly, wasn't chosen to be a French villager.
You can just imagine the queues at the cinema when the film came out this September!
Interestingly enough, over in the Auvergne Christophe Barratier was also making a new version of the film and both hit the box office at the same time. A real 'War of the War of the Buttons'. I'm waiting for this one to come out on DVD though.
The War of the Buttons - Buy the book and the film
This is the story of the war of the buttons by Louis Pergaud in book form in French.
Have a sneak preview of The War of the Buttons - It is pretty good!
This is an English version of the book.
Brantome - Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France
BrantÃ´me has been called 'The Venice of the Dordogne' and it's about one hour from Les Trois Chenes along quiet, country, tree lined roads. In the opposite direction, about forty minutes away, is Mortemart, another village listed among the most beautiful in France. It has spectacular caves that were occupied in neolithic times, a fabulous church that rises up from the rocks and a quaint, pretty old town that is surrounded by water. Lovely.
Read more about BrantÃ´me illustrated with lots of lovely photos: (My article, the IIlustrated Guide was Hub of the Day on HubPages 25th December 2011. Yes, Christmas Day!)
A visit that you'll never forget!
This is the sad, sad story of a Limousin village that was destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation of France in the World War II. The whole of the population of the village was rounded up. The men were shot and the bodies burned. The women and children were herded into the church and then burnt and gassed. This village has been preserved as a monument against war and a magnificent visitor centre has been built telling the story of the war, the massacre and the ensuing events. Not a picnic, but never-the-less an experience not to be missed.
No one really knows. It is thought to be reprisals for attacks on the German soldiers, and may even have been a mistake. It could have been that the real target was the village of Oradour-sur-Vayres.
Oradour-sur-Glane is now known as the Martyr Village.
Chateau de Peyras
A guided tour around a proto-historique chateau
What the Chateau de Peyras lacks in beauty it makes up for in romance and history. The story of this ancient chateau was recounted by the present owner M. Guy Broin on a guided tour organised by Tourisme Lacs Haute Charente on a warm and sunny evening in this rural corner of hidden France.
Read more about this treasure with lots of pictures: Chateau de Peyras
The Route of Richard the Lion Heart - Route de Richard, Coeur de Lion
Neolithic standing stones and pre-historic Limousin - Dolmen de Chez Moutaud
This impressive Dolmen is situated between Videix and Cognac-la-foret and is a neolithic burial mound. In the past the stones would have been covered with earth to form a grassy mound. This ancient monument is just at the side of the main road, entirely unprotected. But then this is Limousin and we don't have vandalism here!
Lanterne des Morts at Cognac-la-ForÃªt
Lanterne des morts
There are eleven lanterns of the dead in Haute-Vienne. They are situated in the cemeterys, and generally built in the form of a small tower with access in the base so that a light could be hoisted up into the latern section at the top. These lights would then watch over the dead during the hours of darkness.
This photo was taken at dusk on January 15 2011. The sunset was spectacular.
The Region of Limousin - Or why is life like an onion?
I'm experimenting with images for my articles, and at the same time I'm getting going with the vegetable garden. Managed to clear the head-high weeds and put them on a bonfire, and now it's digging and weeding. I'm a fair-weather gardener though and wait until the sun starts to shine before I go forth. I'll take some more pics and post them here. Have a look at some of my other gardening articles:
A Guide to the Region of Limousin
Find out all about this region, there's so much to know!
A visit to Chalus
Le chÃ¢teau de Chalus-Maulmont
On a beautiful, blue-sky day in May I took the time to stop in Chalus, a pretty town in Limousin. Chalus is mostly famous because Richard the 1st, Richard the Lion Heart, was fatally wounded with a crossbow bolt here and bits of him are said to be buried here.
My mum and I had a wonderful walk around this quaint and historic town, disappointed only by the fact that the main castle, The chateau ChÃ¢lus-Chabrol is only open to visitors in July. Excuse for a return visit I think.
Where is Limousin?
Our life in Limousin in pictures
Articles on the arts
MusÃ©e Beaux Arts: Palais de L'Eveche
A visit in March
Managed to get to see the Art Gallery / Museum in Limoges for the first time on Friday. It has some wonderful things. Starting right back in neolithic times there are objects, sculptures and paintings right through to today - and it's FREE! For me the there were two groups of paintings that struck me as exceptional, some great Suzanne Valadon's and a few not so great (in my opinion!) Renoirs. I didn't manage to see it all, though, and will be going back to see the collection on the second floor, the enamel work. I know that they have a great collection. The building itself is superb and is situated next to the cathedral and botanical gardens in th old sector of Limoges. All in all, the museum is well worth a visit - I just wish I hadn't left it so long! MusÃ©e Beaux Arts: Palais de L'Eveche
We have a trampoline for our guests to use!
Santa brought a brand new trampoline for us and our guests! Children will love it and adults can put into practice that New Years Resolution to get fitter! No excuses.
For more pics check out our web site / Les Trois Chenes
My first art exhibition since moving to France
Together with thirteen other artists, I'm exhibiting my paintings at Galerie dix-neuf in Saint Mathieu, S W France. It's exciting because this is my first exhibition since moving to France - too busy building our gite and B & B to exhibit any earlier! This Spring exhibition of paintings and prints will be by an international mix of artists from the region-American, Belgian, Dutch, English, French and Scots and will run from the 20 April - 14 May. Entry is free and most works will be for sale from the artists! Opening times are daily from 10h30-12h00 and from 14h30 -17h00.
Galerie dix-neuf is a private, non-commercial art gallery run by Robert and Patricia Middleton who came to live in Saint Mathieu in late 2003. They bought the property, part of which was used as a shoe factory by Adidas some years ago, because they saw the potential for a large atelier for Robert and a spacious well-lit exhibtion area and today they have created a large exhibition space perfectly suited to hold professional exhibitions.
