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L'Isle Jourdain, France - a place to visit and savour

Updated on January 7, 2015
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Find it in the Vienne department of France

I don't know about you, but we don't get chance to go out on day trips very often, so with the weather getting nice and warm we decided recently to take a break, down tools (so to speak) and go and explore this wonderful, varied and historic country of France some more.

If you've never been to France before it's quite a big place, (larger than the UK but smaller than the USA - now there's a useful comparison!) but it isn't just towns and cities - though all roads eventually lead to Paris! - a lot of it is very rural, with the serious mountain ranges of the Alps and Pyrenees to the south-east and south respectively, and a whole variety of countryside, coastlines, chateaus and fields in between.

A few hours away from us is the small town of L'Isle Jourdain in the Poitou-Charentes region in western France that we had heard about through friends, and so we climbed into the car and set off to find out what was so special about the place.

Come with us and see what we discovered when we got there...

You can find some of these images available for sale in my Zazzle store at http://www.zazzle.co.uk/dreyasworld

Arriving in L'Isle Jourdain

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The first thing that struck us as we drove into town was the viaduct. A twelve-arch bridge spanning the Vienne river which used to take the railway 40 metres high over the water below, but has since been changed to a footpath, which we thought we would follow later on.

As we drove down the gradient into more of the town we came alongside the river itself and then the reason behind the name of the place was presented to us - L'Isle Jourdain or the island of Jourdain, literally related to the rocky island on which the local Lord Jourdain built his fortress and boy was it a sight! We visited in April and the wisteria was in full bloom all around the entrance and driveway up to this old and dilapidated building, which was actually for sale, as a lot of rural places seem to be in France.

That was it, we decided there and then that we must stop and take in the sights more. We found a place to park on the other side of the river; overlooking the viaduct, the actual L'Isle Jourdain and the St. Sylvain road bridge over the Vienne.

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Learn French - Word Power 101

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On Closer Inspection

So once we'd parked up and got out of the car we chose to head towards the viaduct first, built in 1884 by Paul Sejourne. Not far away from the car park there were some steps up through some Californian poppies and on to what now is a footpath, but was once a railway line. The views from up there were stunning, but the sun was facing us making things a little hazy, but the photos didn't come out too bad.

As we were walking along the path we noticed some blue frames hanging over the side of the bridge and a car parked up. We were curious as to what was going on so we kept walking to find out what was occurring. On closer inspection we realised that people were signing up for bungee jumping! We were quite surprised in what seemed to be a quiet rural town, but there they were jumping off a 40 metre bridge towards the water below. I promise you - that wasn't going to be me!

We decided to keep walking and crossed the viaduct and descended the steps on the other side. Walking under the viaduct we thought we'd stop to see one of the 'jumpers' flinging themselves off the middle of the bridge - we were just glad it wasn't us.

The riverside was lovely and there were plenty of flowers and trees to add to the beautiful scenery. Walking back into town and down towards the island we really got chance to see the picturesque nature of the place. On the St. Sylvain bridge there was a statue of the martyr saint, who had been cast into the river and whose body was said to have washed up at that point making it an important pilgrimage site.

The best views were from this bridge, giving you wonderful photo opportunities of the L'Isle Jourdain and the Vienne river beyond - I'm afraid I couldn't resist - and with the most wisteria I've ever seen in one place I just clicked away my camera (see below).

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Le Monde

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Photos from our walk around L'Isle Jourdain

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Yes - I'd love to

Yes - I'd love to

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    • DreyaB 21 months ago from France

      Thank you Trish. I'm glad you like my photos. :)

      I managed to spot your house. Good luck with the sale...

    • Trish 21 months ago

      Beautiful photos! If you look on photos 14 and 16 my property is the cream house with the orange base next to the church. It is For Sale currently so if anyone is interested you can see more details on the Leggett Immobilier website.

    • Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I would love to visit France.

    • Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      It's a lifelong dream.

    Would you like to visit France?

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      • DreyaB 2 years ago from France

        Hi Bushra, that's quite amazing! I knew it was for sale when we visited. How lucky they are. To be honest I only picked up the information about the place from the tourist information board that was nearby and a little online research to complete my article. I guess they will have seen that. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and share. :0)

      • Bushra 2 years ago

        I know the family who purchased the L'isle of Jourdain fort, the pictures in your articles. They are keen to learn more about the history of the place. If you or someone you know have information about this amasing building, i will appriciate it if you share it. Regards

      L'Isle Jourdain, France - If you're visiting you need to be able to find it - right?

      A marker -
      L'Isle-Jourdain, Vienne, France
      get directions

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      A Hidden Gem

      We walked back to the car having crossed this second bridge and through the rest of the town. All in all we could quite easily see why the place was recommended to us and was potentially so popular. We were lucky as we visited before the start of the tourist season, but I couldn't be certain how hectic it would become later in the year.

