Monday, 26 June 2017

A visit to Busserolles.

Busserolles is  a small and ancient village, occupied since Roman days.  It lies in the Dordogne, just a few kilometres  from the Charente border; five roads meet there, perhaps to help the population get to the local well (of which more later!). The area is quite hilly and difficult to traverse, which no doubt accounts for the  fiendishly twisty and narrow roads surrounding it!  The  population in 2014 was 511, a lot less than in 1962 when there were 941 inhabitants!  The village has changed its name a number of times; the first mention of it was in the 13th century, when it was called Buxerolla in the local Occitan language (of which I have written before).  In the following century, it was known as Buysserola and it remained thus for half a millennium, when the map makers recorded the name as Buxerolles. Back then, people weren't too fussy about spelling, but there could also have been adjustments to make pronunciation easier for French speakers, who had perhaps become more numerous in the countryside.
Our first stop in the village was (of course!) at the local bar and restaurant known as Le Vieux Puits (The Old Well).  Set in a tiny square at the point where the five roads meet, it's a good place to stop for some refreshment  and we find that the friendly Dutch owner is also fluent in French and English!

This is the old well in the Place de Puits.  The mastiff, belonging, it seemed, to the bar owner,  was a friendly dog who decided to bomb my photo!

Inside the bar, on one of the walls, is this painting of the town and church as it must have been in past ages.

This is my photo of the same scene with a narrower lens, showing how accurate the painting is. The church of Saint-Martial was built in the 12th century, although it was substantially rebuilt in the 15th century.  It was registered as a historical monument in 1958.

It was difficult to take photos of the church facades, because I couldn't get far enough back in the narrow streets! The small main entrance is a bit unusual in that you have to go down four stairs to enter the church. I am guessing that the building of the street's hard surfacing happened much later in time and the ground levels didn't work out!

There were two naves...

separated by large stone columns...

holding up a vaulted ceiling. The masonry techniques are quite impressive for such a modest and unrefined place of worship.

At the back was the beautiful old stone font and the ubiquitous confessional booth!

Colourful stained glass windows, that above in a modern style, but that below of a  more ornate design reflecting a much greater age....

threw interesting lighting into the church.

A bit further down the street, I loved this old house with a mansard roof of traditional design, and especially the decorative art work on the chimneys, which possibly also serve as reinforcement to the brickwork.

The doorway of the above house in more detail. As with the church, one has to wonder why the building and street levels are so different! Maybe the basement had an influence. Nonetheless, it's an attractive and imposing feature, designed to impress. Perhaps a merchant's house or that of a local landowner.

Another attractive, and no doubt costly doorway with ornate balcony above. Strange to see these  incongruous displays of wealth cheek by jowl with labourers' housing which you can see below.

One of the main streets through the village. I guess all the people who live here  have small cars!

The war memorial.  For a small  place like this, it must have suffered badly in WW1.  There are at least 100 names on the 3 plaques, and in some instances 4 have the same family name!! Those  hundred men could have been 10% of the village at that time and a big proportion of the manpower - what a great sacrifice!

Also see my daily diary HERE


and My Life Before Charente (updated  25 September 2016) I will get back to this eventually!  

22 comments:

  1. Bonsoir Diane,
    Je découvre à travers vos publications de nombreux petits villages que je ne connais pas, l'Ouest de la France est la région où je me suis le moins rendu!
    Merci à vous de faire vivre ces merveilleux villages qui font tout le charme de nos régions!
    Belles visites dans les alentours de vitre résidence!

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    1. C'est un plaisir. Nous aimons aller dans ces villages et partager avec nos amis. Bonne soiree. Diane

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  2. I love all your posts, the architecture and history, but the type is so small, I can hardly read it, maybe it's just my browser and Mac laptop. It's a great post, even with the dog bomb! The architecture always amazes me, and it's interesting with the hilly area and the church. Great shots of it anyway! And it always amazes me that it seems like every town, even the small ones, has a war memorial. That is a great thing! Thanks for another informative post, Diane!

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    1. Hi Pam, I am in my mid-70's and I do not wear glasses and I can read it very clearly, but I do not have a Mac. Font is normal, if I go large it will take over the screen! On my blogger I only have the choice of small, normal or large, there is no font size. Sorry, this is the same size as I have been using for years other than the first year when I used small!
      I don't think there is a village or town in France without a war memorial, every one has them and the people are not forgotten. I hope all is well Diane

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  3. Hi Diane - what a lovely village - no wonder you were enticed to visit and I'd love the journey along the various lanes ... no doubt taking two or three to eventually get where I want to go to. Lucky to encounter a Dutchman speaking all three languages ... useful! Photo-bomb Boxer - love it!

