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

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The village and Château of Jaulny

In 2008, on our return journey from the Alsace, we stayed overnight at the ‘Château de Jaulny’, a surprising B&B in the Lorraine region. The village of Jaulny is situated halfway between Metz and Nancy. It’s a very tiny village indeed, and if it hadn’t been for the ‘Château’, I don’t think we would even have stopped there. The village reached its population peak in 1841 with 500 inhabitants. Since then the number has been going down to an absolute minimum of a mere 170 people in 1990. In 2006, two years before our visit, this number had increased again to 250!

The 'lavoir' in the village of Jaulny.

The main attractions of the village are a beautiful ‘lavoir’, an antique shop, a bar and the Château, of course. When driving to Jaulny coming from the East, you come across the ‘Village disparu’ (the village that has disappeared). By the side of the road, overgrown with bushes and small trees, you’ll see the porch of a church and some old leaning tombstones. They are all that’s left of a village that was completely destroyed during the Battle of Verdun in the First World War.

The drive takes you through some beautiful wooded countryside; until in the distance you see the austere ramparts of the Château. A winding road leads up to the village. There is a small square with at one end the entrance gate to the castle. It was almost four o’clock when we arrived. The hostess was just saying goodbye to a group of visitors she had been showing around. Seeing the typical Belgian red and white license plate of the car, she immediately recognized us as her guests for the night.

Being a keen talker, she started telling us about the history of her château, of which she was obviously very proud. She showed us to our room on the first floor. It was spacious and bright, with a large double bed in an alcove and two windows. One offered a pretty view of the gardens where the colourful autumn flowers were in full bloom. She also showed us the dining room with its peculiar fresco adorning the fire place. We were free to use it to have our usual picnic supper.

After unpacking our luggage, we decided to explore the village. It was a nice autumn afternoon and the walk was invigorating. On our way back we stopped at the local bar to have a drink. We sat on the sidewalk terrace enjoying the sun. It was Sunday, and soon we were joined by two other couples who returned from a long walk through the countryside. Their walking boots were covered in mud and the fur of their dog, a playful Golden Retriever, was wet and dusty.

After our drink, we returned to the château. Our hostess had laid out the table for our supper and joined us soon after we had finished our meal. And then she told us all about the people in the fresco. They were none other than Joan of Arc and her husband – that’s right – her husband, Robert des Armoises!

But Joan of Arc, also known as the 'Virgin of Orleans,' was burned on the stake in Rouen in 1431 at the age of 19, … or wasn’t she?

The mystery was about to be unravelled!

(to be continued)


Dedene said...

That's interesting! I had no idea that Jeanne was ever married! Whe did she have time?
Sounds like a lovely little village. I'm glad to hear that the population is finally increasing.

ladybird said...

Dedene, Jeanne's secret will soon be revealed. I think you'll be surprised.

Nadege said...

Do we have to wait until tomorrow?

ladybird said...

Nadege, I'm afraid so. But tomorrow you'll get the full story. I promise!