Montferrand du Perigord and its 12th Century stone church St. Christophe

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I love the Dordogne region for the exquisite beauty of its honey colored towns.  We spent a week in September 2016 in the Abbey village of Cadouin and wanted to explore some of the towns nearby.  Always on the lookout for ‘Easter eggs’, hidden treasures that distinguish a destination, I chose Montferrand du Perrigord because I had read about the tiny country church where frescoes painted over in the 15th century had been rediscovered.

The town itself is lovely.  We parked near the covered market at the bottom of the town and strolled up towards the castle.   At the top of  the picture below you can see a Renaissance house with a long covered loggia.

DSC_1663All little towns in the region have a covered marketplace where weekly markets are held; the one in Montferand near the Maire is distinguished by its stone pillars; usually these structures are entirely wood.

 

It is always easy to spot the Maire as it is one of the few locations where you will see the national flag flown as well in this case the EU flag.

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Another noteworthy building was this home with the stone pigeonaire  or dovecote topped with a half timbered loft.

DSC_1658All along the way are those little architectural details that make these small towns so charming.  Interesting windows, doors and towers.  Local preservation laws require homeowners to maintain and preserve these little touches.

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Here is a shot down the street back towards the market building as we are heading to the top of the town and the castle.  I love the golden glow of these towns.

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These were two homes on the path up to the castle Perhaps part of the castle complex or castrum.DSC_1686DSC_1661

And here is the chateau which was built in the 12th century and used by Aymerric de Biron in his conflicts with the lords of nearby towns. The keep here does not contain active defensive structures but protects by keeping out invaders.  Air BNB has a very nice apartment listed in one of the buildings of the castle complex.DSC_1674

The castle is at the top of the hill so there is a broad view out over the Couze valley.

DSC_1675And this building in the castle complex appears to be occupied as a home today.DSC_1688

After strolling up to the castle we wandered back down to the main road in search of the small church of St. Christoph.  We believe that this cow encountered along the way is of the blonde d’Aquitaine breed of beef cattle.

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We left the town limits and set out to find the church ‘nearby’; here is a view back down the road.

DSC_1743After a good bit of strolling we were beginning to lose our confidence in the directions, but luckily came upon a mail deliverer in her little truck who in spite of our dim French and her lack of English was able to with pointing and waving direct us to continue down the road and turn right at the sign.  We might have driven as it was a fair ways, but we were glad we hadn’t as it was a beautiful walk.

DSC_1691Once we had met the mail carrier, we continued with confidence enjoying the beautiful countryside lush with fruit, nuts and berries.

Finally we found the sign for our turn to the 12th Century little church of St. Christophe which had been largely abandoned for a newer church in town.

DSC_1728In September some of the fields had been harvested.  Lovely country.DSC_1730

Finally we spotted the church.DSC_1693DSC_1717Isolated as it was, we were not the only tourists. A French couple was there taking photos of the frescoes.DSC_1710These frescoes were whitewashed in the 15th century and had only been recently uncovered.  Most were fragmentary and dim but they were quite visible; a handful had been I would assume aggressively over restored.  DSC_1698

 

 

I was surprised to see these celestial signs worked into the small Christian chapel.

Beautiful old designs and drawings; this one felt over restored to me.

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One of the great pleasures of going off the beaten track like this is discovering little treasures like St. Christophe; often they come by surprise.  St. Christophe was well worth our somewhat clueless wandering to find it and a great memory of a day exploring small villages in the Dordogne.

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