While visiting my sister in France we decided to visit the town of Levroux (Google's translation) after seeing a photo of it's awesome Porte de Champagne in The Most Beautiful Villages of the Loire. We'll start with some of my photos of this historic medieval gateway. This first one is an artistic rendering of a photo I took. Rue Gabatum runs through it. Um, it runs through the gateway, not through my photo.
And here is another view, looking up. This gate is one of seven fortified gates built around the city at the command of King Charles VII in 1436. It is the only one remaining. The village itself dates back to 600 BCE!
...and to the left, built into the tower, is the doorway to a home. It seems to be a side door of the house, as seen in this vintage postcard.
And this is the back side of the Porte de Champagne. If we backed up a little and turned to the right, we'd see Rue Emile Zola.
Also behind the gate, on the other side of Rue Emile Zola, were some houses. A charming French gentleman called out to us, and he proudly told us all about the history of the Porte de Champagne. Even my sister, who majored in French in college and who was mistaken for a native speaker of the language when she first visited France after college, could not understand much of what he said. After his explanations, she asked him if I could take his photo, and he happily obliged.
But wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves. This is where our visit to Levroux actually began. We knew we were there when we turned a corner and saw this half-timbered house.
Our first stop was on the right side of the Collegiate Church of Saint Sylvain, in this little area with a bench where we had a picnic. "The Shepherd Lying-down" sculpture is by Ernest Nivet (1871-1848). He was a native of Levroux and a pupil of Rodin.
Detail of faces carved above the door. Quite an interesting assortment!
...and these geraniums in a window.
Here's a closeup of the window, a modern clock, and the gargoyles...
...and a closer look at the door. Notice again, the worn threshold of the left doorway.
All the golden light comes from the stained glass windows.
Up front there are some interesting carvings on the chairs for the monks. Well, actually, they aren't chairs, they're more like little shelves the monks could kind of leaning sit on and still look like they were standing up. This is the view from behind a side wall of one of the rows of chairs.
And over to the left... again, not just the left on this page, the left side of the church, too... is a statue of Mary and Jesus. Mary looks rather dismayed. Perhaps all the cobwebs are making her feel a bit neglected...
If she'd only look up, she'd see the lovely organ pipes!
And these lovely little heart-shaped locks.
These guys were in another side area. I'm not sure who they are, but my guess is the one in the center, holding the goblet, is Jesus, and the other four are the authors of the New Testament gospels. (The farthest guy also bears a resemblance to Confucius.)
Another house with red doors and windows. Or maybe the door above is behind the plant in this photo. I'll just have to go back and check!!