Saturday, 29 April 2017

A visit to nearby Manot and the Viaduc de la Sonnette.

Manot is a small and pretty village with a population of about 600, situated on the west bank of the Vienne river in the Charente department (now part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region since a recent government reorganisation!)

Manot's well preserved 12th century Saint-Martial Church  was listed in 1985 as an historic monument. The  church is built of local granite in typical plain Gothic style, which architecture originated in France at about the time this church was built, so it could well be one of the first!!

The lighter coloured inset panel over the doorway is made of limestone and is intricately carved with angels, apostles and evangelists. The panel was unfortunately defaced during the religious wars of the 16th century and bears the scars to this day!

The nave, looking down to the altar set in an apse (the hemi-spherical part at the end)


The interior is plain, but the craftsmanship in the stonework and plastering, with its intricate curves and arches, is readily apparent!

Opposite interior view, looking towards the front door, with a viewing gallery above

Spiral staircase to the viewing gallery. Note what I believe to be a stone font at rear left.

The ubiquitous Joan of Arc statue!

Large old townhouse built in  the style of King Louis XIII of France, who lived from 1601 to 1643. The wealthy owners of this house, the Mothe-Fenelon family, included an archbishop in their number.  The family also owned a local chateau  and a further chateau with land in Perigord (in the adjoining department of Dordogne).

Old water pump and well. It probably still works, although I didn't try it! All the pavements around the church have been restored with cobbles.

Interesting veranda with modern garage craftily inserted below. A good vantage point on top, from which to spy on the neighbours!

Viaduc de la Sonnette near the hamlet of Grand Madieu. It was built between the years 1902 and 1905 to carry a single rail track across the Sonnette river valley; many country railway lines, including this one, have been torn up, but the viaduct structure still exists for walkers and cyclists to use and enjoy. Some of its foundations had to be sunk 10 metres (33 feet) below ground to find a firm base in the soft riverine geology.

A more distant view of the 209 metre (700 feet) long viaduct 25 metres (83 feet) high, with its 11 arches. It was one of the last to be built in stone, at a time just before reinforced concrete revolutionised engineering works, thus its historical importance was recognised in 2001 when it was protected. A grand sight it is!

23 comments:

  1. Gorgeous shots of the wonderful old church Diane, I have to confess that I find the simpler older churches much more appealing. Manot's church is a delight and you've shown it here beautifully. I especially like the third photo with the sunlight streaming in the window. The viaduct also looks amazing stretching across the river, love the arches. Hope all is well with you, happy week ahead.

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    1. Thanks Grace, I agree the simple older churches are very beautiful.
      Everything here is fine, hope the same goes for you. Have a good week Diane

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  2. It always amazes me that something built in the 12th century can still be standing. Marvelous photos Diane, thank you for sharing them.

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    1. Denise I have to agree, I never get over the age of some of the buildings in Europe that are still standing and in use today. Have a good week Diane

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  3. Bonjour Diane,
    Merci de la présentation de ce village et de ces alentours que je ne connaissais pas. Ces beaux villages ont tous des trésors cachés comme cette magnifique église médiévale!
    Belle semaine à vous!

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    1. Merci Lucie pour le commentaire. Les bâtiments anciens sont remarquables. Bonne semaine pour vous aussi. Diane.

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  4. I always learn new things from your posts Diane. I love the photos & the old church.

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    1. Thanks Pam, we also both learn from my blogs, Nigel is so good about doing research. Diane

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  5. Great photos of the church, Diane! Great craftsmanship for sure, the curves and arches make it very appealing and it's amazing how long it has been standing. The viaduct has to be quite a sight to see also. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Many thanks Pam for the kind comment. These old buildings never cease to amaze me how long they have been standing. Most buildings built today will never last so long! Have a great weekend Diane

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  6. I love this church Diane and what amazing pictures.
    I love olders churchs xoxoxo

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    1. The old churches here are pretty amazing Gloria but that also goes for most of Europe I have to admit. People have recognised the buildings and restored so many which is really good. Take care and enjoy your weekend Diane.

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  7. Even this simplistic construction is beautiful. Looks like the upper area of the church was plastered at one time. That huge viaduc is an engineering feat. Glad it's still used for pleasure.

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    1. Simple but stunning Gaelyn. In the old days they used to plaster to show wealth, so sad to hide all the beautiful stone. Our own house was plastered and we removed it all and cleaned the stones and then pointed. What an improvement. Nowadays thankfully when people restore they mostly show the stonework.
      The viaduct is amazing and close to home. It has taken us 12 years to discover it!!! Well hidden. Take care Diane and Nigel.

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  8. What a pretty town! I was intrigued to note that the church has an Aubusson style rug near the alter - I have several, and love that design. There is a viaduct similarly constructed about 20 miles from here, so I know just how impressive the one you saw is! Beautiful pictures, Diane.

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    1. Interesting about the carpet Marjie and even more so that you have some similar. Yes the viaduct is quite impressive and I am glad that it is still in use, if not for what it was built for originally. I hope all is well with you and the family Diane

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  9. Hello Diane,
    A lovely little church and great photos transmitting a real recollection atmosphere.
    Enjoy your week, I guess you'll enjoy lovely weathter, here it is still rainy but it should improve soon!
    Warm hugs :)

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    1. Thanks Noushka, I love these old buildings they have so much character. We could do with some rain!!! Hugs Diane

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  10. Hi Diane .. These churches seize to amaze me .. Just looming there overlooking the village. Love the Viaduct too ,, Certainly is a grand sight. Take care Anne xx

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  11. I think I meant "never ceases" xx sorry wasn't concentrating.. x

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    1. I have to agree Anne, it amazes me as well how old some of the buildings are that still stand today. Built of better stuff than today's buildings!!! The viaduct is well hidden and we only discovered it by accident!! Take care Diane xox

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  12. More gorgeous photo's, Diane. I seem to be late here, and apologize!

    xoxo

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    1. Not a problem, what is important to me is that you have arrived :-) Diane

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