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

Friday, 11 June 2010

Alladin’s cave

‘L’Hélianthe’, the restaurant in Turquant where we had lunch, had some very attractive and crafty pepper and salt sets. They were made of wood and rather elegantly shaped. The restaurant owner explained that they had been tailored-made by a woodworker living in the new ‘artisan village’ further down the road. The original idea for the village dates from the late eighties. But due to a lack of talented artisans and motivated visitors, the project was never very successful … until last year.

I remember seeing the renovation work that was being done to the old troglodyte dwellings when we were in Turquant in 2008. At the time however nothing indicated that a revival of the artisan village was imminent.

After finishing lunch we walked back to the car and drove down the road, following the restaurant’s owner directions. Before long we saw the intriguing and oddly shaped caves of the artisan village. We parked the car in a large empty car park that apparently was part of the premises of a ‘Pommes tapées’ producer. We assumed that it was only meant for his customers, but as there were no other people around we took the risk. When I looked up to the cave that was located high up in the flank of the cliff, I saw a man with a black hat staring at us. I attracted J.L. attention to it and suggested we’d move the car. We were about to do so when I noticed that the man was rather motionless. Either he was very angry about us parking there or it was a dummy. It turned out to be the latter!

A very angry ... dummy!

It was warm and sunny and the walk down the road to the woodworker’s workshop, called ‘Le Gîte’, was very pleasant. When we got there, we found the place deserted. The door to the little shop was closed and nothing was moving behind the windows of the house. We therefore decided to try our luck at the main cave where most of the artisans’ work was on display.

The entrance into Alladin's cave.

The spacious, high-vaulted troglodyte room could have been a copy of Aladdin’s cave. There was handmade jewellery, mirrors with intricate handmade frames, pottery, paintings, cutlery, ... I immediately fell in love with a 50cm x 50cm mirror, which would have looked great in my mother’s newly decorated kitchen. The price was bit steep though, especially as I wasn’t sure that she was going to like it as much as I did.

While I went outside to ring her on my mobile phone and describe the mirror to her – reception being poor inside the cave – my friends asked the saleslady about the woodworker’s shop. By the time I got back, the woman had called the artisan to announce our visit.

(to be continued)



The Beaver said...

Wonder why they have put a "dummy" looking down with his arms crossed that way ( like you said -angry looking).

Is it to deter potential cars? or show that it is a "living place"

Nadege said...

Martine, have you visited this blog?
I was supposed to work on a movie starting next week but they pushed the date. Little by little, Hollywood is just going away, shooting in cheaper locations. I NEED to work. So I travel through blogs. Much cheaper and more restful.

chm said...

Can't wait to know if you bought the mirror for your mother. And if they gave you a discount!

ladybird said...

The Beaver, I think it was meant as a gimmick and that the owners just didn't realize the impact it has on people who see it from the bottom of the cliff.

Nadege, Thanks for the blog link. I'll take a look at it later today. Have you ever been to Luxembourg? It's a lovely little country, but the people are rather cold and distant.

Chm, It didn't seem like the kind of place that gives disounts ;)!