Archive for the France Central Category

Awaken to Pompadour, France

Posted in Central France, France Central, French Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

Travel through the beautiful pastoral scenes of the Limousin region of France and you’ll know you’ve reached the village of Arnac-Pompadour when the skyline becomes cluttered with high slate tiled turrets of eighteenth century gleam.

These will be part of the Chateau de Pompadour, which was presented to the mistress of King Louis XV, the Marquise de Pompadour (Madame Pompadour). As if it were not enough to be father of his ten surviving children (and probably many more illegitimate ones) and King of France- the largest Kingdom of Europe at that time, King Louis XV took Jeanne Antoinette Poison as his mistress, having been taken with her at a fancy dress party one evening.  I wonder what she wore that night? She must have looked impressive, although my french awakening can’t help question his judgement as I read somewhere that King Louis was dressed as a topiary (hedged plant) at the time!

Hmmm…some men give their women flowers, others jewels or trips to exotic places but the fact remains that King Louis XV gave the entire land and title and Chateau of this beautiful piece of countryside to his beloved mistress who then became the Marquise de Pompadour.

Today, the Chateau of Pompadour dominates the village at its centre. Its roof line is gloriously grey, basking in French sunshine…

and even though much of the Chateau was destroyed during the Crusades and French Revolution, it has been subsequently reproduced over time and is definately worth a visit. (Richard the Lion Heart thought so!)

The towered outside boundary wall has stood the test of time and is imposing…

The front door, encrusted with iron locks and carved royal tags of French Royalty will transport you back in time. The minute I heave this mighty wooden front door open, my french awakening was undeniably impressed and curious to see more. You will be too.

Today, the Chateau de Pompadour belongs to the French State and it has been transformed into the French National Horse Stud.

Take your time to visit the terraces of the Chateau and walk outside…

across the square to discover the ecuries des etalons (housing the Anglo/Arab stallions) and the jumenterie de la riviere (mares stables)-horse breeding facilities of world class standards.

Along the way you will see many impeccably mannered horses strutting around the village…

Equestrian events, show jumping, National Dressage Competitions and horse racing take place in all its pomp and splendour on the green…

opposite the Chateau from March through to October. Consider yourself lucky as many of these grand horse events are free to the public and exhilarating to watch! Such control…such pizazz!

Pompadour is about sixty kilometres south of Limoges or twenty kilometres west of Uzerche. It is tucked away between beautiful rolling green hills nurturing cattle and foal and surrounded by abundant apple and chestnut orchards.

It’s a charming and unique village in the Correze which breathes refinement. I’m certain that The Marquis de Pompadour would have been most impressed had she been living (oh so grandiosely) today.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2010 Therese Waddell