Galerie dix-neuf, Saint Mathieu, Limousin, France
It's Spring in Limousin - Time for Spring babies
Limousin calves are being born in the fields, the spring lambs skip in the sunshine and trees in gardens, hedgerows and woods are covered in white and pink blossom. What could be more cheering after the winter?
Cheesy Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkins are so easy to grow, they look lovely in the garden, they are great fun, you can carve them to make Halloween lanterns and then you can cook them in so many delicous ways.
Here are my favourite pumpkin recipes:
Champagnac-la-Riviere Pig and Apple Fair
Limousin knows how to celebrate the harvest
There are just so many harvest and autumn fairs in October and November, but the little village of Champagnac really puts on a great show. I was torn between showing pictures of rows of wonderful apples, the apple crusher that tranforms the apples into juice ( 100% natural), or the pigs; of course the pigs won out.
Now, I showed great restraint by NOT buying a ticket to win a magnificent young boar. More than I could cope with even in my dreams.
Fall and Winter in Limousin
Christmas at Les Trois Chenes 2010 - We had a wonderful Christmas
We have had a wonderful Christmas. We had lovely guests, lots of great food, a little snow (just enough for a White Christmas) and lots of sunshine. More on next page
Warm thoughts for winter days
- Traditions surrounding the great English Christmas pud
What do you find in your Christmas pudding? When do you make it? When do you serve it and how .... ??
- A growing list of Christmas markets in Limousin and around Videix
Find a Christmas Market in Limousin and those in the Charente and the Dordogne that are a stone's throw from Les Trois Chenes
- My Great Aunt Jenny's Christmas Cake recipe
My Great Aunty Jenny made the best Christmas cake and I'm going to share her recipe with you here.
Winter Pudding Recipe
This is a delicous, spicy winter version of summer pudding. Easy to make and is even better on day two!
We made this spicy fuit bread as part of our Christmas breakfast menu.
The shops are dressing up for Christmas
This fextive window is a showcase for the Enamel work of Nelly Gauthier. Her shop, the Atelier Palis de l'Email, is situated just outside the centre of Saint Junien. This town is the second largest town in Limousin after Limoges and it just shows how small scale everything is here. Limousin is famed for its enamel work as well as it's porcelain. You can contact Nelly on firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas at Les Trois Chenes
We had a wonderful Christmas here at Les Trois Chenes, made extra-special because we had Bed and Breakfast guests for the first time, so I made a special effort with the decorations, and created a special Les Trois Chenes Christmas Breakfast
For a list of Christmas markets in Limousin see Christmas Markets in Limousin
Frozen lakes of the Charente
Molly Our English Pointer Dog - And her pointer pups
Molly is one tough Mom and although she'll play a bit with her puppies, she's a wee bit short on patience.
Hey Big Boy
This area is famous for Limousin cattle. We don't keep them here, (way too big for me!), but you'll see them in the fields along with their calves, and you'll have the chance to taste the famous beef (if you eat meat) at Les Trois Chenes or in local restaurants. A treat in store!
Read more about Limousin Cattle in Limousin
Limousin Cattle in the Snow - Limousin beef cattle are a hardy breed and stay outside all the year around
Animal farm - Links to articles about our pets and animals in the region
- Mow your lawns with geese
Use geese to mow your lawn! They are lovely birds to have around, and they eat grass. The easy way to take care of your lawn.
- Bee keeping
Bees are struggling and now is the time to take up bee-keeping. Have a look at our hives
- An English pointer in France
We bought our English pointer as a pup in France. This is her story ....
- The story of our pointer puppies
When Molly had puppies we got lots of cute pictures and a whole lot of laughs and tears ......
Our Ouessant Sheep
These sheep are the smallest breed and they come up to your knees. Ours were black (we don't have any at the moment), but they also come in white and grey, so to speak. The are tough little sheep from Britanny, northern France, and they survive on rough pastures, give birth without difficulty and seem to thrive in the harsh winter weather. The lambs were the size of our cat - or even smaller - and just as black. Cute!
Pets and animals in the region - more links
- What Our Pointer Pups Did Next
Our pointer puppies are so adorable! This is the third story in the life of our English pointer Molly and here three pups. A must read for dog lovers.
- Naughty Dog Stories From Les Trois Chenes
Molly our beautiful English Pointer is loyal, loving, energetic, sporadically disobedient and sometimes she's a very, very naughty dog. These are some Very Naughty Dog stories.... like the time she ate our Christmas Cake, destroyed our chairs or...
Wearing your heart on your sleeve!
At Piegut market
Just 30 minutes away from Les Trois Chenes, across the border in the Dordogne, we have a wonderful market. Every Wednesday morning the small town of Piegut-Pluviers is totally taken over by the most extensive and colourful market in the region. This market is a real market. You can find lots of food; feast your eyes on fabulous fruit and vegetables, French bread, cheese galore, wine and regional drinks, fish, sausages, olives and much much more.
There are also chickens for sale, (live or roast), international snacks sold from vans, shoes and the sort of aprons that are worn by all the old ladies, plants, tablecloths and a few more luxury items such as cards and soap.
One thing I've noticed at all the markets is the ever-present pooch. People here love their dogs - just look at the smile on the face of the proud owner of this little cutie!
This Cute Guy Appears In This Pooches In France Article - The French love their dogs
I have been walking around French markets taking photographs of all that wonderful food, when I started to take pics of the chic or funny dogs who love the bustle and fun of the market place. Soon I was on the look-out for the best dog and owner photo opportunities!