Sunday 31st March
Today has been a funny old day, cold and wet at times, sunny at others. A blistering gale and glorious warm sunshine, and neither lasting for very long. We went to Villareal market and dodging the pouring rain bought ingredients for lunch. We were going to Montpazier for a bit of sightseeing when we saw a sign for Chateau Biron, and we thought it might be worth a look.
Half expecting to be able to maybe buy some wine, as you can at Chateau Duras, but not sure what to expect we drove up higher and higher along narrower and narrower little roads. Then we spotted towering above us the Chateau itself. It was grand and imposing with high towers and several wings, all on a high plateau, rising far above everything else in sight. The road got even narrower and we cautiously followed the Chateau entrance signs.
Parking the car there was a steep sloped walkway leading up over slippery cobble stones and mud to the entrance proper, which of course was never the entrance of old, but a side archway into the central now grassed-over courtyard. The tour started with more and more steps up and almost outside to a doorway, then up a series of circular stairs into a series of grand halls, each with imposing stone carved fireplaces, and either intricately tiled or wooden inlaid floors, up and up we went until we were among the beams themselves.
Beautifully carved and curved and all with complicated joints the roof soared above us. You could see the inside of the roof-tiles, and amazingly none were nailed, they each had a thumb made indentation so that they hooked over the horizontal batons in tiny row after tiny row of perfect neat tiles.
The only thing lacking was any original furniture, it was just a series of splendid rooms and mullioned windows and turrets and battlements. We saw two rooms which must have actually been bedrooms with en-suite toilets. Stone holes with a straight drop down of at least a hundred feet. We all tried them out and there just where you would want it was an angled window so you could have a nice view of the surrounding fields and woods as you got rid of yesterday’s junk.
And France is literally dotted with these places, Chateau after chateau all over the country, you could never hope to see them all.