what I'm doing, what I'm seeing, what I'm thinking

18/03/2011

Chateaux de Bruniquel part 2

This is the second part of the Chateaux de Bruniquel story. (See Part One ) Perched on a high rock outcrop overlooking the Aveyron river in southern France (Tarn & Garonne) are two buildings, the Chateau Jeune and Chateau Vieux, each home to a different branch of the warringComminges family. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries and remodelled in the 18th & 18thmany of the rooms were left to decompose for two centuries. Incredibly - when you see the pictures below- descendants of the family occupied this building - the Chateau Vieux - until the 1980s when it was taken over by the State.



The Chateau Vieux, where these pictures were taken, is on the right hand side. Strangely it looks newer than the Chateau Jeune but that's because a Renaissance-style colonnaded wing was added in the 18th / 19th centuries.


But you can see the buildings age in this kitchen!







I don't know what date this oven is - surely 150 years old.








They used to put hot embers from the fire in these metal-lined holes and then place the pans of food on top to keep warm.


The electric wiring looks as medieval as the stone chimney breast! I really liked the way that these old features have been left in the rooms, but then that might be because they haven't got round to restoring them yet as they need staggering amounts of money to do it. I do hope they retain these kind of features which show how the building really was used by different generations through its history.








I like the monumental simplicity of this fireplace. It must have been hard work cooking on an open fire which presumably they did til they upgraded to the cast iron stove!










This wonderful twisting stone staircase leads up to the 'modernized' part of the building.....







The 'throne' room cantilevers 100s of feet over the valley below. Novel.







This fantastic Renaissance-style stone gallery was added in the 19th century



The view is spectacular as you can see.







Just me, fantasizing about inviting my friends for a glass of cold white wine in my stone-gallery-with-a-view!


Two narrow round towers were added when the Chateau Vieux and Chateau Jeune were reunited in 1780 by the then Viscount






These rooms were 'modernised' and inhabited until the 1980s so although the building itself is older that Chateau Jeune (see the other post) it feels newer.


The faded colours, the peeling paintwork, the chipped wall paintings together lend the most beautiful patina of age and decay which is what makes Bruniquel so unique and exquisite.






































It's hard to imagine what living at Bruniquel must have been like when the Vieux Chateau was begun between 7 and 8 centuries ago. The setting is remote even by today's standards and at that time of course there were no roads to access the site let alone cranes and earth movers to help construct the castle on its high, rocky outcrop. What a feat! And what a spectacular piece of architecture.

See Chateaux de Bruniquel Part One for images of the Chateau Jeune.



4 comments:

  1. You are lucky finding this.. what a treasure!!

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  2. I have fallen in love with these Chateauxs - and the photos are wonderful! That medieval wiring looks so interesting and what where in the frames - photos? Buildings like these are so fascinating, thanks for sharing Kathy.

    Natalia

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  3. Yes, I love the old ceramic switches and plugs - there's something elemental about early electrical wiring!

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  4. What an amazing building. It must have been very cold and damp in the winter. That is the practical side speaking but the romantic in me would love to spend a little time living in that "rough lux" condition.

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