Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Roman ruins

Last June, while being on our way to meet up for lunch with blogger friends Ken and Walt and their houseguest chm at their house near Saint-Aignan in the Cher department, our attention was caught by one of the typical white/brown signposts indicating the presence of a historical site. This was just outside the village of Thesée. The signpost read ‘Ruines Romaines’.

Although the ruins were visible from the road, we drove up the dirt track that led to the main entrance. There was a group of schoolchildren inside the enclosure. They were sitting on the well-tended lawn and listening to a guide. They were too far off for us to hear what was being said, but we assumed that the guide was explaining the history and former use of the different buildings.

The whole site was spic and span. The old walls were completely clear of moss or any other vegetation and the gravel paths looked as if they had just been put in. Deep green and beautifully trimmed conifers and buxus bushes elegantly stood out against the ruins. You could tell that the town council was putting in a lot of effort and money to keep this valuable historical site in shipshape condition.

An information board indicated that, for security reasons, it was forbidden to access the site unless you were accompanied by authorized personnel. It also explained how and when the ruins had been discovered and what the archaeologists thought the buildings had been used for in their heydays.

Apparently the French Kings weren’t the first to discover the Loire Valley’s mild climate, fertile soil and beautiful scenery, as the Romans had clearly liked this area too.

Although the gate was open, we obediently stayed outside, walking around the enclosure admiring the ruins from afar. There were several other signs warning people for falling stones and urging them not to climb the remaining walls.

The schoolchildren were still there when, 20 minutes later, we drove on to Saint-Aignan. It was drizzling and temperatures, although it was well past 11 o’clock, had hardly risen to 20°C. What a way to start a holiday! However, the warmth and kindness with which we were greeted by our hosts definitely made up for the autumn-like weather.


No comments: