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Talmont-sur-Gironde

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The Romanesque Art

Rochefort

The Citadel of Brouage

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The forest of La Coubre

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The "Marais Poitevin"

The carrelets

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To taste

Wines

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Oysters

Mussels

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"Terroir" products

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Talmont-sur-Gironde

Fifteen kilometres drive south of Royan, Talmont-sur-Gironde is famous for its Romanesque church which overlooks the Gironde.

For me, the hollyhock ,"rose trémière", means Talmont. Why? I don’t know. But once, I just wanted to have a short walk. I went to Talmont, (find this on the map by simply following the coastline).

There, in this village with low houses and small alleys, there are hollyhocks everywhere. Wherever you walk, you cannot escape them. Everything is painted white, a little bit like the Greek villages.
But the hollyhocks stand proudly all around. You will certainly fall in love with these flowers. You will be able to get hollyhock seeds there if you are a keen gardener.

Numerous craftsmen will welcome you in Talmont.
As well as all this, there is a church with beautiful sculptures, surrounded by a cemetery, which stands on the cliff, at the edge of the water.
This is a beautiful place to visit for a stroll in the afternoon.

A site and a history

Fifteen kilometres drive south of Royan, Talmont-sur-Gironde is famous for its Romanesque church which overlooks the Gironde, and is very popular with tourists, attracted by the charm of this village which has less than a hundred inhabitants.

The site, a rocky headland which towers above the Gironde, is indeed exceptional and leaves a visual and unforgettable memory.

The fortified town

The church of Sainte-Radegonde overlooking the Gironde, is undoubtedly the most famous view on the postcards of Saintonge and it is found in all the guidebooks and brochures as the symbol of the region.

The fortified town was built in 1284, on the orders of Edward 1st of England. The English reigned from 1154 over Aquitaine and the banks of the Gironde.

Talmont's museum, established in the old school building, which is near the town hall in the magnificent little square dominated by its huge tree, takes you on a journey through the past history of this fortified town.

The Church of Sainte-Radegonde

The Church of Sainte-Radegonde was built at the end of the 11th and the beginning of the 12th Century, in the Romanesque style Saintongeais.

It constituted a stage on the route to Santiago de Compostela, for numerous pilgrims.

From Talmont, several routes were taken by the pilgrims, either to cross the estuary, or by-pass it by continuing towards Blaye and Bordeaux, or to go by sea to join the Bay of Biscay.

It was only later, at the end of the Middle Ages, that it was fortified.

It presents a solid, powerful aspect, with its square tower at the top of the building.

It suffered many attacks from the sea and lost two spans of the nave.

It was saved by the reinforcement work made to the cliff.

The arches over the north portal are abundantly sculptured.
These remarkable sculptures were restored in recent years in the original Romanesque style.

This can be seen by comparing the photograph taken in 2001 of the arches over the north portal, with the old picture postcard, where it can been seen that the arches had been replaced by stones.

By examining the sculptured figures more closely, one realises the variety of inspiration of the sculptors, the angels, the Saints, men pulling an animal, the representations of various beasts...

If you decide to go to visit Talmont at the height of the summer tourist season, wait until all the visitors leave at the end of the day and take time to see the sun setting on the Church of Sainte-Radegonde and the surrounding small maritime cemetery.

Walk around the walls, walk along the alleys and down the small street, when they are empty and all the visitors have gone.

Talmont becomes again a haven of peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cliffs

Talmont-sur-Gironde is built on a headland which looks out on to a magnificent panoramic view over the estuary of the Gironde with, on the left, the cliffs of Talmont and on the right-hand side, the white cliffs of Meschers.


In the first photograph, one sees at the foot of the cliffs of Talmont, a group of carrelets, fishing huts, which do not appear again on the following photograph …

They were destroyed by the terrible storm in December, 1999.

 

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