Friday, May 03, 2013

Old Stones!

            It’s what I love most about France….tripping over the ancient. Today was a case in point. Martha and I are filling every day with as much travel and sites as possible for our last week. We drove a 120km circuit today up into the mountains and then down into valleys on roads that it would be generous to call two-lane.
            At the bottom of one valley, as we drove along a stream, Martha said that we had been here before and we would probably see an 11th century church called Notre Dame de Valfrancesque. It’s a small church built into a hillside out of dark blocks. It’s history is speckled with building, sacking, rebuilding, another war and more destruction, the French Revolution and it became a barn, until now. It is owned by a coalition of Reformed Protestants and Lutherans but restored in its Romanesque style.
            But a church has been on this site and in this valley since the 8th century. Tradition has it that Charles Martel went through this valley in one of his many military campaigns in the 8th century. Charles Martel, grandfather to Charlemagne and the one who fought the Battle of Tours stopping the tide of Islam into Europe. He was here! These are some old stones!


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