Wednesday 27 June 2012: Monpazier
Backblipped on 6 July
We visited one of the Bastide towns, Monpazier, which begun in 1285, founded and built by King Edward I of England, who was also Duke of Gascony. It was also home to Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard II of England for a time. The history and links between England and France and the amount of times the different regions of France changed hands is fascinating stuff.
Bastide means new town built in the medieval times and is planned and usually built as a single unit, by a single founder. The majority of bastides have a grid layout of intersecting streets, with wide thoroughfares that divide the town plan into blocks, through which a narrow lane often runs. There is a central market square with a covered weighing and measuring area. The three 'pots' you can see were believed to be for weighing wheat and oils etc. The region we were staying in was full of Bastides on hill tops and we visited a few of them. They are beautiful but very quiet with not many people around and would be even quieter in winter.
There were also so many House Martins (as well as Swifts and Swallows) in the skies especially over the Bastides where there were lots of nests. I would sit at a cafe watching them ducking and diving in the sky as though they were trying to out-gun each other like fighter planes.
At the house they would come in flying low across the pool before taking a quick sip and rising up again into the sky. I tried capturing it but they were too fast for my camera lens so the nest under a balcony on Monpazier's square make up part of today's blip.
- via iPhone App