03 March 2010

Larressingle, whaaaat?

I promise that Larressingle is NOT the name of a fancy duck dish. . .

Lucky us, it just so happens that we ran into yet another town on the 20 Prettiest Villages
of France
list. The name is a bit funky, so Kate'slittle trick is to remember-
Larry's Single. Oh, he is? I had no idea!

Larressingle is an old bastide, or fortified town, built in the early 13th century. The currently accepted definition of a bastide is a town that was designed and built as a whole by the founder.
This town is circular, with thick, stone walls surrounding and protecting it.

Originally, when life was slightly more dangerous and you never knew who was
going to come and invade you next, there was a drawbridge across the mote.
It was later replaced by this fixed bridge supported by massive pillars.

The sign at the entrance reads:
INTERDIT AUX CHEVAUX(No horses allowed).

A short section of the 4-foot-thick wall is exposed along the back side of the village.
Safety first, children.

In the 13th century, this region was being fought over by both the French and English crowns. Thus came the beginnings of bastide-building.

And talk about a room with a view.

The tiled roofs in this region were especially prominent
and beautiful in this little bastide.

Pigeons roost in the abandoned towers of Larressingle.
The inhabitants are quite lucky because the up-keep of their small village is of utmost importance to France, being one of its 20 pretty villages. The stonework is precise and beautifully restored, the lawn in trimmed, and there are no horse droppings to speak of.

The village is also a stop along the Saint-Jaques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage,
which continues on to the southwest and then straight westward across nothern Spain.