      The thing is that France, though extremely popular, is so big that there are plenty of places to visit and explore and living here we have the opportunity to find these hidden gems whenever we like - I know we're extremely lucky and am grateful for the life we lead.

      However, if you're visiting France this year, or in the future, I don't think you can go wrong with a trip to L'Isle Jourdain; it's a beautiful place to visit or stay and I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed - we certainly weren't.

      © 2014 DreyaB

      Have you ever visited rural France? - What did you love about it?

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          DreyaB 2 years ago from France

          Thank you RaintreeAnnie, I'm glad you enjoyed it all. :0) It's a beautiful and quiet area to visit, if you ever get a chance in the future. Thank you so much for your kind feedback and visit. :0)

        • RaintreeAnnie profile image

          RaintreeAnnie 2 years ago from UK

          What a beautiful page and very interesting, love your photos! Yes we have been to France, but never visited this area. It looks lovely and an interesting place to spend some time. I enjoyed my visit to your page thank you :)

        • DreyaB profile image
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          DreyaB 2 years ago from France

          Well Mel if you ever get the chance to visit France I would highly recommend it! :0) Thank you for your lovely feedback. I'm glad I might have been able to give you a small insight into a part of your family history. Small rural communities are everywhere in France once you get away from the big cities like Paris. I've not been to the places you mentioned but I hope to explore more of France in the future. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a look. :0)

        • MelRootsNWrites profile image

          Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

          I have never been to rural France (or anywhere in France), but I would love to. My Dad's side of the tree comes from Southern France, small communities. I loved your photos. It gives me an idea of what it might be like in Ogeu les bains, Escou, Castet, etc. where they were from.

        • DreyaB profile image
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          DreyaB 2 years ago from France

          It's well worth it Susan if you ever get chance, there's so much variety in the towns & countryside, history and food & drink! I'd like to think you'd find it hard to be disappointed... Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a trip with me. :0)

        • Just Ask Susan profile image

          Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          France has always been on my wish list of places to visit and hopefully someday I will be able to.

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          DreyaB 2 years ago from France

          @AlleyCatLane: I really hope you do - there are so many wonderful places all across Europe and especially in France, the UK and Italy. If you get to go I'd love to hear about where you manage to visit. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and join in. :0)

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          AlleyCatLane 2 years ago

          I have not had the opportunity to see France, or any part of Europe as of yet, but hope to in the not so distant future. Thanks for highlighting this lovely town.

        • DreyaB profile image
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          DreyaB 2 years ago from France

          @junecampbell: But remembering the food is significant! It must have made an impact with you and I can understand why, bread and cheese are so good here. :0) Thank you for your kind comments, I'm so glad you liked it, sometimes it's the best way to travel. And thanks so much for dropping by. :0)

        • junecampbell profile image

          June Campbell 2 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

          Not really I have been on a whirlwind bus tour that took me from the ferry terminal to Paris and then on to Switzerland a day or two later, but it was so fast I barely remember anything except the French bread and cheese. Your version of rural France is much better than mine. :-)

        • DreyaB profile image
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          DreyaB 3 years ago from France

          @Diana Wenzel: Thank you, you're too kind. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and the photos, and that the location appeals to you, knowing how you enjoy natural and rural idylls. I hope that perhaps one day you get the chance to visit France. Thanks so much for taking the time drop by, read and share. :0)

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          Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

          If I do travel to Europe, I won't miss France! Great sights!

        • Diana Wenzel profile image

          Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

          This is the type of place I love to discover and explore. I would enjoy spending some leisurely time in rural France. Gorgeous photos. I can see why you earned an award for this travelogue. Beautifully written and presented.

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          DreyaB 3 years ago from France

          @Charito1962: If you get the chance you must! France is a wonderful and beautiful country to visit, everyone goes to Paris naturally, but there's so much more than that. Thanks so much for reading and sharing. :0)

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          DreyaB 3 years ago from France

          @stereomike83: It is an amazingly beautiful and quiet area - a bit off the beaten track compared to some other parts of France, but well worth taking a look. Thanks so much for stopping by! :0)

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          stereomike83 3 years ago from UK

          Being just across the channel I do like visiting France but haven't been to this region yet but looks beautiful!

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          DreyaB 3 years ago from France

          @smine27: Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it. :0) I have to admit France is so big that I haven't managed to get to Provence yet either, though I am a little closer than you currently. ;0) Thank you so much for taking the time to take a look and sharing your thoughts. :0)

        • smine27 profile image

          Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

          This looks amazing. i've only visited Paris but I would love to one day visit Provence.

        • DreyaB profile image
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          DreyaB 3 years ago from France

          @David Stone1: Thanks so much, I'm really glad you liked it. All this area of central SW France is beautiful and full of history. If you ever get chance to visit again, see if you can make it to one of the secrets of France. Thanks for your lovely feedback too btw. :0)

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          DreyaB 3 years ago from France

          @SteveKaye: You're welcome Steve, so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for stopping by. :0)

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