    I wonder if the levels were just the general accretion through the centuries ... and perhaps being raised in case of flood/excess rain pouring through the village ...

    I type my posts up in Word and usually use 16, but did start at one stage using 18 - but they got even longer! I then copy it in to Blogger and add my photos ... it's difficult with everyone having different methods of reading ... I use my pc most of the time and so can mostly manage and I use basic reading glasses now ... but can read otherwise.

    Lovely photos ... so much of France hasn't been messed up! Cheers Hilary

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    1. I have always typed my posts directly into blogger so I can only use their font size. Pam now seems to think it is her computer, so maybe it is a thing with Mac or her browser.!

      I love France countryside because it is like England was 100 years ago!! Mostly the buildings have survived so much, or many have been restored. Also all the neighbours pretty much know each other. I will walk/cycle out on my own at night, and locking the door is an afterthought. In the UK I would never walk through a crowd of teenagers, here I would not bat an eyelid Love the country but I think large towns world wide are much the same.
      Cheers Diane

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  4. Mastiffs are a surprising dog. They think they're people, and so look intimidating, but are very friendly. But your bar owner docked his dog's tail! Yeah, you can tell I'm a mastiff person, since the dog was the first thing I thought about. He was a cute photobomber, no doubt. The village itself was very pretty, and you found a lovely church, of course. You have settled in a beautiful area; I hope communicating in French is becoming easier for you.

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    1. Marjie it is a pretty village, we have driven through it many times but never actually stopped to look! French for me is very difficult, but Nigel is pretty good. He learnt it at school and has, I think, a natural flair for languages. Once living here he picked up his French from school pretty quickly and had a few lessons on arrival. He was then told he could not be taught any more it was a case of learning more vocabulary only.
      The mastiff I think was getting on in years and probably had his tail cut before all the new rulings came in. Take care Diane

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  5. I love these trips with you Diane, with my fear of flying showing no signs of abating this might be as close as I get to these wonderful destinations ☺

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    1. Grace I am only to delighted to take you around our area, be it virtual or live. Hopefully one day it might be live :-) Have a good day Diane

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  6. What a beautiful place. Your photos really do it justice. Hi Diane. Wish I could come and visit. You live in a very inspiring place!

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    1. Kim French countryside is stunning and history appears around every corner. What is stopping you from a visit? We still want to return to RSA again, difficult when your heart wants to be in two place at the same time. I especially miss all our ex Rhodesian friends who now live there, they are very special to me. Have a great weekend Diane

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    2. Hi Diane. What stops me from a visit or holiday anywhere, even locally, is money. I don't earn any and live off my housekeeping paid to me by my husband who is English and lives in the UK where he works. I could not live in England, the climate would kill me. How much would a small house cost in one of the small towns/villages near where you are? Hope you also have a great weekend. It is warm but overcast here but I don't think it will rain. Kim xx

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    3. Kim I think the climate here would also not agree with you after Durban, where you really have no winter as such. The weather here is very much better than the UK, but you would have to go to the South of France to get much better and prices there are very high. In our area the prices vary from very low to very high, and just a barn with no land is about €10.000 but if you convert to Rand they will sound expensive. If they say renovate they basically mean it is just a shell!!! Let me have your email if you are really interested and I can give you more details. Diane

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  7. The stained glass windows are so beautiful!!!

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    1. They are quite different to the norm but I agree I also like them. Have a great day Diane

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  8. This is really super Diane, a lovely town and the inside of the church is marvelous.

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    1. I love these little towns, there is always so much to see and they all have so much history. Thanks Denise, take care Diane

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  9. I love all yours posts are lovely and interesting. Especially I love pictures of the churchs and their beauty vitreaux :)
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Thanks Gloria, I know how much you love the churches. Hope you are well Diane

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  10. Diane, what a beautiful town! I love the street scenes, buildings and the stained glass is amazing! Take good care of yourself, dear friend. Thank you so much for sharing, your posts are fantastic...as are you. Hugs.

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    1. Many thanks Linda, there are some beautiful villages here in France and they are a delight to walk around and take photos of. I love sharing them. Keep well Diane

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